Arts Board Matching

Arts Board Matching (ABM) promotes dynamic leadership in the arts by cultivating the skills needed to be effective, engaged board members and making matches between business professionals and arts organizations in need of adept board members. We believe there is exceptional talent at all levels of management within corporations that can make great contributions to our arts nonprofits.

By serving on a nonprofit board of directors, professionals learn to lead and influence people, manage risk, resolve conflict, practice creative decision-making, and help strengthen the community. Business participants gain extensive and diverse exposure to the arts industry; opportunities to network with arts organizations and other professionals across industries; and the chance to work in a visible role with other community leaders.

Arts Board Matching features a robust mix of networking, learning and more!

Already on a board but need a brush-up? We have a few spots saved for you as well! Apply by completing the current board member application when applications open.

The Ideal Candidate for Arts Board Matching

  • Holds a mid-level position or is recently retired
  • Seeks to network with a variety of individuals
  • Desires to serve an arts organization

Business participants are equipped for board service and success in the arts through four training sessions over the course of four months. After completing ABM training, participants are invited to attend a speed-dating-style Matching Event, where they can interact with representatives from selected local arts organizations. After the Matching Event, participants are matched with arts organizations for potential board service, but keep in mind that not every organization may be matched with a board candidate. 

Highlights of past company participants include: Bank of Nashville; Baker Donelson; Bradley; Bridgestone; Centric Architecture; Deloitte; Earl Swensson Associates; Emma; Faulkner Mackie & Cochran; First Tennessee; JP Morgan Chase; Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain; Nashville Electric Service; Oak Tree Properties; Patterson; SunTrust; Waller; and more.

Highlights of past arts organization participants include: AbleVoices; Alias Chamber Ensemble; The Beat of Life; chatterbird; Jazz Empowers; Nashville Ballet; Nashville Children’s Theatre; Nashville Jazz Workshop; Nashville Opera; Nashville Shakespeare Festival; Nashville Symphony; New Dialect; Moves & Grooves; The Porch Writers’ Collective; Poverty & the Arts; Southern Word; Street Theatre Company; Tennessee Craft; Turnip Green Creative Reuse; Your Heart on Art; and more.

Arts Board Matching Spring 2021 Dates*

Session 1: An Overview of the Arts Industry
Friday, March 5, 2021: 8–10 a.m.

Session 2: Board Governance & Legal Considerations
Friday, April 2, 2021: 8–10 a.m.

Session 3: Fiduciary & Fundraising Responsibilities
Friday, May 7, 2021: 8–10 a.m.

Session 4: Strategic Planning & Arts Advocacy
Friday, June 4, 2021: 8–10 a.m.

Matching Event
June 9, 2021: 5–7:30 pm.

*All training dates and the Matching Event are may be hosted either in-person or via Zoom. Dates, times, and locations are subject to change.

How to apply

For Business Professionals & Current Board Members: Applications for the Spring 2021 cohort are now closed. If you are interested in the Fall 2021 cohort, or if you know someone who might want to join an arts board, nominate them (or yourself) using the form below. We will notify nominees when applications open for Fall 2021.

Nominate someone for Arts Board Matching

The program fee is $750 for business professionals who wish to be matched with an arts nonprofit for board service. Current board members may participate in the training portion for $375 provided the nonprofit they serve is a member of the Arts & Business Council. Most participants’ employers pay the participation fee, but some participants pay it themselves. Corporate donors at the $2,500 level and above may nominate an employee for complimentary participation in Arts Board Matching. 

For Arts Organizations: Applications for arts organizations to participate in the Spring 2021 Matching Event are now closed. If your organization is interested in participating in Fall 2021, complete the interest form, and we’ll contact you when applications open for Fall 2021.

Complete the Arts Organization Interest Form

*Please note that organizations must be members of the Arts & Business Council to be considered for the Matching Event and to be matched with a business professional for potential board service. If you have any questions about Arts Board Matching or the Matching Event, please contact us at

“Street Theatre Company has been fortunate enough to have participated in two Speed Dating sessions with the Arts Board Matching program and with great success. The two board members who joined our organization thanks to the program are dedicated and committed to the organization, have skill sets that were very much needed on our board, and have a great understanding of what it means to be an active board member.   We are grateful for this program!” – Cathy Street, Street Theatre Company

“The Arts & Business Council’s Arts Board Matching Program fundamentally changed the way I view my board service and made me a much more effective board member and advocate for the causes close to my heart. I am so grateful for this program and the almost overwhelming amount of information and assistance I received in such a short amount of time. While the program is geared towards the arts, the knowledge I received and skills I’ve developed have been incredibly beneficial to my non-arts related board service as well. If you’re thinking about applying I heartily encourage you to do so, you will be so glad you did!” — Casey Mulligan, Class of 2018, Pinnacle Financial Partners