Community Engagement Through the Arts Capacity Building Program

Arts Build Community Capacity Building Program



The Arts Build Community Capacity Building Program provides nonprofit staff members and board members in Berkshire County with intensive yearlong training on how to increase community engagement through the arts and creative process, especially among lower-income residents, communities of color, youth and immigrants. Participants will identify and address underlying issues that create barriers to participation in the arts; build the capacity of organizations to effectively engage residents; experiment with new approaches to find solutions; and foster greater connectivity among organizations for the purpose of partnership development, resource sharing and learning.


  • Six training sessions throughout 2019 with Simone Joyaux, an internationally recognized consultant in organizational development, governance and strategic planning. Prior to serving as a consultant, Simone served as an executive director of a small arts organization and chief development officer of a theater company. She founded Rhode Island's first statewide arts advocacy organization and chaired the board of the State Arts Advocacy League of America.
  • Sessions will feature guest speakers and panelists, including Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant, Maria Sirois and Umberto Crenca, who are experts in topics such as social justice in arts and culture, resilience and implicit bias.
  • Opportunities to network with peers and learn from their experiences.
  • Private consultation with leading experts to expand on the lessons learned during the program.
  • Access to a total pool of $65,000 in grant funding for participating organizations to test pilot projects and implement lessons learned. If needed, a stipend will be made to participating organizations to cover costs to attend the program.


  • Identify and address underlying issues that create barriers to participation in the arts.
  • Build capacity to effectively engage new audiences, focusing on lower-income residents, communities of color, youth and immigrants.
  • Foster greater connectivity among organizations to develop partnerships, share resources and learn together.
  • Develop relevant content for target audiences.
  • Incorporate diverse perspectives into organizational development and program design.
  • Identify new revenue streams.


Your organization:

  • must be located in Berkshire County.
  • must be incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization.
  • must have operated with active programming for at least three years.
  • must not be a public school, town or municipality.
  • must not include in its constitution, by-laws or practice discrimination against a person or group on the basis of age, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation or religious belief.


The program will use a cohort model with 8-12 organizations participating in the yearlong program.

Selected organizations will create a team consisting of at least three staff and board members that participate in all learning sessions. The team is also responsible for informing and engaging the organization’s board, board members and staff in the learning and change process.

Each participating organization will design and implement a project that addresses increasing community engagement through the arts, focusing on one of three underserved audiences: low-income residents, communities of color, youth or immigrants. Participants will receive guidance from Simone and experienced co-facilitators.

Each team must attend all six daylong sessions. Sessions will include:

  • Panels with guest artists and experts in the field.
  • Interactive presentations and small group work.
  • Best practice in topics such as social justice, arts, culture, popular culture, community engagement and collective action.
  • Critical knowledge for building strong nonprofit arts and culture organizations.

As a participant in the program, you must:

  • Read assigned handouts between sessions.
  • Actively share ideas during the training sessions.
  • Regularly transmit “lessons learned” to your full board and staff.


Please note: full attendance by your entire team is required for all training sessions.

  • Monday, January 7, at MASS MoCA, North Adams, Mass., 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Snow date: Tuesday, January 8)
  • Monday, March 4, at MASS MoCA, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Snow date: Tuesday, March 5)
  • Thursday, May 2, at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, Pittsfield, Mass., 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 4, at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 10, at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, the Daniel Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 12, at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, the Daniel Arts Center, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:    

  • Potential impact of the program on the organization.
  • Willingness of the organization’s board, executive director and artistic director to be flexible to learn, change and grow.
  • Commitment to participate actively in each component of the program.
  • The organization is ready to challenge the status quo, learn together and make change.


Applications are due through Berkshire Taconic’s online portal by September 14, 2018. You will be notified by September 21 if your organization has been selected to move forward to the interview stage. If selected, two team members from the organization’s proposed team must be available for an interview on October 1, 2 or 3 with Simone Joyaux and Berkshire Taconic staff.

For questions about the program, email Emily Bronson or call 413.429.8409.


Access to $65,000 in grant funding to implement projects, additional consultancy time to further learnings in a chosen topic and a stipend for program participation.


September 14, 2018

How to Apply

Please read these important instructions.