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Michael Kaiser

Michael Kaiser

Posted: December 27, 2010 08:01 AM

My New Year's Resolutions

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This is the season to make resolutions for the coming year. Here are mine:

1. I resolve to work diligently to ensure that Any Given Child, the Kennedy Center's new approach to providing coherent and consistent arts education in public schools, grows from a pilot project into a fully-developed national program. We are testing this program in four cities and have invitations to begin work in 40 more communities. I am convinced that if we proceed intelligently, we can create a far more robust arts education system for our children. I will find the resources to fund a sustainable expansion of this program.

2. I resolve to maintain boldness in the artistic choices I make for the Kennedy Center. While there is pressure to program conservatively to maximize ticket income and contributions, I know that if I get too conservative I will bore my audience and my donors. I resolve to surprise my audience when I announce each coming season.

3. I resolve to find a way to bring more 20 year olds into the arts. We have a generation of young people who have not had arts education in their schooling. They believe the arts are "not for them." If we don't do remedial work to interest them in the arts, we may not have the ticket buyers, donors, volunteers and board members we need 20 years from now.

4. I resolve to bring our arts management training to more of the world. The entire world of the arts is threatened by an absence of strong arts leaders. Particularly in foreign countries where governments are cutting their funding, sometimes substantially, arts managers are desperate for ideas to generate new sources of revenue. I have been teaching abroad for many years and have created an international fellows program, but I need to do more. I will begin with a teaching tour to five African countries in February.

5. At the same time, I believe we must work to improve access to the arts in rural American communities. I learned on my national tour that there is tremendous interest in the arts in every community in this country. We need to ensure that the arts are not just available to urban dwellers. Those organizations that service rural communities need support and training. And we need to study how technology can play a bigger role in helping bring arts and arts education to all Americans. I resolve to work with the staff of the Kennedy Center on this important issue.

6. Speaking of technology, we must make sure that we develop techniques for using it to improve arts knowledge, reach more people, diversify our audiences and reduce the cost of programmatic marketing -- the marketing we do to sell tickets. I believe we have only scratched the surface in the use of the internet and other technologies. I resolve to devote time towards working with those with far more knowledge than I have about ways to use these technologies to advance our work.

It will be a busy year!