Douglas R. Clayton
Senior Vice President
Douglas R. Clayton joined ACG in 2019, bringing more than 20 years of experience in the arts and culture industry, specifically within opera, theater, and arts service organizations. Passionate about innovative business models in the arts and culture sector, he leads ACG’s Planning & Capacity Building area, guiding strategic planning and community engagement, facilities and program planning, organizational benchmarking studies, board governance summits, team building retreats, and a variety of services that strengthen nonprofit organizations, universities, government agencies, and the communities they serve. Mr. Clayton has an extensive background in cross-sector collaboration in public-private partnerships and the dynamic relationships that exist in the creative industries.
Prior to joining ACG, Mr. Clayton served in various roles at Chicago Opera Theater, ultimately becoming General Director in 2017. In this role, he redeveloped the organization’s artistic identity and led the creation of a robust strategic planning and community engagement process that reversed a multiyear downward trend in audience attendance and donations. He also strategically prioritized recruitment and retention of key individuals, leaving the organization as the only multimillion-dollar opera company in the United States with an all-female executive leadership team.
“Forward-looking creativity and effective collaboration are central to the day-to-day activities of every organization in the arts and culture sector. The very nature of contributing to cultural vibrancy requires individuals to work together, look at problems from many points of view, and try new ways of working. However, the challenges of artistic complexity, building financial resources, managing diverse human capital, and rapidly changing local and global environments can inhibit both creative thought and the ability to work together. Organizations at the front lines of cultural creation need cutting-edge best practices to effectively and efficiently solve problems and pursue fruitful and inspiring futures.”
As the Director of Programming and Operations for LA Stage Alliance prior to moving to Chicago, he used his multifaceted background to advise hundreds of performing arts organizations throughout the five-county Los Angeles region. He collaborated on multiple national infrastructure and marketing initiatives and was instrumental in the development and launch of the arts and culture focused customer relationship management system. Mr. Clayton oversaw the complex rules administration and online voting systems for the LA Stage Ovation Awards and initiated an innovative resource-sharing facility in Los Angeles for small and midsized theater companies. Additionally, he served as the Chair of the Host Committee for the record-breaking 2011 Theater Communications Group national conference and was a member of the Directors Lab West’s steering committee.
Mr. Clayton has worked artistically as a stage director, playwright, and performer and has hands-on experience as both an artist and producer with a range of theatrical unions in the United States, including the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Actors’ Equity Association, American Guild of Musical Artists, and United Scenic Artists. Mr. Clayton holds a bachelor of science from the University of Southern California and earned a master of business administration from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2018 he was named to Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 list as a leading innovator in the business of culture.
Mr. Clayton's ACG professional and client work includes:
Berkshire Choral International
Chicago Opera Theater
Long Beach Opera
The Phoenix Symphony
Red Mountain Theatre Company
Southampton Arts Center
Southwest Washington Center for the Arts
Stage Directors & Choreographers Society
Theatre Communications Group
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