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Devos Institute

Ailey in Opelika

Michael Kaiser | Posted 03.02.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

A remarkably diverse audience fell under the Ailey spell. By the end of Revelations, the entire community was cheering as one and demanding an encore.

Organizational Culture

Michael Kaiser | Posted 02.23.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

While those who study organizational development and psychology have developed myriad ways to analyze the culture of institutions, I have my own simplistic way of evaluating culture: I find some organizations are fun to work with and others are not.

Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill

Michael Kaiser | Posted 02.17.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

It is not necessarily true that there is more going on than there was 20 years ago, but there certainly is far more information directed at all of us, constantly, and without pause. All of this makes it harder for arts institutions to gain recognition for the work they do.

Executive Committees

Michael Kaiser | Posted 02.09.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

The Executive Committee is also a place to "try out" ideas without subjecting them to full board scrutiny. Discussions about board dues, new programming ideas, even new trustees, can help the arts manager discern how the full board may react to a new idea.

Let Artists Dream

Michael Kaiser | Posted 02.02.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

When artists stop dreaming and begin to plan to a budget, they are doomed. The greatest works of art emerged from an artist's vision, unaffected by concerns about budget.

Clarity

Michael Kaiser | Posted 01.26.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Lack of clarity as a leader results from lack of clarity in the plan going forward. Initiating a comprehensive planning effort can help the imprecise arts manager develop a clear game plan and eliminate a great deal of unnecessary discomfort within the organization.

Marek Vrabec

Michael Kaiser | Posted 01.19.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Over the past 25 years, I have spent a great deal of time teaching arts managers, and I can attest that there is nothing as satisfying as having a student take what was learned in class and apply it with creativity and individual flair in their own lives and careers.

Making a MOOC

Michael Kaiser | Posted 01.12.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course. It allows a teacher to have access to an unlimited number of students who participate in online training; the students watch videos, read assignments and take exams.

Sticking One's Head in the Sand

Michael Kaiser | Posted 01.05.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

It is indeed true that there is less demand for classical music than there was in recent decades, that it is harder to balance our budgets and that numerous orchestras (and other arts institutions) are likely to disappear in the coming decades. This does not mean that every institution is doomed nor that classical music will not be available in the future.

Heroic Donors

Michael Kaiser | Posted 02.14.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

While there certainly is an element of luck involved when searching for these heroic few, the organizations that have built a cadre of dedicated supporters almost always have a few who simply cannot imagine the organization going away and are willing to put their resources where their passion resides.

Teaching Abroad

Michael Kaiser | Posted 02.07.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

The arts environment is deeply challenging here in the United States, but it is more so in other countries where government funding is falling, sometimes precipitously.

Young Patrons Groups

Michael Kaiser | Posted 01.31.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Arts organizations must work tirelessly to engage more and more people, to entice them to attend performances and exhibitions, to make it fun and interesting to become donors and volunteers, and to interest them in a long-term relationship with the organization.

What I Am Giving Thanks for This Year

Michael Kaiser | Posted 01.24.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

I am grateful to the many patrons who continue to support their favorite arts institutions, especially those who are willing to risk the most when things are at their worst.

A Tale of Two Cities

Michael Kaiser | Posted 01.17.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Seattle lost a vital theater company when the Balagan Theatre announced on September 24 that it was permanently suspending operations.

No News Is Bad News

Michael Kaiser | Posted 01.10.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

I am a voracious consumer of arts news; I read as many news stories, reviews and features as I can in newspapers, websites and other electronic outlets. Yet, as a new arts season has begun, I have been struck by the nature of the arts coverage that I have been reading.

The Planning Committee

Michael Kaiser | Posted 01.03.2015 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Developing a potent strategic plan is not easy. Simply survey a large sample of plans for arts organizations, and one will find a bland sameness to mo...

The Search for Continuity

Michael Kaiser | Posted 12.27.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

If arts organizations did far more thorough and forward-looking strategic plans, ones that really anticipated the world in which the organization was going to operate, we could provide our artists and donors and board members and audiences the continuity they desire.

City By City: Variations In The Arts Ecology

Michael Kaiser | Posted 12.20.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

If the highest quality arts are to be accessible to everyone, after all, some of these regional differences must be eliminated in the coming years.

Needed: Arts Management Mentors

Michael Kaiser | Posted 12.14.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

There is a great deal of discussion about the need for building tomorrow's audiences if the arts world is to survive. In response, most arts institutions devote substantial efforts to arts education and audience development programs.

Brava Joan Weill!

Michael Kaiser | Posted 12.06.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

An ideal board, of course, requires an ideal chair: someone who has the wisdom and passion and collaborative spirit and leadership skills to run the board and coordinate with the artistic and administrative staff.

Strife (Again) at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Michael Kaiser | Posted 11.29.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has joined the growing list of arts institutions that have locked out (or threatened to lock out) its artists unless substantial wage concessions can be obtained. In each case, management believes that large deficits will only be erased if costs are reduced substantially.

Crisis in Europe

Michael Kaiser | Posted 11.22.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

The Concertgebouw is considered by many to be the finest orchestra in the world; Is it really possible that a world treasure will be forced to close? Did anyone see this coming?

In Search of Balance

Michael Kaiser | Posted 11.15.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

A few weeks ago, a seasoned arts professional called me "the patron saint of artistic directors." He did not mean it as a compliment.

The DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland

Michael Kaiser | Posted 11.08.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

The major problems facing the arts today are not the lack of great artists but the dearth of sophisticated planning, marketing, fundraising and board development skills.

Settling at the Met

Michael Kaiser | Posted 11.02.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Anyone who cares about the arts must be happy that this great institution will open its new season this month. But did the remarkable firestorm surrounding these negotiations do enough to stabilize the Metropolitan Opera?