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"I get it!" - Making sense of the Arts with RAFT.

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

Here at the Rozsa Foundation, we work hard to identify and address gaps within the arts management sector, and the arts community overall.

Our arts leadership programs are the result of our ongoing research into those gaps, designed to strengthen business acumen and organizational resilience within arts organizations.

RAFT (Rozsa Admin Fundamental Training) is the first program in a suite of arts management programs that the Rozsa Foundation offers.

Arts administrators enter the field in various ways, some as practicing artists, volunteers in arts organizations or as passionate supporters of the arts. Wherever one may be in their professional journey, the RAFT program can help those who have recently started working in an arts organization and are looking to build their knowledge and skill set in arts management.”

In this feature we hear from Shahrazad Azzi, Visitor Services Senior Coordinator at the National Music Centre on the impact of RAFT in her career as an arts manager.


I feel like I get it. I get the processes. I get the timing. I gained a lot of perspective from attending RAFT.

RAFT alum, Shahrazad Azzi is the Visitor Services Senior Coordinator at Calgary's innovative and awe inspiring National Music Centre located within the Studio Bell. The lively and enthusiastic arts administrator can be found on any given day providing exceptional visitor services with her team within the museum and performance venue which holds over 2,000 rare instruments and artifacts including the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, the TONTO synthesizer, and one of Elton John's pianos, along with the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame collections.

Despite, NMC's location in Calgary, Shahrazad made the trip up to Edmonton to participate in the program. "I had planned a trip to LA for that time period and I didn’t want to wait a year for the program to get a grasp on the gaps that were missing when it came to non-profits and working in the arts."

Attending RAFT in Edmonton provided a unique experience where Shahrazad met with other arts administrators from various arts organizations that operate in the city. "Everybody in the program was new to me and it was nice to make new connections outside of the city, " says Shahrazad, "I realized Edmonton does things differently from us in Calgary. The one thing that was hard for me to wrap my head around was the different organizations everybody came from. For example, the Fringe Festival is huge in Edmonton but not so much in Calgary. Learning about how such festivals impact a city was really interesting."

"The RAFT program shed light on different aspects of working for a not-for-profit that I really had no idea about. Derek used a lot of practical examples, we had a case study we worked through and we focused on learning what our visions, our core values, and mission were as well as learning the differences between them. I really didn’t know much about these aspects so it was really great to go over what they were because in the past I had just accepted them without digging deeper into understanding."

"We also went over financial statements which was probably the hardest thing to wrap my head around because I’m not number oriented at all so just learning the different components of what makes a not-for-profit was really helpful."

At the Foundation we recognize, arts administrators arrive at the field from various points in their professional lives. It is our goal to provide a comprehensive understanding for participants of RAFT to facilitate a stronger understanding and instill confidence in arts administrators. "It was really interesting to me to learn about board members, how they are appointed, how they should be chosen, this information was presented to us in a way anybody can understand the processes of starting a not-for-profit if you had this skill and foundation."

"I really liked the 2-day format because it showed a beginning to overview of how to run a not-for-profit. It made me really appreciate what we do at the National Music Centre. Knowing the flows and channels we have to go through to get things done. I have a better understanding of how that all works. There are so many hoops to jump through and the money constraint always raises it’s head but it was really nice to get an extensive review of what it is we do here."

"By taking the RAFT program, I gained patience through this program, I gained deeper understanding of how the different components come together to make a not-for-profit work. It’s a 40 working staff so knowing and learning the processes and procedures allowed for me to understand this fully.


Important Dates

Deadline to Apply (Calgary): Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Deadline to Apply (Edmonton): Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

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Wonderful to have you Shahrazad in our program!

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