Yesterday morning was a momentous occasion. Michael Kaiser, President of the Kennedy Center for the Arts and author of The Art of the Turnaround, spoke to arts leaders of South Carolina at the College of Charleston. On his 50 state book tour, Kaiser stopped in the Holy City to dispense some pearls of arts wisdom. Kaiser has worked on the resuscitation of major arts organizations like the Kansas City Ballet, Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, Royal Opera House of London…in short, the man knows what he’s talking about.
The first move many struggling arts organizations make is to cut marketing and cut programming—Michael Kaiser says: DO NOT cut your marketing or programming and DO NOT play it safe by putting on the same show, year after year. You’ll bore your audience to tears, they will lose interest and you will lose funding. Raising ticket prices is not the answer either; you’ll simply lose more of your audience. This is the time to ramp up your marketing & make your work stand out! Explore collaborations with other arts organizations, create vibrant programming & you will do well.
Kaiser posed a challenge to Charleston arts organizations who struggle with getting the attention and selling the tickets that may be, at times, elusive: make exciting works of art the other 50 weeks of the year that Spoleto is not in town. Oh, and, if your organization is not on Facebook, get on it. Charleston, we can do this!
And make sure you let Art Mag know about it!