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Holly Sidford

Holly is an expert systems thinker–seeing connections and making more than the sum of the parts. Her endless curiosity, penetrating intelligence and commitment to excellence underpins all of Helicon’s work. Holly draws on her training as an historian and her experiences as a program developer and funder to inform Helicon’s efforts to elevate the role of artists, recognize the full diversity of creative expression and make the arts and culture a more central part of community life.

Holly has a knack for identifying the most important issue facing the field at the time, and her work is often a thought-provoking catalyst for change. Reports such as Bright Spot Leadership in the Pacific Northwest (Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, 2012) and Fusing Art, Culture and Social Change (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, 2011) have stimulated field-wide discussion. Earlier in her career, her work at the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund helped shift national discourse and practice in the ways cultural organizations engage audiences and communities.  In 2000, Holly’s work prompted unprecedented research on artists, Investing in Creativity (Urban Institute, 2003), and the creation of Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), a unique ten-year initiative to expand support and recognition for artists nationwide.

Holly serves on the board of Sadie Nash Leadership Project, an award-winning leadership program for young female leaders in metropolitan New York, and Fractured Atlas, a national organization pioneering technology-based ways to empower artists, cultural organizations and other creative enterprises.

a large group sitting in a circle watching a staged reading
How Sustained Support for Playwrights Impacts Artistry

How Sustained Support for Playwrights Impacts Artistry

National Playwright Residency Program Evaluation 2020

1 March 2021

Alexis Frasz and Holly Sidford of Helicon Collaborative share their findings from the most recent assessment of the National Playwright Residency Program.

A group of people sit in chairs in a circle
The Birth of a Theatre Commons

The Birth of a Theatre Commons

HowlRound from 2009-2017

3 October 2018

Alexis Frasz and Holly Sidford of Helicon Collaborative share the case study they wrote on HowlRound. Alexis and Holly believe HowlRound’s story is particularly resonant for this moment in time, and has potential to influence thinking and shift practice in the theatre sector and beyond. This essay shares a few thoughts on why they think HowlRound’s story matters in today’s political and economic context.

Assessment of the National Playwright Residency Program

Assessment of the National Playwright Residency Program

26 March 2018

Alexis Frasz and Holly Sidford assess the first round of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's National Playwright Residency Program, co-administered by HowlRound.

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