Announcement: Nina Simon and Janet Brown to Judge “Business Unusual” Contest

We are pleased to announce that Janet Brown, Executive Director for Grantsmakers in the Arts, and Nina Simon, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and popular blogger at Museum 2.0 will serve as judges for the ArtsFwd Business Unusual” Innovation Story Contest. Both have made it a priority to foster innovation and experimentation in the arts sector and we look forward to working with them to determine which innovation stories show the most ingenuity, organizational and public impact, and value for the field.

Stay tuned for announcements about the final 2 of our 4 judges coming soon!

Janet Brown, Executive Director of Grantsmakers in the Arts, is a nationally known consultant, speaker and teacher. Until recently, she was an adjunct faculty member at Goucher College, Baltimore, MD teaching Public Policy and the Arts. Prior to GIA, she was Chair of Performing and Visual Arts at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD and Executive Director of South Dakotans for the Arts and the SD Alliance for Arts Education. She began her arts management career in theatre where her work included Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival, the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and national and European tours. She began her theatre career as an actress at the Black Hills Playhouse and was co-owner of the Deadwood Production Company for ten years. A registered lobbyist for 15 years, Janet received numerous awards for arts advocacy including the Selena Roberts Ottum Award from Americans for the Arts, Washington, DC, and the Robert Gard Award from the University of Massachusetts Arts Extension Service (AES), Amherst. She’s served on many local and national boards of directors including Americans for the Arts and the American Folklife Center and has been a panelist and site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts and several state arts agencies. She has an undergraduate degree in Theatre and a Masters of Public Administration.

Nina Simon is Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, which has gone through a radical transformation over the past year to become a community-driven gathering place. Recent “business unusual” activities at the MAH have included: kids with sledgehammers, pocket museums in bathrooms, fun with flamethrowers, collaborations with homeless people, and a redefinition of mission as being primarily about community development. Nina teaches radical exhibition design in the University of Washington Museology graduate program and writes the popular blog Museum 2.0. Her 2010 book, The Participatory Museum, was named “a future classic of museology” and is used as a text in hundreds of cultural organizations and graduate programs internationally. Previously, Nina Simon worked as an independent consultant to over one hundred museums and cultural centers around the world, focusing on participatory community engagement. She served as curator at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA, and was the Experience Development Specialist at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.


Karina Mangu-Ward is the Director of Activating Innovation at EmcArts, where she leads the development of, an interactive online platform for arts leaders to learn and share stories about adaptive change and the power of effective innovation.