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Arts Management

In Search of Balance

Michael Kaiser | Posted 09.15.2014 | 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 09.08.2014 | 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 09.02.2014 | 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 08.25.2014 | 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 08.18.2014 | 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 08.13.2014 | 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 08.11.2014 | 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 08.04.2014 | 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 07.28.2014 | 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.

A Valedictory

Michael Kaiser | Posted 07.12.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

A serious effort must be made to engage people in their 20s and 30s today, to make the case for the importance of our arts institutions, to make it fun and rewarding to participate as a donor.

My Last Board Meeting

Michael Kaiser | Posted 07.05.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

While board members bring their knowledge and experience from other ventures to the board room, this experience is not always transferable. Knowing how to market banks, soap or computers does not mean one knows how to market opera, for example.

Partners in Education Week

Michael Kaiser | Posted 06.28.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

These are people who are fighting on the front lines of arts education: teachers, administrators, arts managers who are united in the belief that a solid arts education is a crucial component of a comprehensive curriculum.

The Need for Arts Journalists

Michael Kaiser | Posted 05.31.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

Arts journalists keep those of us who run arts organizations honest. They question us when they believe our offerings are too timid, too easy, too glib.

Angels or Devils

Michael Kaiser | Posted 05.24.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

There is one reason that a subset of arts organizations are facing difficulties that can and must be avoided at all cost: the loss of one, incredibly important donor whose gifts were so large that the organization does not know how to move forward without them.

Getting the Most From Your Most Potent Board Members

Michael Kaiser | Posted 05.10.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

As virtually every arts organization tries to improve their fundraising results, the pressure to get help from board members becomes a priority. And yet, try as they might, I find that many arts managers find it difficult, and often impossible, to get board members to assist, actively, in the fundraising effort.

The Balancing Act of the Executive Director

Michael Kaiser | Posted 05.03.2014 | Arts
Michael Kaiser

There are numerous skills and qualities an executive director of an arts organization should possess, but my experience over the past 28 years suggests the most important quality is the ability to balance many needs, demands and requirements.