Kennedy Center: The Art of the Turnaround

Classic Arts Features   Kennedy Center: The Art of the Turnaround
Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser's new book details ten basic rules for creating and maintaining a successful arts organization.

Arts organizations today face many challenges to fulfilling their mission: from financial planning in a volatile economy to breaking through the media overload to consumers. Fortunately, the Kennedy Center and its president, Michael M. Kaiser, are leaders in providing arts management training to individuals and organizations around the world with an emphasis on the importance of marketing, long-range artistic and business planning, and fundraising. Mr. Kaiser's motto is: "Great art, well-marketed."

Dubbed "the turnaround king," he has revived four major arts organizations during his career: Kansas City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and London's Royal Opera House.

On September 29, Michael M. Kaiser's new book, The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations, was released by Brandeis University Press.

In The Art of the Turnaround, he shares with readers his ten basic rules for bringing financially distressed arts organizations back to life and keeping them strong. These rules cover the requirements for successful leadership, the pitfalls of cost cutting, the necessity of extending the programming calendar, the centrality of effective marketing and fund raising, and the importance of focusing on the present with a positive public message. In chapters organized chronologically, Mr. Kaiser brings his ten rules vividly to life in discussions of the four arts organizations he is credited with saving. The book concludes with a chapter on his experiences at the Kennedy Center, which today exemplifies in practice many of the ten rules he discusses throughout his book.

Jeremy D. Birch is the writer/editor for Kennedy Center News.

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