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September 1, 2005

Affluent interconnections

The web site They Rule lets users map the interconnections of corporations and board members, suggesting the dense cross-influence of a few people on a lot of money and corporate activity.

They RuleCooler still, users can build their own maps to explore different connections (like this one, showing connections between New York Times board members, and the other companies they represent).

They Rule is intended as social commentary. But it would also be fascinating to see such an interconnection map for any community's nonprofit board members. I'm guessing we'd see a dense network of the same faces, governing a full range of public resources. Good or bad? I don't know. But interesting.

Posted by ataylor at 7:32 AM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2005

The 'bad-boy' clause

From the Charity Governance blog comes an admonition to any organization seeking or negotiating a naming gift: include a clause that allows you to remove the name if the future behavior of your donor warrants it:

Specifically, the charity should include a ''bad-boy'' clause in every agreement or ''letter of understanding'' specifying the conditions under which the donor's name can be removed from the building, scholarship fund, or other asset. Pledge agreements...should provide that payments under the pledge will continue even if a ''bad-boy'' clause becomes operative before the pledge is paid in full. Many charities will argue against this out of fear of offending donors. Granted, a customized provision will be problematic. However, no one who truly has the charity’s interest at heart should object, particularly if they conduct their lives in an above-board manner.

It will likely be an awkward conversation with the donor -- ''we only want to protect our organization should you become an embarrassment to society, heaven forbid, but thanks for your generous gift.'' And for gender equity, we really should call it a ''bad person'' clause. But there are a few organizations (named after Enron or Alberto Vilar, for example) that might wish they had broached the subject.

Posted by ataylor at 8:56 AM | Comments (0)

September 6, 2005

Trust, authority, karma, and ''interestingness''

So many of the rules and filters of social interaction are implicit, never stated out loud. So it's fascinating to see software developers struggle to carry those rules and filters into virtual communities on the web. Such vague variables as ''authority'' or ''trust'' -- which we silently apply to people around us in the fleshy world -- must be reconstructed somehow on-line for these virtual communities to work.

''Trust'' is a fabulous case in point. Communities and exchange marketplaces need trust to function...I'm not going to freely trade my money or my time if I can't reasonably expect something in return. But how do I trust someone I've never met, and never will meet? And how can that trust (or distrust) permeate to a million other users with no direct ties?

Hence the rise of the trust metric -- an attempt to measure, assign, and convey ''trustworthiness'' among millions of strangers. As you might expect, most trust metrics work on two primary variables: the evidence of your actions in the on-line space (the comments you post, the time you spend reading or participating, the transactions you complete, etc.) and the assessment by other people of that evidence (did you say something smart, did you deliver the product you promised, or did you not, etc.).

The news-sharing site, SlashDot, attacked this problem several years ago with their ''karma'' system, where moderators can attach points to thoughtful comments, and remove points from dumb ones. Users can then choose to see only comments posted by other users with high karma, filtering out all the bozos with little or none. Says SlashDot:

Your karma is a reference that primarily represents how your comments have been moderated in the past....If a comment you post is moderated up, your karma will rise. Consequently, if you post a comment that has been moderated down, your karma will fall....

Note that being moderated Funny doesn't help your karma. You have to be smart, not just a smart-ass.

The mega-marketplace of eBay takes a similar approach to constructing reputation through its user feedback system.

In another spin on the issue of trust and authority, the blog-tracking site Technorati generates an ''authority'' ranking for each weblog, based on the number of other weblogs that link back to it. More links equals more authority.

Most recently, the photo-sharing on-line community site Flickr added some algorithms that determine the ''interestingness'' of photos posted to the system -- determined by how many views the photo receives, how many comments, how many outside links, and so on. The result is quite amazing (just look at the most interesting photos from the past 24 hours), representing images chosen not by a small group of editors, but by the aggregated actions and choices of an entire on-line community.

As always comes the question: why should a cultural manager care about such things? Here's why: good things come to those who are labeled as interesting, trustworthy, and authoritative. As the world gets more cluttered with information and options, these variables will play an even bigger role in where people look and how much they listen (ie, artists, audiences, donors, public officials, and so on). The more we understand these hazy and socially-assigned traits, the better we'll be at our jobs.

NOTE: If you're really intrigued by the question of how to rank influence or authority on-line in a way that's thoughtful and meaningful -- rather than just crass and popular -- follow this thread.

