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American University Partners With The Kennedy Center on Arts Management Fellowships


Interior of The Kennedy Center. By Andrew Bossi [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

American University will partner with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on a fellowship program for 2016-2017 offering graduate students increased professional development opportunities in an effort to diversify leadership in the arts management field. 

Reflecting the Kennedy Center’s focus on increasing diversity and including in the arts, candidates for the program will represent student diversity, and have existing experience in their fields. The fellowship consists of shadowing executive positions and pursuit of professional projects for 20 hours a week during the academic year to gain exposure and high-level mentorship at a world-class arts institution. Additionally, fellows will receive a $15,000 stipend and six credits of tuition remission, making the program accessible to the next generation of arts managers.

“We have consistently been impressed by the caliber of AU’s arts management students and through this program hope to cultivate the strong thought leaders and arts advocates needed to build a bright future for the cultural organizations of tomorrow,” said Deborah F. Rutter, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. “Education is at the very core of the Kennedy Center’s mission and we are grateful for the opportunity to offer this intensive professional training experience aimed at fostering diversity and equity in the arts and its leadership.”

The fellowship will be for one academic year, with the option to renew for an additional year, and is geared toward helping graduate students add to their professional portfolio, in addition to their education. This program will complement the existing collegiate internship program focused on undergraduate students as the Kennedy Center expands its educational and professional development offerings.

“The AU Arts Management Program has been committed to blending rigorous academics with practical, hands-on learning opportunities for more than 40 years,” said Ximena Varela, the AU Arts Management Program director. “This partnership with the Kennedy Center is an embodiment of this commitment in action. This unique fellowship program partners the nation’s foremost performing arts center with the thought leadership of the Arts Management Program at American University providing an intensive, immersive, and supportive experience that is invaluable in preparing the next generation of executive leaders in the arts.”

Fellows will receive intensive training in arts management, strategic planning, fundraising, finance, artistic planning, and marketing. They will have exposure to executive leadership and have the opportunity to get involved in special projects of personal interest and of benefit to the Kennedy Center. They will participate in collaborative work opportunities across the organization, and receive ongoing personalized mentoring from a senior level staff advisor. AU academic advisors will support the fellows as they pursue their organizational and professional objectives.

For more information, or to apply visit: