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Americans for the Arts president Nolen Bivens to step down

Bivens has served as president and CEO since 2021.

Nolen Bivens (Credit: Courtesy of Americans for the Arts)

Americans for the Arts (AFTA), the nonprofit dedicated to using research and advocacy to advance the arts, has announced that its president and CEO, Nolen Bivens, will step down. Bivens will remain in his leadership position until the completion of his tenure in June. 

Bivens was appointed in 2021. During his tenure, Bivens has led the organization through a “Strategic Realignment Process,” which aimed to identify AFTA’s role in the arts community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bivens also spearheaded AFTA’s 2022 Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) research study, which quantified the economic impact of national arts organizations. The study expanded upon past AFTA studies to include more arts organizations that serve BIPOC communities.

“We greatly appreciate General Nolen Bivens’ service to Americans for the Arts,” said board chair, Edgar Smith, in a statement. “With his expertise in organizational strategy, Nolen set Americans for the Arts on firm ground to serve the arts and culture community as the sector’s national service organization. Following an extensive strategic realignment plan with the field, Nolen helped us transform the organization to have an immensely impactful mission-centric approach to work with our members and partners, propelling us toward a future where the arts are equitably at the center of our communities.”

“It has been my honor to lead Americans for the Arts these past few years,” Bivens expressed in a statement. “The arts are a national asset, and I am proud of the work that Americans for the Arts has done to ensure everyone can experience the arts throughout their lifetime.”

A committee has been formed to find Bivens’ successor; AFTA board members Torie Allen and Kristina Newman-Scott will serve as co-chairs.