The National Independent Venue Foundation (NIVF) has selected Carl Atiya Swanson as Executive Director, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). He began his tenure on January 30, 2023.
Swanson is an accomplished and innovative nonprofit leader with numerous years of experience in strategic planning, cross-sector partnerships, creative placemaking, and project management. Swanson prior served as Associate Director at Springboard for the Arts, an artist-led economic and community development agency. During his 10 years at the organization, Swanson oversaw fundraising initiatives and cultivated crucial partnerships that contributed to rapid organizational growth and a tripling of the annual budget. Leading with a human-centered approach, Swanson devised various community-building projects, including Creative Exchange, an online platform that provides toolkits and other resources for artists and cultural organizations.
Swanson has previously served at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and is the founder of Cast Consulting, a firm specializing in strategy and project management in the arts and education sectors with clients including, but not limited to, Salzburg Global Seminar, Initiative Foundation, and Minneapolis Public Schools. He is also a freelance arts and culture writer and poet. His poetry has been published by Crooked Arrow Press, Trouble Child Magazine, Meal Magazine, and the Hennepin History Museum, while his arts and culture writing has appeared in SPIN, City Pages, and The Onion A.V. Club. He has served on the boards of Catalyst Music Twin Cities, which offers youth programming; the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network - Twin Cities; and Dissonance, a mental health and recovery support organization for creative professionals. Swanson has presented at various conferences and was an invited speaker for Americans for the Arts, Alliance of Artists Communities, American Craft Council, the Delta Regional Authority, IdeaLab, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, and others. He holds a bachelor of arts in Studio Art from the University of Southern California and a master of business administration from the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.
In making the announcement, Co-founder and board member Hal Real said, “We are very excited to welcome Carl as the first full-time Executive Director of the NIVF. With Carl’s leadership, we look forward to accelerating pursuit of our goal to empower more inclusive and sustainable independent live entertainment communities.”
“I am so excited to be joining National Independent Venue Foundation as Executive Director,” said Swanson. “Having worked on the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund in 2020 and 2021, I know the power of what we can do together, and for each other. I am excited to bring my experience in resource development and organizational leadership to this role and find creative, collaborative ways to support a thriving ecosystem for independent live entertainment communities."
“Congratulations to Carl Swanson as he takes on this leadership role in partnership with the Board of Directors of NIVF,” said ACG Vice President Shawn D. Ingram. “I have great confidence in Carl's ability to help the Foundation achieve its ambitious vision.”