Passion and Permission

Stop Asking for Permission

KCRW's The Business has a fabulous interview with Ava DuVernay (starts at 07:22), director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., biopic Selma. DuVernay transitioned from film marketing and publicity into film making, originally in small documentaries and indie films, and now a major motion picture. … [Read more...]

Arts Management in Five Minutes

Five-Minute Survey of Arts Management

The American University's Arts Management Program celebrated our 40th anniversary this week, with a grand bash of alumni, students, faculty, and friends. For the occasion, I was challenged to condense the entire Survey of Arts Management course I teach over 15 weeks into a five-minute version (okay, they asked for four minutes, but I couldn't manage it). … [Read more...]

Was that a laugh? 38¢ please!

Pay per Laugh

In a story that seems too odd to be true, a Barcelona comedy theater company has experimented with a 'pay per laugh' scheme, where entry is free, and each laugh costs you money. Each seat has a tablet computer, with facial recognition software, tracking and charging for every guffaw. You settle up the tab on the way out, or through a mobile app. … [Read more...]

Off to Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan

I'm traveling to Taipei, Taiwan, this week to speak at a symposium for performing arts designers, architects, technicians, and managers on the subject of large-scale performing arts venues. Taiwan and much of Asia is in the midst of a massive cultural construction binge (as part of a more general massive construction binge). It will be interesting to explore with them what it all means for their art, their audiences, their cities, and their work. … [Read more...]

What the wealth wants, part two


There's been lots of breathless Internet chatter about the sudden social network phenomenon, Ello. Constructed by a group of seven artists and programmers in Vermont, Ello seeks to be the anti-Facebook -- an ad-free, exploitation-free social system built on a manifesto that exclaims: "You are not a product." … [Read more...]

To send or to trash

Send it or trash it?

My local post office in DC offers a rather helpful decision point that I only just noticed today. Below the slot where you place your mail is a convenient receptacle for trash. I'm fairly confident they didn't design this as a cognitive prompt. But I'm going to take it as one, anyway. … [Read more...]

Somewhere between crude and crass

Henry Mintzberg

Management professor Henry Mintzberg has a knack for describing complex things with calm and clarity. His writing on what managers are and do seems so obvious that you can miss the point that it's completely contrary to most other management research. And while his work is accessible to anyone, it's also founded in careful observation, making it unique among popular management literature, as well. Because I enjoy his management insights, I was thrilled to find this video in which he describes the three sectors of enterprise -- private, … [Read more...]

Creative solutions to everyday problems

Theaster Gates

Artist/activist/advocate Theaster Gates offers some clear and compelling (although counter to current practice) insights about how art meets place in this interview with Carol Coletta of the Knight Foundation. While many 'placemaking' initiatives position art as beacon and bait (bold, obvious, spotlighted, central), Gates prefers local change where the "art" is small, malleable, and quietly evolving. … [Read more...]

Contracts and coalitions

Mr. Squiggles

We talk a lot in the arts about 'organizations' -- their missions, their purpose, their operations, their business models, their relationships with communities and constituents. Organizations have boards that oversee them, and executives who operate them. It's rather easy to think about an organization as a 'thing' or a material being (dare I say 'corporeal being,' since it comes from a related root to 'corporation'?). And, of course, the United States Supreme Court has thought this way more than once. … [Read more...]

What nonprofits are for

What are nonprofits for?

Lucy Bernholz asks a basic but useful question on her Philanthopy 2173 blog: What are nonprofits for? (as opposed to other forms of organization). She suggests that the answer used to be more clear. And she offers some emerging examples of legal or public dispute on the subject (YMCA v. for-profit health clubs, free software initiatives, and such). … [Read more...]