Leah Horn


54 Fellows Announced for U.S. Regional Arts Organization-Supported National Leaders of Color Fellowship

Unique Eight-Month Leadership Development Experience Begins this Month Dedicated to the Advancement of BIPOC Leaders in the Arts

Denver, CO, December 11, 2023—The six United States Regional Arts Organizations (US RAOs) Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, South Arts, and program convener WESTAF are excited to announce the 2023-24 National Leaders of Color Fellows. Fifty-four leaders from communities across the country will participate in a transformative eight-month leadership development experience designed to establish multicultural leadership in the creative and cultural sector. Curated by WESTAF and in partnership with the five other US RAOs, the no-cost program takes place online and will provide fellows with access to specialists in the field, strategic learning objectives determined to deepen thought on anti-racist and culturally-oriented leadership practices, and national-level network and cohort building.

An expansion of WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color program, which has been partnering with and supporting 100+ BIPOC arts and culture leaders since 2010, the fellowship and its mission have become a national endeavor with collective support and commitment from the collaborative of the six US RAOs.

“Our collaborative of US Regional Arts Organizations has fully embraced the Leaders of Color Fellowship program as it enters its second year as a national program,” noted Christian Gaines, WESTAF’s executive director. “To see this network of committed arts leaders deepen and expand beyond the western region into every part of the country is truly a dream come true for WESTAF. We’re in awe of these passionate professionals and deeply grateful to our organizing partners.”

“As we enter the second year of the program, I can truly say that the content has grown due to the feedback from the most recent alumni,” said Anika Tené, WESTAF director of social responsibility and inclusion and LoCF strategic lead. “The new fellows can expect deeper engagement with each other, faculty, and US RAO staff, while grappling with regional and national issues that impact our sector. We anticipate that the second-year fellows will become thought partners, ready to engage in national conversations about the arts.”

Upon completion of the program, participants transition to alumni status and have opportunities to collaborate with the RAO in their region as advisors, funding panelists, and/or other professional capacities. To learn more about the 2023-24 fellows, visit


WESTAF is a regional nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to strengthening the financial, organizational, and policy infrastructure of the arts in the West. WESTAF assists state arts agencies, arts organizations, and artists in their quest to serve diverse audiences, enrich the lives of local communities, and provide access to the arts and arts education for all. Through innovative programming, advocacy, research, technology, and grantmaking, WESTAF encourages the creative advancement and preservation of the arts regionally and through a national network of customers and alliances. Founded in 1974, WESTAF is governed by a 22-member board of trustees and serves the largest constituent territory of the six United States Regional Arts Organizations (US RAOs) and includes Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Learn more at

About the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations

The United States Regional Arts Organizations (US RAOs) strengthen and support arts, culture, and creativity in their individual regions as well as across the nation. They serve the nation’s artists, arts and culture organizations, and creative communities with programs that reflect and celebrate the diversity of the field in which they work. They partner with the National Endowment for the Arts, state arts agencies, individuals, and other public and private funders to develop and deliver programs, services, and products that advance arts and creativity. Learn more at