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The Rozsa Foundation offers the Rozsa Executive Arts Leadership (REAL) program for established arts leaders who have demonstrated the desire and potential to lead change in their organization, their community, and/or the arts sector.


Participants will focus on developing a range of leadership skills, including critical thinking, empathy, collaboration, deep listening, creativity, and identifying their leadership style. These skills will be developed while working within the areas of strategic planning, human resources, community development, fundraising, marketing, board governance, and more.


Especially considering the events of 2020, the Rozsa Foundation believes that being grounded in where we are on this land with an understanding of who we are will help us figure out where we are going. Equity, Anti-Racism, Inclusion, and Indigenous Relations are the overarching themes that will be woven throughout the REAL program topics and sessions.


The goal of the program is to offer a space for established arts leaders to come together and discuss opportunities and challenges they have in their own organization, their own artistic practice, and the wider arts sector. Participants will collaborate to address these opportunities and challenges, and do a deep dive on a particular topic with local creative thought leaders for their final presentations.


Our approach in REAL is to use a combination of online webinars (ZOOM) led by guest facilitators and pre-work that will be delivered through an online portal (SLACK). Both approaches will provide an opportunity for REAL participants to collaborate, problem-solve, and tackle various topics with the support of peers, facilitators, and the faculty team.


We believe this approach will allow for greater depth of conversation and create a meaningful professional development experience.


To prepare for the 2021 Rozsa Executive Arts Leadership (REAL) program, we have invited three arts leaders to be our REAL Faculty Planning Team including Jared Tailfeathers (multi-media artist, musician, author, and program coordinator for Indigenous Placemaking at the Calgary Public Library), Cheryl Foggo (author, playwright, and filmmaker), and Su Ying Strang (artist, cultural worker, and director at The New Gallery).  Jared, Cheryl, and Su Ying are arts leaders, practicing artists, activists, advocates, and collaborators in Mohkinstis (Calgary). They each participated in the REAL 2020 program as guests/facilitators and we are delighted that they have agreed to become the REAL Faculty Planning Team together.  


The Rozsa Foundation is making Equity, Anti-Racism, Inclusion, and Indigenous Relations a priority throughout our work. Having the voices and perspectives of Jared, Cheryl, and Su Ying to not only facilitate REAL sessions, but also lead the ongoing development of the program is very important to us. 


The REAL program is constantly in development as the reality of the arts sector changes and adapts, and our goal is to address current challenges and opportunities as they present themselves, and to always be learning together.   



To prepare for the 2021 Rozsa Executive Arts Leadership (REAL) program, we have invited three arts leaders to be our REAL Faculty Planning Team including Jared Tailfeathers (multi-media artist, musician, author, and program coordinator for Indigenous Placemaking at the Calgary Public Library), Cheryl Foggo (author, playwright, and filmmaker), and Su Ying Strang (artist, cultural worker, and director at The New Gallery).   

Cheryl Foggo
Jared Tailfeathers
Su Ying Strang
Geraldine Ysselstein


We have extended the deadline for REAL applications to Friday, January 22nd and anticipate that the program will begin ONLINE on March 10th, 2021. Sessions will be held every other week on Wednesdays from 9:30am-12:30pm

The Rozsa Foundation subsidizes tuition for participants, and REAL participants pays the remaining tuition amount of $900/person for the 2021 REAL program.


For those who are employed, your employer may be able to access the Canada-Alberta Job Grant that will cover 2/3 of your tuition (please note that you must apply for the grant at least 30 days before the program start date).  

An important note: The Rozsa Foundation acknowledges that systemic barriers to equity exist when it comes to the Arts Leadership application process and paying for tuition. If this is the case, we invite you to email or call Geraldine Ysselstein at (phone: 587-435-8747 Monday-Friday between 2-5pm) to discuss your application and/or tuition, so that we may seek ways to provide additional/alternative application/financial supports. 


Upon completing the Rozsa Executive Arts Leadership (REAL) program, an arts leader will be able to:

  • Assess their own leadership values, style, and capacity


  • Build relationships with other program participants


  • Take collective action to address sector-wide concerns


  • Advocate the value of the arts to the wider community

The Rozsa Executive Arts Leadership (REAL) program builds on the Rozsa Arts Management Program (RAMP) themes of governance, resource development, marketing, human resources, leadership, and finance.


However, while RAMP focuses on management and planning skills, the REAL program is focused on developing leaders who can inspire others towards a shared vision of success and lead them towards change even if there is risk involved.

The REAL program is for:

  • Arts managers across arts disciplines who are taking their leadership to the next level

  • Arts managers who are interested in being leaders in their organization and within the arts sector



The REAL program culminates in final presentations to the community. In 2020, these were done in a ZOOM Conference Platform due to COVID-19 public gathering restrictions. The cohort is divided into pairs and given a complicated challenge on which to deliberate. The presentation is of Five Bold Ideas on how to deal with this challenge. To see the presentations, click here.