Tips for tough times: focus must stay on the art

Posted on: December 7, 2010

In Sunday’s (12/5) St. Petersburg Times (Florida), John Fleming writes, “When Michael Kaiser comes to town, it’s a good news/bad news sort of thing. Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., is known as ‘the turnaround king’ for his work with troubled arts organizations, so he doesn’t usually show up when things are going great. But the good news is that Kaiser has a savvy outsider’s perspective and a wealth of ideas that may help an organization. The Florida Orchestra brought Kaiser to the Tampa Bay area for two days in November, and he met with the orchestra’s board, management and musicians. … The purpose of the meeting was rather vague, but Kaiser’s main message came through loud and clear. No matter how bad the financial problems of an arts organization are, its primary focus must be on the art, not the money. … The Kennedy Center president makes several points that are well worth keeping in mind as the organization seeks to revitalize itself,” among them that, as Fleming puts it, “you cannot save your way to health,” and big visionary projects get donors and the greater community excited.

Posted December 7, 2010