News & Events

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Kris Sinclair Leadership Award

Apply today for the the Kris Sinclair Leadership Award that is given to an ACSO member organization that demonstrates impactful leadership initiatives, which advance the goals of the Organization, including, but not limited to, finance, governance, staff development, audience development, education, and community engagement.

The award will be presented at the annual ACSO conference at which the recipient’s Leadership must be present. The winning organization will receive a cash award of $5,000 which advance the goals of the organization as stipulated in its submitted application.

Through an online application, applicant organizations must demonstrate how they have achieved recent, measurable successes applicable to the Kris Sinclair Leadership Award. Additionally, the applying Organization must demonstrate how the award funds from Kris Sinclair Leadership Award will be used to further advance the goals of the Organization. Phone interviews with finalists might be requested.

Click here for more information or to apply. The appication deadline is April 15, 2017.

Advocacy Action Alert: Support Federal Funding for the Arts

Help Save the NEA from Elimination!

Federal cultural agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) are in danger of being eliminated by the new Administration. The NEA funds nearly $10 million dollars in federal grants to California’s nonprofit arts community and serves every congressional district in our state. These funds support arts education and every artistic discipline, including classical music.

ACSO is a member of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and we sending our members an action alert to help rally national support to save the NEA.

Click here to send an instant message to your US Representative and Senators urging them to support the NEA. 

Click here to join as a free citizen member of the Action Fund to help advocate to the President to keep funding for the federal cultural agencies. 

Click here to download an advocacy sheet to share with your board and staff with key facts and how to make your voice heard.

On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, The Hill newspaper reported that the Trump Transition Team staff intend to recommend that the (then) President-elect to eliminate the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as well as privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

This proposal comes from the politically conservative Heritage Foundation and House Republican Study Committee and is expected to be included in this year’s Congressional House Budget Resolution, as it has in previous years. However, it would be much more serious if it were also proposed by the new Administration.

Legislative and executive branch action will start moving very quickly now.

Remember, advocacy is different than lobbying and your organization has the right to advocate on behalf of its constituents. Citizen participation and citizen action is essential to democracy. To learn more about differences between advocacy and lobbying, please visit the ACSO website.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact ACSO staff at or 916-484-6744.

Register now

Accepting Applications for the ACSO Consulting Services Grant Program

ACSO's Consulting Services Program provides affordable and accessible consultantations to member organizations to strengthen their organizational capacities.

Through generous support from the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, ACSO supports requests for professional consultants by member organizations in the areas of board development, organizational structure, fundraising, artistic planning, program development, marketing and audience development, financial management, and strategic/long range planning.

Click here for more information and to learn how to apply.

In Memoriam: Sue Dewar

The ACSO community mourns the loss of one its founders, Sue Dewar of Pebble Beach who died Janaury 7, 2017.

Sue, with the active participation of luminaries such as Carmen Dragon and Ernest Fleischmann, met in 1968 at Asilomar – five miles from her home – to found an organization that would be a helping hand for California’s symphony orchestras, festivals and music businesses.

Sue Dewar was a fan of the people involved in classical music and especially loved volunteers and staff members. She was eager to learn new ways to share ideas to raise money and grab the public’s attention. She had an extraordinary ability to open doors whether through an after-concert drink, a cozy luncheon at her beloved Beach Club, or a major fundraising gala. She particularly liked putting professionals together with patrons – many of whom were “tighter than an acrobat’s pants” – and see what happened. 

“One of my favorite Sue stories had to do with a tea,” said Joe Truskot, long-time executive director of the Monterey Symphony and a former ACSO president. “Sue, who was trained as a graphic designer, created a whimsical, Disney-like cartoon of a silver tea service – the invitation’s cover art. When the registration for the event turned out to be ho-hum, Sue went into action. She created a coloring contest. She enlarged her black and white drawing and took copies to Clint Eastwood, her cartoonist friends Hank Ketcham, Gus Arriola, Bill Bates; artist Will Bullas; as many politicians as she could find and asked them to get out their crayons. Wisely, she included several community benefactors (read: deep pockets). She knew these folks all had admirers in town who in order to gain favor would buy their work. The tea broke even, but the coloring contest brought in several thousand dollars.” 

Having touched many people during her life in Monterey County, Sue Dewar – an independent and free spirit – will be fondly remembered. Our condolences go to Rod, her husband of many years, and to the folks in our business whom she adopted as her children.  

(Photo of Sue with her husband Rod)

Ask an Expert Webinar: Social Media to Reach and Engage Your Audience

Does your orchestra have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and feel you're not using it effectively to reach targeted populations? Join Anne Longmore, director of marketing at the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and a public relations professor at Humber College in this 75-minute online learning program to discuss social media strategies and goals to help you reach engage those audiences.

Register at: