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Theresa Holden

Artist and Community Connection

Theresa Holden, Director of Artist and Community Connection (ACC) and Co-Founder of Holden & Arts Associates, offers consultancy services, meeting facilitation and workshops for presenters, performing arts companies and artists. For over 28 years Theresa has offered her clients a variety of services, including strategic planning, board development, community engagement activities, equitable and productive meeting facilitation, leadership workshops and long range planning. Theresa has taught the Emerging Leaders Institute at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters for the past 11 years, served as project producer for many community based projects across the USA, taught in universities and community organizations, and facilitated collaborative learning sessions with diverse organizations. Theresa holds a Master of Arts in Theater and is a fellow at New York Universities' Research Center for Leadership in Action. Theresa and John O'Neal together won the Leadership for Changing World Award from the Ford Foundation.​


Theresa Holden directs ACC, a not-for-profit consultancy service organization. Theresa provides a variety of services for clients from across the USA, which have included, among others: university and community presenters; performing arts companies; artists; youth, housing, immigrant, and health organizations; public schools; and university academic departments. For the past eighteen years Theresa has offered assistance to organizations as they develop and strengthen their programs and staff and has aimed to create a connection and exchange between artists and the communities they visit. ACC's successful partnerships have helped to build strong strategic plans, better boards, local cultural affirmation and self-determination, respect for cultural diversity and equitable distribution of resources. ACC's organizing and producing work always seeks to equalize all partners' voices in the development and presentation of the project's work. Theresa has also taught leadership courses in several settings, including the Emerging Leadership Institute for Arts Presenters, for the past 8 years.

The goals of ACC's projects are as diverse as the organizations and communities served. Theresa has facilitated board and staff retreats, student orientations, faculty meetings, planned and produced festivals and community events, facilitated organizational multi-year planning processes, organized and supervised organizational evaluations, directed organizational self-studies and ethnographies, helped build coalitions in communities, and facilitated communities seeking and collecting their own stories.

Personalized Approach

Theresa customizes the services for each project and, when called for, brings her colleagues into the project. These long time collaborators are artists, educators and organizers who offer years of experience, wisdom, talent and diverse working methods. Each project has its own particular needs and ACC creates the right team to undertake the work.


In every project Theresa seeks to open communication, deepen and broaden dialogue, and aim for equality in planning and executing the projects. In order to do so, ACC acknowledges that each of us will be challenged to meet the goal of equity, respect, and mutual sharing of time and resources. From this platform, and through deep listening and dialogue, our projects succeed.

Past Projects

Following is a list of some of the organizations and academic institutions for which ACC has provided various services, including meeting facilitation, story circle facilitation, orientations, coalition building, project planning, artist workshops, organizational development, and faculty and staff retreats. Theresa has also been a visiting Professor at several universities, specializing in community fieldwork courses. Theresa is a Fellow at NYU at the Research Center for Leadership in Action.​

  • Association of Performing Arts Presenters, DC

  • NYU, Research Center for Leadership in Action

  • University of Akron, Theater Department

  • Project Home, Philadelphia, PA

  • Arizona State University, Theater Department

  • Tohono O'odham Community Action, Sells, AZ

  • University of Maryland

  • Regional Aides Interfaith Network, Charlotte, NC

  • Cornell University

  • Ford Foundation, Leadership for a Changing World

  • Dartmouth College

  • William and Mary College

  • University of Louisville

  • Tamejavi Festival, Fresno, CA

  • University of Texas, Graduate School of Social Work

Theresa Holden with artist John O’Neal leading a story circle.

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