Posted by ataylor at 8:49 AM | Comments (1)

September 7, 2005

Big carrot, big stick

Public funding for cultural activities is often either diffuse (spread among many departments) or fairly passive (responding to standard grant requests around conference tables). But the Allegheny Regional Asset District is neither, offering a concentrated chunk of annual cash to regional nonprofits (including cultural organizations), and using the opportunity of that big carrot to demand financial stability and responsibility among its grantees.

Funded by a portion of a 1 percent county sales tax, the District claims to work closely ''with citizen boards and government officials monitoring the assets for effective operation and development.''

The result is an annual application process that includes a dose of public grilling by the district's board, along with a close review of your financial status. This week, arts organizations were facing the inquisition. Which sounds like it made for an interesting show.

Posted by ataylor at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

September 9, 2005

Packaging and selling your attention

As consumers, we've all been tracked for decades based on what we buy, where we keep our money, what credit cards we use, and what ZIP+4 we live in. We've even become used to individual web sites tracking our page choices, visit duration, and viewing sequences ( even tells us what else we should buy). Now, programmers are working to make even something as ethereal and fleeting as our attention (across web sites and Internet services) available for review and for sale.

Attention, in this case, means on-line attention...the CNN news stories we choose to click on, the newsfeeds we subscribe to, the sites we visit, and so on. It's a coded lists of our wanderings in the on-line world (stored somewhere, owned by someone, as yet to be determined), opening up all sorts of personal and commercial possibilities. Steven Johnson suggests the idea has both great promise and great cause for concern:

Think of the vast potential to harness that information and do something useful with it -- building tools that clue us in to the emerging trends in our own mindscapes and point us in new directions that would be of great use to us, as well as tools that allow us to share the details of our interests with our families, friends and colleagues. Think of the vast potential to harness that information and do bad things with it -- sell it to fleabag marketers and spammers who have no scruples about the methods they use to gain even the tiniest slice of our attention.

Jim Cuene has a thoughtful overview of the technology and its implications, as well.

Whether used for good or evil, attention-tracking is coming on fast...yet another technology with fascinating implications for arts and cultural managers. Hard to keep up.

Posted by ataylor at 8:29 AM | Comments (4)

September 12, 2005

Returning to a classic...Jack Schmidt

It had been so long since I read it, that I had almost forgotten. But a friend reminded me of Garrison Keillor's short story, ''Jack Schmidt, Arts Administrator,'' the other day, and I finally gave it a fresh reading: hilarious, thoughtful, biting, insightful...please go read it if you haven't. It's more than 20 years old now, but dead-on the money (in a film noir sort of way) on the struggle, insanity, and frequent hucksterism of the nonprofit creative industries. Just a taste:

''What your arts organizations need is a guy who can ask people for large amounts without blushing and twisting his hankie,'' I told her one day, en route to Las Palmas for a three-day seminar on the role of the arts in rural America. ''Your typical general manager of an arts organization today is nothing but a begman. He figures all he has to do is pass the hat at the board meeting and the Throttlebottoms will pick up the deficit. The rest of the times he just stands around at lawn parties and says witty things. But the arts are changing, Bobby Jo. Nowadays, everybody wants arts, not just the rich. It's big business. Operating budgets are going right through the ceiling. All of a sudden, Mr. Arts Guy finds the game has changed. Now he has to work for the money and hit up corporations and think box office and dive in and fight for a slice of the government pie, and it scares him right out of his silk jammies. That's when he calls for Schmidt.''

Thanks, Sharon.

Posted by ataylor at 8:45 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2005

SOMEBODY must be teaching creative thinking

Fred Kirschnit in the New York Post rants about what's wrong with America's top conservatories, suggesting they focus on technical excellence over creative voice. Says he:

I'm not suggesting that the practical side of the classical music curriculum be ignored, but the conventional conservatory wisdom is so antithetical to artistic excellence as to be positively frightening. The message from administrators and those teachers who follow the party line is that, in order to be successful, the aspirant must stand out as more technically proficient than his peers, but should never be perceived as outside of the main stream. If Joshua Bell had gone to Juilliard instead of Indiana University, he would never have developed his signature portamento.

