BMO Financial Group supports new Cultural Leadership program

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BANFF, AB, December 5, 2017 – Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is proud to launch a new training program that will empower the next generation of leaders from cultural organizations across the country to make a lasting impact in Canada’s arts and cultural sector. On November 12, 2017, the inaugural cohort of 19 cultural leaders met in Banff for the first of four intensive sessions as part of the Cultural Leadership program. The Cultural Leadership program is made possible thanks to the generous  $500,000 support from BMO Financial Group.

“BMO is proud to support the new Cultural Leadership program. This unique, all-encompassing and intensive program will ensure Canada’s next generation of cultural leaders for years to come,” said Nada Ristich, Director, BMO Community Giving

Led by facilitator Russell Willis Taylor and an impressive faculty of Canadian and international experts, educators, and artists, the cohort will participate in seven months of applied learning, small group work, reflective practice, large group forums, interactive processes, lectures, and case-study analysis. The program will be delivered through four one-week intensive sessions (three in Banff, one in Montreal) as well as workshops, seminars, and projects that may take place virtually or at venues across Canada. 

The Cultural Leadership program builds on Banff Centre’s strong legacy of arts and leadership training, and is just one in a suite of professional development programs for cultural leaders. The first program of this kind was established in 1971 by David Leighton, then President of the Centre. 

“Banff Centre has an extraordinary Canadian legacy as a creative hub for artists and arts practitioners, having provided arts training programs since 1933. The Cultural Leadership program is an important new chapter in our history – an essential part of strengthening the arts eco-system in Canada,” stated Willis Taylor, Lead Facilitator and Acting Vice President of Arts and Leadership at Banff Centre. “We are so grateful for BMO Financial Group’s generous support, alongside our other visionary partners and supporters, as we continue to empower the next generation of Canadian cultural leaders,” 

Faculty for the Cultural Leadership program include: Diane Ragsdale, Assistant Professor at The New School in New York City; Dr. Julian Norris, faculty at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business and Banff Centre; Brian Calliou, Program Director of Indigenous Leadership programs at Banff Centre; Tim Cynova, Chief Operating Officer of Fractured Atlas; E. Andrew Taylor, Associate Professor in the Arts Management Program at American University; Heather M. Kitchen, senior theatre administrator; Jill Robinson, President and CEO of TRG Art; Jamie Gamble, principal of Imprint Consulting; Lisa Watson, Co-Founder of Openly and Founder of Strategies for Social Impact; and, Joshua J. Yates, Research Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. 

The program was developed and is offered in collaboration with Canada’s first Artistic Leadership Development Program at the National Theatre School in Montréeal, QC, and runs from  November 12, 2017 - June 7, 2018, with the first intensive session scheduled for November 12 - 16, 2017 at Banff Centre. 

Leadership programs at Banff Centre are developed with support from the Peter Lougheed Leadership Initiative. 

For more information about this and other Cultural Leadership programs, including our lists of supporters, visit

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity:  Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach. 

About BMO Financial Group: For 200 years, BMO Financial Group has believed in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility in the communities it serves. In 2016, BMO contributed more than $57 million in community donations to charitable, not-for-profit and community based institutions and organizations that help build and sustain resilient, vital and healthy communities.

About the National Theatre School of Canada: Founded in 1960, in Montreal, the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS) offers incomparable training for theatre artists of all kinds, actors, directors, designers, writers, production specialists, to create work that matters. A co-lingual school, NTS includes both an English section and a French section. The School has graduated some 2,000 artists who have made incalculable contributions to our collective identity. Some of this country’s most important theatre, performance, film, and television artists are among their ranks, and the School’s influence is felt from coast to coast to coast and across the globe.