Learning Labs

Learning Labs are professional development sessions designed to meet the creative, reflective, and learning needs of art makers, cultural workers, and creative practitioners. They provide insightful and practical tools about management, emerging issues, and leading research in the arts and cultural nonprofit field.

Through an aspirational yet tactical approach, Learning Labs do more than check off boxes for learning and professional development; they provide opportunities to start new conversations about arts + culture nonprofit management and continue discussing solutions for challenges faced across the sector.

2024 PROGRAMMING- to be announced

2023 PROGRAMMING. Download the Program Brochure -> each session available On-Demand ->

  • Deep Listening: How Human-Centered Design Can Help You Listen to What Your Community Needs
  • Brand Strategy & Storytelling for Arts + Culture Nonprofits
  • Roadmap To Enacting Pay Equity And Transparency In Nonprofits
  • Proposal Writing: How To Build A Successful Case


The Arts & Business Council of Chicago is a small-sized nonprofit. We receive partial funding from foundations and generate income from what individuals and organizations pay for our programs. Our rates enable us to provide high-quality programs, pay employees and content experts, and offer a mix of higher-paying and lower-paying payment levels.

In 2023, we shifted from charging a flat $35 ticket fee to a “pay-what-you-can” model to make our learning programs affordable and more accessible. As we navigate this new model, we encourage you to discover our new programming rates and explore professional development funding opportunities that might be available to you through your job or any other source.


  • Bold and aspirational: Culturally aware and responsive
  • Learning by doing: Engaged pedagogy
  • Peer learning environment: Emphasis on conversations and collective efforts


  • Nonprofit staff
  • Cultural workers
  • Creative entrepreneurs or practitioners
  • Arts administrators
  • Art makers
  • Individuals working in a creative industry or organization


  • Be part of an inquiry-based, enriching conversation, and go from ideas to action
  • Expand and strengthen your knowledge and skillset to include strategy, influence, negotiation, creative decision-making, communications, and branding
  • Join a dynamic network of arts, cultural, creative, and business leaders
  • Receive recordings from sessions and supporting materials


Our peer-to-peer approach encourages participants to learn in community and in a purpose-driven way. A typical session consists of guided discussions, theoretical grounding, discussion-based activities, and time for networking.

Learning Labs are individual sessions.

If you are looking for a board governance program, check out our On BOARD program.


A&BC reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule any Lab for which registrants will receive a full refund.

In the event of a registered individual’s cancellation, A&BC will retain an administrative fee of 30% of the cost of the Lab. No refunds are issued for cancellations within 72 hours of the event. No refunds are issued for “no shows.” Registration fees are not transferable. This allows A&BC to plan for event capacity and keep costs affordable.