The article recalls Daniel Pink's essay in the February 2004 Harvard Business Review, about how ''The MFA is the New MBA'' (not available on-line). Said Pink:

...businesses are realizing that the only way to differentiate their goods and services in today's overstocked, materially abundant marketplace is to make their offerings transcendent -- physically beautiful and emotionally compelling. Think iMac computers, Design Within Reach, and Target aisles full of Isaac Mizrahi women's wear and Michael Graves toilet brushes. Or just listen to auto industry legend Robert Lutz. When Lutz took over as chairman of General Motors North America, a journalist asked him how his approach would differ from his predecessor's. Here's what he said: ''It's more right brain .... I see us as being in the art business. Art, entertainment, and mobile sculpture, which, coincidentally, also happens to provide transportation'' General Motors -- General Motors! -- is in the art business. So, now, are we all.

Pink perceives the MFA as a bursting source of creative energy and talent (and the MBA as the opposite). Kirschnit suggests that focused, artistic training is anything but artistic. Both writer's expose a common tension among MFA and MBA programs between teaching students for the jobs that used to exist, preparing them for jobs that will exist, and fostering creative and engaged individuals for a world that should exist.

Posted by ataylor at 10:11 AM | Comments (6)

September 14, 2005

The Five Modes of Arts Participation

Interesting stuff, as always, from arts market researcher Alan S. Brown...this time in his work with the University of Pennsylvania's ''Social Impact of the Arts Project,'' and their efforts to benchmark cultural participation in and around North Philadelphia. There's lots to dig through in the final report by project leaders Mark J. Stern and Susan C. Seifert (available here as a PDF file), but I'll focus on a single slide in Brown's presentation to the area's cultural institutions (available in PowerPoint).

Specifically, Brown suggests five ''modes'' of arts participation, based on the level of creative control by the participant. Moving from total control to no control, he describes these modes as follows:

  • Inventive Arts Participation engages the mind, body and spirit in an act of artistic creation that is unique and idiosyncratic, regardless of skill level.
  • Interpretive Arts Participation is a creative act of self-expression that brings alive and adds value to pre-existing works of art, either individually or collaboratively.
  • Curatorial Arts Participation is the creative act of purposefully selecting, organizing and collecting art to the satisfaction of one’s own artistic sensibility.
  • Observational Arts Participation encompasses arts experiences that you select or consent to, motivated by some expectation of value.
  • Ambient Arts Participation involves experiencing art, consciously or unconsciously, that you did not select.

The implication is that we all engage, create, or consume cultural experiences in different ways at different times, and that an essential variable in that spectrum is the level of personal control over that experience. I'd suggest that the predominant (perhaps disproportional) emphasis of professional cultural nonprofits is the forth mode on the list (observational). Have we been ignoring or discounting opportunities in the rest of the spectrum?

Posted by ataylor at 9:02 AM | Comments (5)

September 15, 2005

Policy is NOT abstract...just ask Blockbuster

Those who still believe that ''policy'' is a stale and detached endeavor -- the stuff of three-ring binders on dusty shelves in the Human Resource department -- should attend the tale of Blockbuster, and the chaos wrought by a single policy change. Back in December 2004, the company announced its bold plan to discontinue its late fee policy...allowing renters to keep their DVDs for a few days more. By all accounts, the new policy was confusing and convoluted (no late fees, but we'll charge you the full price of the movie if you keep it over a week longer, and we'll charge you a ''restocking'' fee if you return it after that). But the policy shift had a significant impact on the company's cash flow, and in turn on its relationship with stockholders and major suppliers.

Says Video Business:

Blockbuster’s cash problems began with its strategic decision to eliminate late fees. The No Late Fees program, aimed at stimulating rental growth, has cost the chain an estimated $400 million in revenue and $250 million to $300 million in operating cash flow this year.

Now the company is working to extend payment terms with the studios to ease their cash crunch, declining a dividend payment to stockholders, and working out new revenue-sharing arrangements with some studios to reduce the need for up-front cash. The Video Business article suggests that Paramount Home Entertainment was even holding shipment of a new release to Blockbuster -- The Longest Yard -- until payment terms could be finalized (although, if that particular movie didn't ever make it to Blockbuster, I wouldn't be upset).

The point here isn't to rag on Blockbuster (although that's fun), but rather to underscore the idea that ''policy'' is not abstract and detached, but directly connected to the whole ecology of what makes organizations work -- finance, cash, audience, donors, staff, board governance, and so on. Sure, there are plenty of other factors eating Blockbuster's cash (cable and satellite TV, pay-per-view, soft economy, and so on), but the late-fee change flipped the switch on much of the turmoil.

