THE BLOG
11/24/2014 08:48 am ET Updated Jan 24, 2015

What I Am Giving Thanks for This Year

This has been a momentous year in my life, and I have a great deal to be thankful for.

I am thankful for having had almost 14 years as President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and for the artists, crew, staff members, board members and patrons who made my tenure so rewarding and fun. I received a bounty of kind notes, honors and gifts as I departed, none so meaningful as the lifetime honorary membership card from I.A.T.S.E. Local 22. The Kennedy Center has a wonderful new president now, Deborah Rutter, and I am lucky to continue to live in Washington, D.C., so I can enjoy the programming she creates.

I am deeply grateful to my colleagues at the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, especially my partner Brett Egan, who work tirelessly each day to ensure that we offer the highest quality educational and consulting programs that address the needs of our many clients from Croatia to Miami, Ho Chi Minh City to San Jose. The commitment and skill of the DeVos Institute staff has made our transition to the University of Maryland so seamless. And the DeVos Institute Board, led by Betsy and Dick DeVos, our remarkable patrons, has provided the leadership and direction we needed to make our big move.

Of course, this transition would not have happened at all without the enlightened leadership of the University of Maryland, especially its President, Wallace Loh, who gave us such a warm welcome and a wonderful new home. The facilities and resources available to us are extraordinary: a superb faculty, remarkable technical capabilities, and a dedicated staff. The only challenge we face is how to best utilize all that is now available to us.

The many funders who have stayed loyal to the DeVos Institute through our transition deserve special mention: the Ford Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, Knight Foundation and Kresge Foundation, and too many others to name have continued their investment in our work. Their support makes our work possible, and their belief in us makes our work enjoyable.

I am grateful to my clients who continue to teach me daily and who work so creatively to find new solutions to difficult problems. I learn far more from them than they learn from me. From El Museo del Barrio to the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Park Avenue Armory to the National YoungArts Foundation, I am consistently challenged and inspired by my clients.

Last, but certainly not least, 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. As someone who has made a career of turnarounds, I know that without the passion, generosity and commitment of these very best friends, most turnarounds simply could not happen.

It isn't an easy time for anyone who cares deeply about the arts, but there is still much to be thankful for.

Have a wonderful holiday.