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.
I had the privilege recently to attend a dance festival a bit different from the norm -- not one produced by an established organization, or part of a regional effort, or one of the well known dance festivals found in nearby New York City
Working with so many arts organizations that are facing financial challenges, I often hear board and staff discussion about the need for a mega-gift. "If only we had an angel" is a common refrain in the boardrooms of troubled institutions.
As I count down the number of days left until I leave the Kennedy Center, I am getting nostalgic about my entire career. No one producing arts organization has had a bigger impact on my life than the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Known for its mix of classical ballet and modern dance, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was founded in 1958 by Alvin Ailey, during a time when African-Americans had little access to classical dance.
We hear so much about a few, high profile arts bankruptcies that the conventional wisdom has it that every arts organization is in trouble. This has repercussions for all of us who manage, or care about, arts organizations.
I have been anxious about the precarious nature of this country's arts organizations of color; it is ironic that while minorities are becoming a majority and playing increasingly important political roles, arts organizations of color are at a low ebb.
Over a period of years, I found that the earned income ratio has lost its place in the pantheon of useful arts management concepts and was rarely discussed by board members or arts managers. But recently, the concept is making a comeback.
What is especially exciting is that the rationale for the Center has little to do with the millions of people who travel to Las Vegas every year to enjoy the hotels, gambling and shows for which Las Vegas has become famous.