While it's hard to imagine that a butterfly in Beijing can alter hurricane patterns in the Atlantic, it should be easier to see how an organization's policies on ticket returns/exchanges, rush seats, membership discounts, box office surcharges, or other seemingly minor issues can lead to more or less cash, larger or smaller audiences, or happier or angrier donors.

There's a policy wonk inside each of us...set it free.

Posted by ataylor at 9:18 AM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2005

The problem is postponed, but the debate continues

September 6 was supposed to be the day the U.S. Senate voted on permanently repealing the estate tax -- that percentage the federal government takes when folks pass away and pass along more than $1.5 million in assets to their young'ens. The permanent repeal seemed on track until the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which many now realize would make a massive tax cut to the wealthy look ''unseemly.'' Now, the vote has been delayed pending happier economic days.

It's a welcome delay for arts advocates -- and others in the nonprofit world -- who saw the estate tax as an important incentive for charitable giving, especially bequests. Says the American Arts Alliance:

It is estimated that repealing the estate tax would reduce federal revenue by $1 trillion over the next 20 years and remove a strong incentive for charitable bequests. A 2004 Congressional Budget Office study reported that eliminating the estate tax would result in an estimated 22% decline in charitable bequests. A report issued by the Brookings Institution indicates that a repeal of the estate tax would result in a total loss of about $10 billion in charitable giving each year.

While the issue is deferred, it's coming back for sure. Those interested in being ready for it might want to wander to Barry Hessenius' weblog, where a group discussion on the topic is now underway.

Posted by ataylor at 8:57 AM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2005

Exploring the ''common'' wealth

The folks over at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst have an interesting forum topic coming this academic year: The Forum on Social Wealth (thanks to for the link). The program overview states the problem rather well:

Our common wealth is endangered. The natural wealth of our ecosystem, the social wealth of our families and communities, and the information and creativity that constitute our culture -- all are fundamentally different from private wealth. None of these was created by businesses or governments, and none can be effectively managed as private property. Yet we have no coherent framework for valuing and understanding these types of social wealth.

The challenge of attaching ''value'' to soft, social goods is bubbling up a lot lately. In fact, I'm giving two keynotes this fall on that very subject: one at a New Jersey Theatre Alliance event at the end of this week, the other at the CAPACOA conference in Ottawa in November (if you'll be at either, drop me a note).

I'll post my comments after I deliver them (and after I figure out what they'll be). But the basic gist of the challenge is this: as the social and commercial infractructures get more complex, and as economic resources plateau, there will be increasing calls to justify any expenditure (especially of public resources) against the value it creates. That builds pressure for measurements of value -- even for the most abstract and ethereal services (like cultural production and consumption). We can't fight the tide of accountability and countability, it's coming for sure and in many ways it's already here. But perhaps we can help determine what is counted in the algorithms.

We will all be judged by numbers in the decade to come. What those numbers are, and how they are measured, will determine the health and vitality of our field and many others. So, let's start crunching.

Posted by ataylor at 8:55 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2005

Now the entrepreneur comes in ''mini'' has a feature on the emergence of the ''minipreneur,'' defined as:

...a vast army of consumers turning entrepreneurs; including small and micro businesses, freelancers, side-businesses, weekend entrepreneurs, web-driven entrepreneurs, part-timers, free agents, cottage businesses, seniorpreneurs, co-creators, mompreneurs, pro-ams, solopreneurs, eBay traders, advertising-sponsored bloggers and so on.

Evidence includes the 724,000 Americans who claim eBay as their primary or secondary source of income, and the 1.5 million more who claim it as a supplementary income source. Or, consider the 5 million ''web-based entrepreneurs'' that represent 25 percent of all small businesses (according to MasterCard International and Warrillow & Co.). The trend is driven, says the article, by increasingly easy and decreasingly costly access to sources and resources, the desire for financial control and self management, and the trappings of a ''do-it-yourself'' culture. How should businesses respond to this trend? According to Trendwatching:

Ask yourself how you can help them to make money by facilitating their admin, their production, their advertising, their insurance, their travel, their networking, their selling, their tech needs, their learning, their payments, their suggestions, their hosting, their new business ideas. Don't ask them to consume; help them to create, to produce. them to become journalists, banks, human billboards or headhunters!

One more indication that the ''observational'' mode of cultural experience may not be the one set for radical growth -- think ''inventive,'' ''interpretive,'' or ''curatorial.''

