Let’s file this in the “better late than never” folder

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts president Michael Kaiser‘s name has come up in several stories about the Louisville Orchestra. The musicians had tried to get Kaiser to visit Louisville to share his knowledge about running arts organizations.  Kaiser has turned around other ensembles, and it was thought that his insights would help the orchestra. The management and the musicians never agreed on Kaiser’s visit, and it didn’t happen. But late last month, Kaiser wrote a column for the Huffington Post.

It’s called What I Want for Christmas. Here are some highlights:

1. Board members of arts organization who remember their missions. While most arts organizations have missions that relate to bringing arts and arts education to their communities, many board members really believe that the missions of their organizations are to break even. They believe that cutting budgets and doing less is satisfactory as long as the budget is balanced.

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2. Arts leaders who focus on training the next generation of arts leaders. We are nearing a dangerous point when an entire generation of arts leaders will retire.

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3. Political leaders to remember that almost 6 million Americans are employed in the arts, that we are a main motivator of tourism and that we generate billions of dollars of economic activity.

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4. Superintendants of schools, school board members and principals who remember that we live in an economy far different from the one when they were in school.

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5. Arts organizations that are willing to work together on projects of great impact that surprise and enchant our communities. We are far too competitive with each other. Yet in many communities, we have failed to create broad visibility for our collective work. This hampers our fundraising and ticket selling activities.

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