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...]

“Lab Tests” Assess Health of Arts & Cultural Organizations


In one of my favorite Star Trek (original series) moments, Dr. McCoy eschews his abundant technology and tells a reluctant patient to open his mouth, "The machine is capable of almost anything but I'll still put my trust in a healthy set of tonsils." Today's arts & cultural organizations would be wise to do the same. While the analytic capabilities of so many websites and ticketing systems are immense, it's not unusual for arts & … [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...]

Silly Little Mistakes


"Silly little mistakes add up." When our kids were in grade school, that's how my wife and I impressed upon them the need to double (and triple) check their tests and school assignments before submitting them. Silly little mistakes reveal gaps in our thoughtfulness.  They are places where we give back points for no purposeful reason.  Each is (at best) a nugget of carelessness and (at worst) an unconditional moment of surrender. Over … [Read more...]

Be More Entrepreneurial

money stack

In a recent post, I wrote, "Stakeholders are demanding that non-profit arts & cultural organizations “be more entrepreneurial” – which is, too often, code for, “figure out a way to operate in which you don’t have to keep asking us for money." Literally, of course, that would be the uncharitable meaning of the phrase. Today, let's try for a more charitable interpretation. Suppose that such stakeholders are simply pointing out the … [Read more...]

A Rose By Any Other Name … Doesn’t Sell

50 percent off

"Sometimes, We Want Prices to Fool Us" is the title of today's New York Times article that notes that "...most shoppers, coupon collectors or not, want the thrill of getting a great deal, even if it’s an illusion." You want proof?  The article reports that J.C. Penney suffered a whopping 25 percent drop in sales  over the last year due to its decision to stop promoting sales and offering coupons and instead focus entirely on offering “everyday” … [Read more...]

A New Dimension for Engagement: “Fan-Funding”


With gratitude, I share this interview with Brian Camelio, the founder of ArtistShare - a pioneering "fan-funding platform for artists" to which I was introduced just a few weeks ago.  I contacted Brian through his website's general information e-mail and asked if he'd be willing to share his experience & insights.  I am profoundly grateful for his willingness to do so. In addition to reading this interview, I encourage you to thoroughly … [Read more...]