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Suzanne Callahan

CFRE, Founder

Callahan Consulting for the Arts

Founded by Suzanne Callahan in 1996, Callahan Consulting for the Arts helps artists, arts organizations and funders realize their vision through a range of services that includes strategic planning, resource development, evaluation, research, and philanthropic counsel. Callahan brings nearly 30 years' experience as a national funder, having served as Senior Specialist for the Dance Program at the National Endowment for the Arts and run national funding initiatives for Dance/USA. The firm manages the Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists program, and formerly managed Engaging Dance Audiences and a component of the NEA’s American Masterpieces program (also known as the National College Choreography Initiative), also for Dance/USA. Among its philanthropic clients have been the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Creative Capital and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. At the NEA she received a Distinguished Service Award for her leadership as Chair to the agency's AIDS Working Group and for her efforts to address the issues of AIDS and health insurance for artists.

Callahan is an author and frequent lecturer in arts evaluation at national and regional conferences. Her book Singing Our Praises: Case Studies in the Art of Evaluation, published by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, was awarded Outstanding Publication of the Year from the American Evaluation Association (AEA). Her evaluation writings have been published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy as well as the journals of national arts service organizations. Evaluations conducted by her firm have focused on the creative process and audience engagement, as well as projects involving the intersection of arts with social justice, service delivery, education, philanthropy and healthcare. Callahan has served as panelist or site visitor for numerous foundations and associations and on advisory committees for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, the Society for Arts in Healthcare and Dance Metro DC. She conceived of and produced the Dance/USA book Dance from the Campus to the Real World (and Back Again): A Resource Guide for Artists, Faculty and Students. Both of her books are used as college texts. She has been a guest lecturer at numerous universities and an adjunct professor at GWU. A constant theme in her work is introducing contemporary dance to the novice in ways that leave them comfortable and engaged with the art form.

A former dance teacher, Callahan holds an M.A. in Dance Education and a Certificate in Fundraising from George Washington University, where she also studied evaluation and anthropology, and a B.A. from Northwestern University. She has studied evaluation at The Evaluators Institute (TEI), the American Evaluation Association (AEA), the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA), and directly with some of the foremost experts in the field, including Michael Quinn Patton and Richard Krueger. She trained in facilitating communities of practice with Etienne Wenger.

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