The Playgoer: Quote of the Day

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Quote of the Day

Kennedy Center's Michael Kaiser--usually a champion of the Arts Management side--has an epiphany:

Over the past 25 years, I have bristled when anyone says or writes that arts administrators have taken over the arts and that artistic initiatives are taking a back seat to financial concerns. I feel slighted. My work, and the work of my fellow arts managers, after all, is aimed at finding the resources necessary to allow the artists to do their work. If we are not successful, there will be neither the donors nor the audiences required to fund the artists.

But I must admit that the more I travel around the nation and the world, the more I realize that money concerns truly have begun to overwhelm artistic decisions in too many arts organizations. The fear that the organization will not survive has driven many arts organizations to produce safer, more accessible, and, unfortunately, more boring art, especially in this current economic downturn.

This is a deeply scary phenomenon. If arts organizations do not take risk, they cannot create the next great work of art. If not-for-profit arts organizations begin to think like for-profit entertainment companies, we will not produce the next generation of great playwrights, composers, artists and choreographers.

And inconclusion, lest you still doubt what he really thinks...
We need our artists to be thinking expansively, to be challenging themselves to be truly creative and to be challenging their administrators to find the resources required. But boards and administrative staffs have bullied their artists and dulled their creative impulses.

Maybe money is taking over the arts after all.
Amen, brother. Hope you can convince the rest of your field.

1 comment:

Parabasis said...

What was the ticket price for the *staged readings* of August Wilson plays at the Kennedy Center again?

I guess it's nice that Kaiser has caught up to where the rest of us have been for a decade now.

I shouldn't complain, I know, I know, it's nice to have someone in a position of power who gets it, and to have two (him and Rocco) is great.

I also don't know how this problem will be solved by his bold call for more middle managers for theatre.