ACI is committed to

cultivating and connecting emerging arts leaders both in and to the arts and culture sector and the contemporary art world. This includes both building a supportive community of arts leaders and equipping them with transformational leadership skillsets for success. Our ultimate goal is to drive economic access in the arts, in turn driving cultural equity, leading to the actualization of Creative Justice.


From the Summer of 2018 - Spring of 2019 ACI convened a collective of six youth arts leaders of color, self-named the Youth United Artists (YUA). Representing four distinct BPS high schools, the YUA met once a week, in addition to participating in a two-week long Training Institute and week-long Spring Research Intensive. The program follows a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) process, understanding that youth are experts of their own lives and powerful agents of social change.

YUA members conducted research about social issues affecting their own communities in order to engage in advocacy. Topics engaged with include housing justice, colorism, and code switching in the workplace, amongst many others. Drawing on ACI’s network of arts leaders, the YUA members worked with ACI mentors to co-produce knowledge and artwork, using their research as inspiration. The 2019 Youth United Artists Cohort presented their work at the Arts Equity Summit 2019, engaging in a cross-generational and cross-sector dialogue. This was a paid creative youth arts program.

We plan to run a second iteration of this program starting in the summer of 2020. To stay up to date with future opportunities, please sign up for our newsletter.


Arts Leader Retreats are open to all artist leaders of color (ALOC) and wider ACI community partners. During retreats, community members are encouraged to convene and rejuvenate with a growing social justice community committed to building global inclusion through the arts. Workshops are shaped by the attending arts leaders interests, experiences and skills. The majority of workshops throughout a retreat are led directly by the arts leaders attending. We also promote unstructured time to simply rest and reconnect. Our inaugural Arts Leader Retreat took place in November 2017, and we plan to run a similar retreat in the summer of 2020. 

Interested in learning more? Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with opportunities.


From 2014 to 2017, ACI ran an international Artist in Residence program for emergent artist leaders who use their art for social change. As part of their residency, Artist Leaders took part in ACI’s flagship Artist Training Institute, a two-week long convening focused on transformational entrepreneurship training and community building, hosted in Boston in 2014, 2015 and 2016. To deliver effective and cross-disciplinary training, ACI partnered with several community partners. Following the training, the Artists in Residence explored their social issues in a global context by traveling to an international location of their choosing. Upon returning home, the Artists in Residence used their art created during their residency as a tool for activation through various community convenings, partnerships, and exhibitions (examples: 2015, 2016, 2016). 

Arts leaders we worked with include current and aspiring leaders in the arts sector, spanning: independent artists, curators, museum educators, arts traders, arts educators, and arts entrepreneurs. 

Interested in learning more? Meet ACI’s artist leaders below:



Arts Equity Summit: April 24-26, 2020

Artist Leader Retreat: Summer 2020

Youth United Artists 2.0 Launch: Summer 2020

Past Events

ACI’s 5th Birthday Party (2019) a community gathering at Boston Art to celebrate 5 years of growth and impact

Arts Equity Summit (2019) a three-day summit and arts-integrated experience examining issues of equity both in, and through, the arts

Youth Participatory Action Research Institute (2018) training for selected high school students names to the Youth United Artists

Artist Leader of Color Retreat (2017) focused on bringing together emerging and established artist leaders of color to laugh, create, heal, and innovate

Fashion Accessibility Project (2017) in partnership with Epicenter Community

Various Academic Presentations (2016) includes: Harvard Graduate School of Education, Boston College, Tufts University, Babson College

Symposium on Art for Cultural Inclusion (2016) held at the School for Global Inclusion & Social Development, UMass Boston

Artist Training Institute (2016) training for ACI Artist Leaders

Black Gods Live (2016)

ISESE at Aeronaut Brewery (2016)

Justice in Process & Action with Lesley University (2016)

#ArtBar at Aeronaut Brewery with Volta Visual (2016)

LoveArt with Moy-Fincher-Chipps (2016)

Shades of Inclusion Exhibition (20152016) includes: #ArtBar @ the ODG, Club Community Opening @ the ODG, installation at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and installation at the Building Inclusive Communities Conference at the Kennedy Institute

Symposium on Art for Cultural Inclusion (2015) held at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Bernstein Wealth Management Showcase (2015)

BEAN Community Festival (2015)

Artist Training Institute (2015) training for ACI Artist Leaders

Artist Training Institute (2014) training for ACI Artist Leaders

City Awake Art Inclusion Salon (2014)

ACI Launch Party @ the Estate Night Club (2014)