Kaiser: Not time for arts cutbacks

August 12, 2009
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Representatives from most of the area's professional arts organizations -- plus other interested parties -- gathered yesterday at Butler for a Q&A session with Kennedy Center chief Michael Kaiser. It was the latest stop on his 50 state Arts in Crisis tour (more information on his travels and the initiative here.) I had the pleasure of moderating the discussion.

Kaiser -- who led turnarounds for the troubled American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, and London's Royal Opera House -- preached that success comes from quality art plus strong marketing. He stressed multi-year planning and suggested strategies for strengthening boards while strongly urged companies not to cut back on programming. Rather than hunker down and only offer the familiar, he argued that this is the time for bold, attention-getting choices.

So did you hear Kaiser's comments (which are encapsulated in his well-written book "The Art of the Turnaround.")? If so, what did you find applicable to Indy? What didn't sit right with you?

Even if you didn't go, feel free to chime in with your comments on how Indy arts groups are facing the challenges of a tough economy.

Your thoughts?
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