‘Help!’ ~ art management calling

Recently, the Washington Post published an article ‘No Bailout for the Arts?’ by Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, US.

It addresses the need for government grants for the arts, while acknowledging the art industry’s costly infrastructure. It also points out the uplifting spirits of the arts, much needed in the financially challenged lives of Americans today.

Take note!

Art Management Crisis

“While government bailouts are being offered or considered for financial institutions, the auto industry, homeowners, and so many other needy and worthy sectors, one group is quickly and rather quietly falling apart: our nation’s arts organizations. In the past few months, dozens of opera companies, theater companies, dance organizations, museums and symphonies have either closed or suffered major cash crises. …” Michael Kaiser says.

As someone who has made a career out of fixing troubled organizations, Kaiser realizes that the problems faced by arts groups are often related to poor management and governance. “I also know that the difficulty in improving productivity in the arts is a central cause of our financial challenges: It takes as much time to play Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony today as it did when the piece was composed.” he said. It is a challenge indeed.

Need for Government Grant

Kaiser clarifies that both government subsidies or grants as well as private contributions are now more than ever needed to help arts foundations balance their budgets.

“Well-managed arts organizations have typically been able to find the money required to operate if they create interesting programs, market them aggressively and build strong donor bases.” But these times are different, and help is needed for all, he argues.

Arts Support In Practical Ways

Michael Kaiser is an expert in his field. He established the Kennedy Center Arts Management Institute to offer advanced training for young arts administrators and has developed a series of programs to help train others in the field.

Arts Management: Help Yourself!

Just past September Kaiser published an actually readable book on the topic: “The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations“. This book takes you through his process and philosophy for turning companies around. It has been well received ~ said to be the best book on administration in the arts.

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