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! Please indicate this in your application.

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 breakfast 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:  Alias Chamber Ensemble; The Beat of Life; chatterbird; Nashville Ballet; Nashville Children’s Theatre; Nashville Opera; Nashville Shakespeare Festival; Nashville Symphony; 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 2020 Class Dates*

Session 1: An Overview of the Arts Industry
Friday, August 14, 2020: 8–10 a.m.

Session 2: Board Governance & Legal Considerations
Friday, September 11, 2020: 8–10 a.m.

Session 3: Fiduciary & Fundraising Responsibilities
Friday, October 9, 2020: 8–10 a.m.

Session 4: Strategic Planning & Arts Advocacy
Friday, November 13, 2020: 8–10 a.m.

Matching Event
November 17, 2020: 5–7 pm.

*dates or times for these sessions are subject to change

How to apply

For Business Professionals: The Arts & Business Council will begin accepting applications for the 2020 cohort on June 1. The deadline to apply is July 17 at Noon. If you are interested in applying for the 2020 Arts Board Matching cohort, email to be notified when applications open.

Please note that the program fee is $750. (Most participants’ companies/organizations pay this fee, but some 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: Arts organizations that wish to participate in the Matching Event may apply beginning August 17, 2020. Applications for arts organizations are due by September 25 at Noon. If your organization is interested in applying for the 2020 Arts Board Matching Event, email to be notified when applications open.

Please note that all organizations must be members of the Arts & Business Council to be considered for the Matching Event. 

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