Point of View

Kennedy Center C.E.O. Visits Miami
December 23, 2009, 7:30 pm
Filed under: At the Center, Education

On December 10th, one hundred and fifty nonprofit professionals, arts educators and community leaders gathered in the Carnival Studio Theater at the Ziff Ballet Opera House to listen to Michael Kaiser, the president of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, talk about the challenges facing non-profit performing arts organizations today.  Mr. Kaiser is currently on a cross-country tour presenting “Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative,” an arts management symposium that addresses fundraising, budgeting, marketing and building more effective boards of trustees in difficult economic times.  “Each locality is dealing with its own unique and specific challenges, and there is no better way to understand each region than through in-person visits,” says Kaiser. “Communicating in person allows us to be more effective in advising organizations in need.”

Michael Kaiser; Photo by Mitchell Zachs

The morning began with a meet-and-greet breakfast in the Peacock Foundation Studio that provided a relaxed networking opportunity for the artists, administrators, educators and community members in attendance.  The crowd then transitioned to the Carnival Studio Theater for the interview and Q&A session with Mr. Kaiser.  Dennis Scholl, Miami Program Director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation was the interviewer for the presentation, and skillfully guided the program with his own questions as well as questions submitted to the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE) blog for this discussion. 

Drawing on years of experiences and numerous successes with turning around arts organizations, Mr. Kaiser stressed the need for continued commitment to the artistic product and smart short-term planning that keeps in mind what is needed for long-term success.  The Q&A session gave audience members a chance to get perspective on topics that directly affect the South Florida community and included inquiries about supply and demand for arts in this community and ways to engage and retain board members.

The “Arts in Crisis” event was organized in conjunction with the FAAE, a state wide organization that unites educators, artists, community leaders, concerned citizens, arts education organizations, arts institutions and corporate partners to ensure Florida’s students a complete education that includes the arts.  “This is a much-needed initiative—especially now,” says Susan Burke, executive director of FAAE. 

(L-R) John Richard, Dennis Scholl and Michael Kaiser; Photo by Mitchell Zachs

(L-R) John Richard, Dennis Scholl, Michael Kaiser


The Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative is funded by Adrienne Arsht and Helen Lee Henderson and will take Mr. Kaiser to all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. 

For more information on the initiative, visit www.artsincrisis.org.


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