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Arts Management

A Tale of Two Cities

Michael Kaiser | Posted 11.17.2014 | 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 11.10.2014 | 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 11.03.2014 | 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 10.27.2014 | 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 10.20.2014 | 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 10.14.2014 | 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.

Strife (Again) at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Michael Kaiser | Posted 09.29.2014 | 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.

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?

Farewell to the Kennedy Center

Michael Kaiser | Posted 10.25.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

This is my last week as President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It has been a remarkable honor to serve in this position for ...

Moving Side Show to Broadway

Michael Kaiser | Posted 10.18.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Whenever a show makes this big move it is a cause for celebration. It suggests that the producing theaters created something of value, something that for-profit producers believe will be of interest to a far wider audience than any single regional theater can reach.

Creative Identity Series: Half-Brained Leadership & Religiosity True Culprits of Arts Crisis

Jade Simmons | Posted 10.13.2014 | Arts
Jade Simmons

Truth is, most arts organizations and most artists do not need more funding. They need more creativity.

A Trip to the MUNY

Michael Kaiser | Posted 10.11.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

It is easy to get depressed about the future of the arts in America when one reads countless stories of arts institutions facing large deficits, lockouts and strikes, and even closure.

The Mid-Sized Gift

Michael Kaiser | Posted 10.04.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

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.

Employing Celebrities

Michael Kaiser | Posted 09.27.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Summer is a good time to think through all the celebrities your board, staff and artists know or have worked with and think about ways to use one or two in the upcoming season.

The Grass Is Always Greener

Michael Kaiser | Posted 09.20.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

The American View: It would be so great to be working in a European arts institution. After all, those organizations get such a large portion of their budget from the government. The European View: It would be so great to work in an American arts organization. Everyone there is used to giving to the arts.

Talking with the Press

Michael Kaiser | Posted 09.13.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Too many talented arts executives - whose organizations have achieved a great deal under their leadership - fail to promote their organizations succes...

My Crew

Michael Kaiser | Posted 09.06.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

The men and women who run the shows, move the sets, carry the props, light the lights, manage the sound, dress the performers and on and on are among my favorite colleagues in every arts job I have held and the Kennedy Center is no exception.

Start Spreading the News

Michael Kaiser | Posted 08.30.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Send a clear, concise well-formatted email that focuses on highlights from the season, including some photographs, to donors (and key prospects), volunteers, board members, subscribers and key press. This is a very inexpensive and easy way to celebrate the year just finished.

What Makes a Plan Strategic?

Michael Kaiser | Posted 08.23.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

While many arts institutions may have the same general goals (sell more tickets, raise more money, etc.) the path to achieving these goals will differ markedly from one organization to another.

The Building Boom

Michael Kaiser | Posted 08.09.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

I have written frequently about the dangers of erecting a new building before an arts institution is really ready for the drain of time, money and foc...

Financial Literacy

Michael Kaiser | Posted 08.02.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Too many arts managers are not comfortable with financial concepts and data. They can create an operational budget that adds up correctly, but have little knowledge of the workings of the stock and bond markets, the implications of interest rate movements, or of recent economic activity.

The Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts

Michael Kaiser | Posted 07.27.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

I have learned that we cannot simply impress donors and audience members by showing them the great level of accomplishment of our artistic and educational endeavors.

Double Vision

Michael Kaiser | Posted 07.19.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Without a clear picture of the art and other programs that will be mounted in the future, the organization cannot achieve its mission, cannot build an audience or donor base and, frankly, is of little value. Arts organizations, after all, exist to produce art.