In Search of Balance | Michael Kaiser

September 15, 2014 1:04 PM

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A few weeks ago, a seasoned arts professional called me "the patron saint of artistic directors." He did not mean it as a compliment. He suggested that my focus on creating important, exciting art had empowered artistic directors to spend what they wanted regardless of the capabilities of their organizations to pay for it. I had made life difficult for executive directors, he implied, when their artistic counterparts would say, "But Michael Kaiser says we should mount large artistic projects."

It is true that I believe the most important requirement for financial stability is creating exciting programming on a consistent basis. Those institutions that produce uninteresting work year after year have a far harder time building and maintaining the audiences and the donor bases they need to s...

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