Steven A. Wolff

Principal

Steven is the founding Principal of AMS Planning & Research Corp. and AMS Analytics LLC. He works from the firm’s Connecticut headquarters. For 30 years, Steven has provided counsel to arts, culture and entertainment enterprises on strategic initiatives, the planning and development of more than $11 billion in new and renovated capital facilities, and arts industry research.

Steven is a leading industry thinker and speaker exploring topics from the role of ‘anchor cultural institutions’ to ‘re-thinking success’ for 21st century arts and cultural enterprises. He was awarded the ACQ5 Global Award as US Gamechanger of the Year in 2017 and 2018. In both years, the firm was also recognized as US Niche Planning Consultancy of the Year.

What is most significant about the work that you do?
Arts, culture and entertainment are a key part of what makes vibrant communities. Our work on diverse projects from the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts REACH expansion in Washington, DC to the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City demonstrates how civic facilities can engage community, enable broad participation and drive public value.

Where is the greatest opportunity for the sector today?
From master planning the re-imagination of Vancouver’s Granville Island to re-defining purpose at mature producing companies like A.C.T. in San Francisco and Washington’s Arena Stage, our opportunity is to thoughtfully guide our clients as they change and adapt to thrive in the 21st century and to demonstrate the many benefits; personal, social and economic that our sector delivers.

Who are your most recent clients?
I have the good fortune to work with many leading institutions from emerging companies including Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples, Florida and The Perelman Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, to the established like the Denver Center for Performing Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Each and every client brings a new opportunity to demonstrate how vital and entangled institutions can succeed through thoughtful planning, careful development and a commitment to strong values.

How do you incorporate EDIA into your work at AMS?
The arts and culture sector is comprised of institutions that foster creativity, human connection and civic engagement. They are ideal leaders to engage EDIA and social justice.  As a consultant to these important institutions, it is my job to support and guide these enterprises to think compassionately and strategically about people, programming, and spaces. The goal is to maximize their service and contribution to inclusive, vibrant and vital communities.

From early thinking about strategies to “invite, welcome and retain” expanded and diversified audiences, to our active efforts through the AMS Pathways to Consulting Fellowship, our team embraces the call for change in all of our work; internally and externally. Personally, I have served as a board member of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation which is committed to closing the opportunity gap, right here at home, by bringing together passionate people and trusted resources. Together, we strive to better ourselves, our understanding of others, and support the field and our clients in these important discussions.

What do you do in your spare time?
For a decade I was on the faculty at the Yale School of Drama (2008 – 2017). I also have the privilege of serving on the boards of arts, educational and community not-for-profit organizations. And, oh, I love to sail and ski.

 

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