Deborah ObalilExecutive Director
Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design
Providence, Rhode Island
Deborah Obalil is the Executive Director of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD), representing 42 specialized colleges of art and design across the US and Canada. She has fifteen years experience as an arts manager and organizational development specialist, with experience at both the staff and consulting levels in writing and implementing detailed strategic plans, marketing plans and development plans. Her consulting practice has included clients of every organization size and discipline, in various geographic locations across the United States.
Deborah’s career within arts organizations placed her as the Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities, an organization dedicated to the advancement of America’s creative vitality through supporting the field of artists’ communities. The Alliance acts as the collective voice of the field while providing a variety of advocacy services and educational programs. During her six-year tenure as Executive Director, the Alliance’s membership grew by more than 20%, the annual budget tripled, and new relationships developed with the Ford Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and the Joyce Foundation directed more than $2 million of re-granting funds through the Alliance.
Previous to the Alliance, Deborah was the Director of the Arts Marketing Center & Research at the Arts & Business Council of Chicago. As Director of the Center, Deborah maintained and developed its programs and services in Chicago. This included presenting the Advanced Training Program, an intensive marketing training designed specifically for arts and cultural organizations; consulting with individual arts organizations on issues of audience development and earned income; and directing all research projects undertaken by the Center. During her tenure at the Center, Deborah authored the report Barriers and Motivations to Increased Arts Usage Among Medium and Light Users, and edited Diversifying Chicago’s Arts Audiences: A Progress Report, both published by the Arts Marketing Center. She also directed the development of smARTscope, a comprehensive management appraisal process specifically designed for arts organizations. Additionally, Deborah has been published in ArtsReach, a trade publication for arts management, and in The Experts Guide to Arts Marketing, published by the Arts & Business Council, Inc. and American Express.