Take This Job and Love It!


I've just been hired as the Interim Managing Director of Arizona Theatre Company. The announcement was made the Tuesday morning following the Labor Day holiday.  As expected, this was news in both Tucson and Phoenix, as ATC is the only LORT (League of Resident Theatres) company that operates in two cities. Two weeks into the job, I find myself haunted by a question posed by a well-meaning reporter who called upon hearing the news of my … [Read more...]

A Beautiful Ritual


A simple observation from the proceedings of the FIFA World Cup:  Upon entering the stadium, each team is accompanied by a phalanx of children - each holding hands with a player. It's a beautiful ritual. To the child, it's a beautiful opportunity to stand upon one of the greatest of world stages and feel the energy as some of the world's most elite athletes prepare to perform at the highest of levels.  I don't know how they're selected, or … [Read more...]

Not Just Bad for Business

Dear Arizona

Though I love my home state, these are not proud days to be an Arizona resident. I'm talking, of course, about Senate Bill 1062, the so-called "right-to-refuse-service" legislation that has recently passed our State Senate and House of Representatives - and is currently awaiting the sign/veto decision of Governor Jan Brewer. Over the past few days, there's been an impressive roll call of leaders of business, tourism, economic development, … [Read more...]

The Great Hibernation is Over


Economists appear to have concluded that the "Great Recession" that began in December, 2007 officially ended in June, 2009. So, what shall we in the arts & cultural sector call the pro-longed period of hunkered-down existence that we've endured ever since? For more than six years, we've persevered in the face of withered philanthropy, slashed public funding, preempted corporate sponsorship and the contraction of consumer spending. We - our … [Read more...]

On Reporters and PR People

Kyle Lawson

One of the most beloved and respected people in the arts & cultural community of Phoenix, Arizona is Kyle Lawson. Beginning in 1977, and for more than 30 years, Kyle wrote about arts and entertainment in Arizona, first at the Scottsdale Progress, then The Phoenix Gazette, and finally The Arizona Republic. He was awarded the very first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Arizona Governor's Commission on the Arts and a similar award from the … [Read more...]

The Drive to Audience Avenue


Please let me invite you to visit the new and just-launched website of my company, Audience Avenue:  www.AudienceAvenue.com. If your priority is audience-building, then you'll be happy to find a central location for new ideas, practical applications, important resources and the connection of similarly interested people from throughout the arts & cultural sector.  In my hopes & dreams, this is the first step toward the idea of a Massive … [Read more...]

Resolutions for a Happy New (Fiscal) Year!


"White. A blank page of canvas. His favorite. So many possibilities." The very last line of Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George expresses the kind of optimism that deservedly arrives with the start of every new project & every new year, even a new fiscal year. A fresh start. A clean slate. Square one. Tabula Rasa A New Beginning There may be nothing more empowering to the human mind than the chance to start … [Read more...]

Please Sir, I want some more… Budget


Moooooore?  You want more? Let's face it, there are moments when the typical nonprofit budget process can descend to Dickensian depths of oppressiveness, misery and hopelessness. So let's take a moment to dream up a DIFFERENT story ... something joyous ... one in which all of the other parameters of your organization's budget remain the stable, AND... The reply to your request is, "Why, yes!  Gladly.  Here you go!  Here's an increase to … [Read more...]

Who is your “Chief Relevance Officer?”


Whose job is "relevance?" Does the word appear in any job title on your company's organization chart? Does the word even appear in the job description of any position in your organization? Will you argue that "relevance" is the obvious province of your organization's artistic director or curator since it is they who are responsible for interpreting and advancing your organization's artistic mission? With all due respect to artistic … [Read more...]

Would YOU call these “Tough Times”?

tough times

I'm not, by nature, a pessimist. So I was struck by the reply of a respected colleague to an e-mail I sent that included the sentence, "As you well know, these are very tough times for the arts & cultural sector." She replied, "Interesting you say these are tough times.  I don't hear that very much." Wow.  Let's take a moment to take stock of where we are, shall we?  I invite you, dear ArtsJournal blog readers, to respond:  Would YOU … [Read more...]