Posted by ataylor at 8:35 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2005

Sneaky, sneaky

My weblog neighbor, Drew McManus, has been slogging through orchestra web sites for his second annual Orchestra Website Review, which this year ranks 80 websites of professional orchestras based on his detailed criteria.

This year, he decided to teach an important lesson to symphony marketing departments about the on-line world, specifically, the importance of grabbing Internet domain names that shouldn't be available to anyone else. To make his point, Drew registered the following domains as his own, and posted a placeholder page on each:

If you haven't registered all the obvious domains for your organization (even if you only redirect them to your official site), you might want to do so now, before Drew gets to them...or before they fall into the hands of someone with less benevolent intent.

Posted by ataylor at 8:50 AM | Comments (4)

September 22, 2005

Exit 9, if you must know

I'm in New Brunswick, New Jersey, today and tomorrow for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance conference: Arts Alive! Staying ahead of the curve. I speak at the end of the event tomorrow afternoon, so today I'll just be lurking and listening. In fact, I'm off to do so right now. More details tomorrow.

Posted by ataylor at 6:37 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2005

Remembering how to tell good stories

The opening keynote of the New Jersey conference I'm attending was Andy Goodman, a communications consultant to nonprofit organizations with a previous life as a television scriptwriter and radio syndicator. Goodman reminded us of the power and humanity of storytelling when communicating a nonprofit's message, and he showed painfully familiar examples of how far many of us have strayed from the craft (complex powerpoints, numbing statistics and charts, dry detail).

There are lots of helpful thoughts on the subject in Goodman's monthly newsletter, but the heart of his message was this: every organization should strive to discover their core stories, the stories that define them, and ensure that everyone in the organization (staff, board, supporters) know these stories by heart. Among them might be:

  • the ''nature of your challenge'' story
    a personal story that explains why you exist
  • the ''how we started'' story
    what personalities and barriers led to your beginning?
  • the ''emblematic success'' story
    a success story that exposes your unique impact on the world
  • the ''performance'' story
    a story of your staff or leadership in action
  • the ''striving to improve'' story
    a story that explores your efforts to get better at what you do, or remove barriers to being better
  • the ''where are we going'' story
    a vision for the future, told in a personal narrative

It's ironic that arts organization, which are creatures of compelling human stories and engaging narratives, should have to be reminded of the power of stories. But take a critical look at your own communications, presentations, and mission statement, and you may discover you've drifted a bit from the path, as well.

Posted by ataylor at 6:22 AM | Comments (2)

September 27, 2005

Alternate measures

I'm still reconstructing my keynote from the Arts Alive conference in New Jersey. I was inspired to rewrite the whole darn thing just hours before, so I have to rework my original draft. My thanks to the organizers for inviting me. And stay tuned for a posted version of my comments.

In the meanwhile, I thought I'd throw out some ''alternate measures'' that popped up throughout the speech (and some I forgot to mention), used by some innovative arts organizations to get useful feedback on their impact. If you know of others, please post them as a comment:

  • Manning the perimeter
    One associate in marketing at a major theater determined the exact distance from the building that groups of audience members would start discussing the show and their experience. They wouldn't talk in the lobby. They wouldn't talk in the first 100 feet or so, walking toward their cars. There was a seemingly magic distance from the theater that most groups would finally start chatting. And that's where my associate scattered minions and work study students to listen in and report back.
  • Ask a Cabbie
    Another associate serving as an Executive Director would travel extensively, and on every trip home he would hop in a cab at the airport and ask some random questions: ''Do you know of a good museum in town? Have you ever been? What's the buzz on the best place to visit to see art?" He would do the same in the cities he visited, to see how his organization fared against others in the country.
  • The One-Question Intercept Interview
    Disney is famous for its feedback systems. If you ever visit, you see at least one of them: the one-question survey. As you are guided onto a monorail or served a soda, staff is trained to ask a question: ''Where are you folks from?'' ''How are you enjoying the day?'' I've known arts organizations that use similar techniques, encouraging staff to ask one of a list of simple questions, and make note of the responses. Just think if each box office operator or teller asked a single question with every transaction how much you could learn (and they could learn about listening).
    Some organizations I know even set a measure to beat: at one lunch break a week, stop someone on the street and ask directions to your facility. Keep a tally to see if you're doing better week to week.
  • View from the Duck Blind
    You can also learn volumes about your building and its patrons by simply watching with a critical eye. Observe an hour's worth of visitors as they enter, for example, to see where they wander first, where their eyes go when they're looking for their way. If more than a few look the same direction, be sure there's something there to guide future visitors.
  • Instant Focus Group
    If you're working on a new promotional piece, bring a mock-up home to the kids or the neighbors. Throw it down and ask them what they'd do if they wanted to buy a ticket or reserve a spot for the event. If it takes them more than three seconds to answer're dead.

