2020 Laura Zucker Fellow
Nahal Jalali is a visual artist, writer, and strategy consultant focused on advancing social change through the arts. She is currently working on finalizing her first book on the intersection of art and public policy. The book is a collection of more than twenty accessible and compelling stories illustrating the benefits of arts and cultural programs across a variety of sectors, locations, and issue areas. Nahal is also a Senior Consultant in Deloitte’s Government and Public Services practice where she advises public and social sector clients on innovation, strategic growth, and social impact strategy.
Prior to joining Deloitte Nahal served as a Deloitte Data Analytics Fellow, a Research Assistant for Georgetown University’s Initiative on Innovation, Development, and Economics (GUI2DE), and as the Communications Specialist for a nonprofit organization managing more than fifty development projects across India and Nepal. Nahal earned her Master's in Public Policy from Georgetown University where she wrote her graduate thesis on individual preferences for public funding of the arts in the United States. She also has a personal ceramic arts practice and is a member of the CLAY CA studio in Chinatown.
The arts — and artists in particular — are increasingly brought into non-arts organizations to offer fresh perspectives and incubate creative solutions to cross-sector challenges. This trend largely builds off a growing body of thought that artists possess a range of creative skills, beyond the production
of tangible artwork, that help organizations understand their challenges differently, generate innovative solutions, engage deeply and meaningfully with community, and advance social policies and outcomes. While these roles exist across different types of organizations, this study focuses specifically on municipalities. After all, in the landscape of government, it is local institutions that are often the first point of connection for most people, charged with delivering core essential services and functions, and most directly connected to daily lived experience.
At the municipal level, integrating artists into local government in a strategic capacity can manifest in many forms, including artist-in-residence (AIR) programs. These are typically part-time, or contract-based roles that position artists as strategists in various non-art departments or agencies to help infuse creative problem solving around a specific set of challenges. In addition to benefitting municipalities, these roles also support artists by creating a new and diversified set of employment opportunities and career pathways.