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Work on building the 2021 Rozsa Executive Arts Leadership (REAL) program is well underway, and we will be accepting applications from now until December 17th, 2020. 

Based on the survey feedback and past iterations of the REAL program, our proposed program outline is the following:

  • February-May 2021

  • Weekly online sessions

  • Wednesdays from 10am-noon

  • Two potential socially-distanced “field trips” to meet in-person (contingent on AHS guidelines)

Because of the online delivery of the program in 2021, arts leaders throughout Alberta are invited to apply, if they have at least 5-10 years of leadership experience, and seek to lead change in their organization, community, and/or the arts sector.

An individual applying does not need to currently be working for an organization as we understand the impacts of COVID-19 may not make this possible.

We will continue to update you with information as we develop it.

We are accepting applications for the REAL program until December 17th: 


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


Participants will focus on developing soft skills (eg. deep listening, creativity, critical thinking, empathy, collaboration, leadership styles, and voice) alongside hard skills (eg. finance, governance, and technical skills) that will lead to personal and professional development.

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, collaborate to address these opportunities and challenges within the arts sector, and do a deep dive on a particular topic with local creative thought leaders.


These challenges/opportunities may include marketing, communications, funding, board governance, financial, community engagement, human resources, technology, and legal.

Our approach in Rozsa Executive Arts Leadership (REAL) is to use a blended type of learning that delivers instructional content through an online portal called Slack and uses the in-person sessions to collaborate, problem-solve, and tackle different challenges with the support of peers, facilitators, and guest leaders.


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


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 have 5-10 years of work experience

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



The REAL program is led and facilitated by Geraldine Ysesstein, Arts Leadership Director with the Rozsa Foundation, and many respected arts leaders in the Calgary arts community. These include Su Ying Strang of The New Gallery; Jenna Rogers of Chromatic Theatre; Terry Rock of Platform Calgary; Karen Ball; Cheryl Foggo and Agatha Starczyk.


The Rozsa Foundation subsidizes tuition for participants working for nonprofits/registered charities. The REAL participant pays the remaining tuition.

Tuition for 2021 is $900/person.​


The Rozsa Executive Arts Leader Program (REAL) application deadline will be December 17, 2020, in order to allow for enough time (30 days) for applicants to apply for the Canada-Alberta Job Grant.


The Canada-Alberta Job Grant can fund up to 2/3 of your program costs to a maximum of $10,000 per individual or $300,000 per organization.

If you do not qualify for the Canada Alberta Job Grant (for example, you are a board member or contracted staff member), please contact the Rozsa Foundation for information on further subsidies.


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.

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