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 leaders. We believe there is exceptional talent at all levels of management within corporations and small businesses that can make great contributions to our arts nonprofits.

By serving on a nonprofit board of directors, business professionals develop the skills necessary to lead and influence people, manage risk and resolve conflict. Professionals gain extensive exposure to the nonprofit arts sector, opportunities to network with other professionals, and the chance to assume visible roles alongside other community leaders within local nonprofit arts organizations.

ABM offers a robust mix of learning and networking.

The ideal candidate for Arts Board Matching:

  • Holds a mid-level position OR has retired with newfound time to engage in volunteerism
  • Has 3+ years of business experience
  • Desires to serve an arts organization in the Greater Nashville area
  • Seeks to network with a variety of individuals

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 linked below.

Participants are equipped for board service and success in the arts through four, online training sessions over four months. After completing the training, participants are invited to attend a fun, interactive Matching Event, where they meet with representatives from select local arts organizations. After the Matching Event, participants are matched with arts organizations for potential board service. Keep in mind that not every organization may be matched with a board candidate and not all matches will ultimately lead to board service.

Meet the Arts Board Matching Class of Spring 2024!

Advancing Racial Diversity through Arts Board Matching

Did you know that 78% of nonprofit board members and 83% of nonprofit board chairs are white?* To increase the diversity of board members across Nashville’s nonprofit arts sector, Arts Board Matching creates a pipeline of professionals of color ready to lead in the arts.

*Source: Leading with Intent: Reviewing the State of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on Nonprofit Boards, BoardSource, 2021

Arts Board Matching will promote racial diversity by:

  • Increasing racial diversity within arts nonprofit boards across Nashville by recruiting at least 40% professionals of color for each class.
  • Strengthening the governance knowledge and skills of professionals of color.
  • Empowering participating arts nonprofits to create inclusive and equitable environments for board members of color.

Become a Partner

To create a more diverse pipeline of business professionals, the support of corporate and business partners is essential. Contact us at if your company is interested in being a partner in advancing racial diversity in the arts.

Partners in Advancing Diversity through Arts Board Matching

Arts Board Matching Fall 2024 Dates*

Arts Board Matching is a hybrid program offering two, in-person events and four, online training sessions.

Arts Board Matching Welcome Mixer
Wednesday, July 31, 2024: 5:30-7 p.m.*

Session 1: Key Issues Facing Nashville’s Nonprofit Arts Sector
Friday, August 9, 2024: 8–10 a.m.*

Session 2: Board Governance, Legal Considerations
& Fiduciary Responsibilities

Friday, September 13, 2024: 8–10 a.m.*

Diversity Training (for Arts Organizations Only)**
Wednesday, September 25, 2024: 5–7 p.m.*

Session 3: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging in the Arts 
Friday, October 11, 2024: 8–10 a.m.*

Session 4: Fund Development & Arts Advocacy
Friday, November 8, 2024: 8–10 a.m.*

Arts Board Matching Event
Wednesday, November 13, 2024: 5:30–8:30 p.m.

*Times and locations are subject to change. **Arts organizations only.

How to apply

For Current & Aspiring Board Members: Nominations and applications are now being accepted for the Fall 2024 cohort. If you are a business professional interested in board service, complete the aspiring board member application linked below. Already on a board but want to brush up with board member training? Apply as a current board member. Know someone who would make a great Arts Board Member? Nominate them and we’ll invite them to apply. The application deadline is June 24, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

Nominate a Candidate for Arts Board Matching

Apply as a Aspiring Board Member

Apply as a Current Board Member

The program fee is $1,000 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 $500 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. 

For Arts Organizations: Arts organizations seeking new board members are invited to apply to participate in the Arts Board Matching Event. The application deadline is June 24, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

Apply as an Arts Organization

Arts organizations must be members of the Arts & Business Council to participate. All participating organizations commit to sending at least two board and/or staff members to an in-person diversity training and to participating in the Matching Event in November. If you have any questions about Arts Board Matching or the Matching Event, please contact us at

Highlights of past company participants: Bank of Nashville; Baker Donelson; Bass, Berry & Sims; Big Events, Inc.; Bradley; Bridgestone; Centric Architecture; Deloitte; Earl Swensson Associates; Emma; Faulkner Mackie & Cochran; First Tennessee; Hastings Architecture; JP Morgan Chase; Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain; Mars Petcare; Nashville Electric Service; Oak Tree Properties; Patterson; Waller; and more.

Highlights of past arts organization participants: AbleVoices; Actors Bridge Ensemble; Alias Chamber Ensemble; The Beat of Life; Borderless Arts Tennessee; chatterbird; Early Music City; Free Fyre; Jazz Empowers; Jefferson Street Sound Museum; Make Music Nashville; Museum of Contemporary Art Nashville; Nashville Ballet; Nashville Children’s Theatre; Nashville Design Week; Nashville in Harmony; 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.

“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