Tiny steps, to be sure. But such is how journeys begin.

Posted by ataylor at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2005

Damned if you do, damned if you don't

The issue of ticket pricing is never far from the surface when we talk of the plight of professional nonprofit culture. One camp claims that prices are too high (also see Drew McManus' discussion here)...driving away all but the most committed attendees. Another camp claims that prices are too low (an old article, I know), and that a higher proportion of earned income is the only hope for a vibrant future.

Peter Dobrin in the Philadelphia Inquirer seems to see high prices as the root of all evil, suggesting:

If Philadelphia Orchestra tickets went for between $7.50 and $40 today, the orchestra would have to add concerts to meet demand.

[I'm guessing that if Mr. Dobrin got the low-price strategy he asked for, seats would still go empty, and the symphony would soon go broke.]

In the theater world, the Theatre Communications Group is encouraging a National Free Night of Theatre on October 20, to entice new audiences into the seats.

Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, a free ticket offer from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is leading many to think the organization is in desperate straits (of course, they have other reasons to think so). Says one subscriber who was offered free additional tickets to bring a friend:

''The first thing I thought was they are desperate for an audience. They must realize that a number of people are not going to come.''

At the middle of the struggle is the dual role (at least) of pricing in the consumer's mind. Higher price is a barrier to entry, to be sure, especially if the consumer doesn't attach a high value to the experience (hmmmmmm). At the same time, price can serve as a key indicator of expensive car must be better than an inexpensive car because it costs more. Throw into the mix that those who do value the experience highly will pay almost any cost to attend, and can serve as an essential element of the organization's financial sustainability.

The answer is, as always, somewhere in between the extremes...charging high prices to those that can and will pay them, and radically discounting for those that won't (aka, yield management). Arts organizations have done this a little for a long time (scaling the house, etc.). But they've only just begun to explore how to really work the system (this guy is thinking about it a lot).

Until we do, we'll all continue to rail about price as the key element of our success or failure. And if we're not careful, we'll forget that price is just a symptom of a larger problem that's much more productive to talk about: the perceived value of what we have to offer.

Posted by ataylor at 8:38 AM | Comments (2)

September 29, 2005

A portrait of the visual arts

A Portrait of the Visual ArtsRAND has a new report out on the structure and dynamics of the visual arts -- a sister work to their 2001 exploration of the performing arts and their 2002 treatise on the media arts. All three are available for purchase or free download from the RAND web site.

Like the previous works, A Portrait of the Visual Arts takes a sociologist/economist view of the world, gathering and summarizing related studies from the field, and then extrapolating the key trends, future issues, and possible policy implications. Not the most engaging reading, perhaps, but full of thoughtful perspectives on why the world is the way it is -- at least the world related to the most elite and credentialed visual arts.

Most entertaining is the chapter on visual arts organizations and the many tensions that drive them to distraction. Says one section on the challenge of managing these organizations:

As a result of pressures to increase revenues, to hold the line on costs, to expand the number and diversity of audiences, to find sponsorship for major exhibitions, to develop new programs and services to meet the demand for greater public involvement, to develop new marketing and public relations initiatives, and to manage expanding staffs, the scale and complexity of managing museums has increased exponentially. In the words of Philippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ''the burden of maintaining this enormous machine is crushing.''

Faced with these complex pressures, says the report, museums have begun to seek ''new types of directors,'' described in an extended quote by the European Museum Forum's Kenneth Hudson:

They are well-educated, but not primarily scholars. They are not much given to carrying out research or writing books and learned articles. They are essentially communicators and organizers whose main interest lies in making their collections and exhibitions attractive and interesting to the general public and in widening that public and studying its needs and wishes. . . . They have a well developed political and public-relations sense and they realize that their museum has to be regarded as a business to be run in an efficient manner.

Sounds like a familiar concern.

Posted by ataylor at 9:19 AM | Comments (2)

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