Diane Ragsdale | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Diane Ragsdale

Portrait of Diane Ragsdale


Director of Master of Arts in Creative Leadership
MFA, University of Missouri–Kansas City
BS and BFA, Theater from Tulane University

Diane Ragsdale, MFA, is a speaker, writer, researcher, lecturer, and advisor on a range of arts and culture topics, having given nearly 80 keynote addresses, lectures, or presentations at universities, arts conferences, and symposia around the world.

From 2017–20 Ragsdale was an assistant professor at The New School in Manhattan, where she successfully launched and directed a one-of-a-kind MA in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship for performance-based artists. At The New School she also designed, secured funding for, and launched a new graduate minor in Creative Community Development in collaboration with Parsons School of Design and the Milano School of Policy, Management and Environment.

Ragsdale serves as Director of the Cultural Leadership Program at Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity in Canada and as adjunct faculty at Yale University, where she teaches a workshop on Aesthetic Values in a Changed Cultural Context. She is also a part-time doctoral candidate at Erasmus University Rotterdam, where she was a lecturer from 2011–15 in the cultural economics and sociology of the arts programs. Her doctoral research concerns the relationship between the commercial and nonprofit theater in the US. 

Ragsdale authors the blog, Jumper, on ArtsJournal.com, wrote the 2012 field report In the Intersection: Partnerships in the New Play Sector, and has penned several essays, including:  “To What End Permanence,” for A Moment on the Clock of the World (Haymarket 2019) and “Post-Show” for the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Audiences and the Performing Arts

Before her career in higher education, Ragsdale oversaw all theater and dance grantmaking at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York, was the managing director of On the Boards, a contemporary performing arts center in Seattle, and executive director of a destination music festival in Sandpoint, Idaho

She holds an MFA in Acting & Directing from University of Missouri–Kansas City, and a BS in Psychology and BFA in Theater from Tulane University. She was part of Stanford University’s inaugural Executive Program for Nonprofit Arts Leaders, produced in partnership with National Arts Strategies. Among others, she is on the board of Anne Bogart's SITI Company.