abx 2017

Canada’s art sector is faced with an influx of changes, diversification, generation gap, technological disruption, and succession planning. New talent, digital engagement, communication channels, and infrastructure continually emerge, forcing fast paced adaptation. The Canadian arts are grappling with newer trends in technology, in digital, and in the importance keeping ahead of the curve.

Irrespective of how the sector evolves, leadership is a fundamental skill present in every future iteration. Leadership practices however, are just as fluid and must adapt. What has worked in the past may no longer be relevant today, and will certainly not be tomorrow. We all recognize the importance of art and the power it has to shape experience and community; our curiosity is in how leadership plays a role in this.

This idea of what future leadership looks like is what we, as leaders of the future, must influence today. So this November we are exploring ARTPOWER as the theme of our conference; to uncover the power of the arts in designing a meaningful self purpose and learn how we can leverage our professional power to contribute to and help grow the arts.


2015: National Young Professionals Summit on the Arts
Arsenal Gallery, Montreal
Download the report

2014: RBC 40 Voices
Hotel Ocho, Toronto
Download the report


an influential new outlet
A delegation formed at this year’s abx that will represent the cohort’s voice at the Canadian Arts Summit at the Banff Centre in April 2018.

a showcase of canada’s people
abx will enact as a platform to spotlight, foster, and retain top Canadian leaders in the arts, whether at the volunteer/board level or on the artistic and administrative side.

effective succession planning
75% of Canadian executive directors, artistic directors, and chairs will retire in the next ten years and this turnover requires immediate succession planning and cultivation of our next generation leaders in the arts.

meaningful connections
Bringing together 200 emerging arts and business leaders from across Canada in a highly-interactive, inspirational environment to share ideas and develop new relationships.

a collective voice
Participants will be invited to provide input on the direction of the Culture Track Canada research tool and findings.

We work to educate, invest, and connect the gap between businesses and the arts.



Founded in 1974 by a group of leading business CEOs in Canada. Our founding directors were “dedicated to the proposition that any nation lives by its creative minds, that such creativity has to be carefully nurtured.” They saw a need to encourage strong relationships between business and the arts in order to strengthen our cultural institutions, support our artists and improve quality of life for all.


A Business for the Arts program made up of a volunteer network of leading young business professionals under 40 who are dedicated to fostering the growth of the arts through volunteerism and patronage. artsScene currently operates in eight cities across Canada and works to connect, inspire, and celebrate these young business professionals through unique experiences across Canada.



How can I register for this conference?

To participate in the 2017 arts & business exchange, submit an application here. Further information on the application process can be found on the tickets page.

Who can attend abx?

This conference is open to emerging arts and business leaders under 40 who demonstrate exemplary leadership and volunteerism in the arts.

If you meet this criteria, and are passionate about contributing to the future of the arts and cultural sector through this influential new forum, we strongly encourage you to register.

Am I considered an emerging arts leader?

Working in the arts sector, emerging arts leaders are dedicated to fostering the arts in Canada by building partnerships with fellow arts administrators, artists, media, business leaders and public sector officials to ensure a vibrant cultural sector for all Canadians.

Am I considered an emerging business professional?

Working in the business sector, emerging business leaders demonstrate a passion for volunteerism, philanthropy or leadership in arts and culture in Canada. Individuals show leadership in taking on key roles and responsibilities, recruiting other volunteers, providing a bridge between business and the arts community, and enhancing the visibility of the arts and culture sector.

I am over 40, can I still attend the conference?

The conference and discussions will be programmed for emerging leaders under 40. While this is our target demographic for abx, we invite anyone who is doing great things and can contribute to the conversation to apply.

What is Culture Track Canada?

We will give participants a firsthand look into the groundbreaking new Culture Track Canada study led by Business for the Arts. Culture Track Canada will focus on better understanding and responding to the changing cultural landscape in Canada and provide businesses, government agencies and cultural institutions with specific, actionable data to accelerate and inform strategic decision making.

Through a series of roundtables across Canada in 2017 and at this year’s arts & business exchange, we will be gathering feedback on the survey instrument, allowing abx participants to directly influence and contribute to the study. In 2018, these same round tables will be held across Canada to share the findings of the study on a national scale.

Will the conference be publicly available via livestream?

The conference will be livestreamed from Toronto with findings shared online following the event. To receive updates on the livestream, please sign up for abx notifications here.

How is the arts & business exchange different from Business for the Arts’ other emerging leaders summits?

After hosting the RBC 40 Voices Summit in 2014 and the Montreal Young Professionals Summit on the Arts in 2015, Business for the Arts saw the need to bring emergings arts and business leaders together more frequently in order to understand the ever-changing direction of the arts and cultural sector. These summits have evolved into what is now the Arts and Business Exchange.

While the previous two summits were resounding successes, the arts & business exchange has been reimagined as a conference that can one day grow into a year-round, cross-sectoral exchange.