Only If You’re Not a Screwup

The twin mantras of Accountability and Consistency are part of my DNA. For much of my young adult life I felt as it I could wriggle away from their grasp. Not so. And a good thing, too, for it’s probably because of my compulsive nature that I’m able to survive in arts management. Those huge creative talents that are recruited to run arts organizations are often very sexy on paper, but they usually flame out – hopefully without taking the organization with them. But for the rest of us earnest worker-bee types, it’s hard to pull away from the to-do lists long enough to think globally and critically about where we want our organizations to be headed.

As I am reminded, consistency is not always a virtue.

A recent post on Butts in the Seats has me thinking about intangible things. An excerpt:

Most mission statements for arts organizations allude to providing quality to the community if they don’t do so outright. But when the doors open, are you offering the very best quality, the top quality you can afford or the top quality people are willing to pay for? Or does your product fall right there in the middle of the bell curve–something of middling quality that the largest group of people is willing to pay for?

I have no answers. Yet.

What I Did Last Week
A weekly feature justifying my pre-season existence and sharing my administrative pain.

Stump Speeches: Met with new members of our boards, and in doing so, attemped to whip up a small frenzy of excitment for opera with people who have never seen one before. Failing that, tried to at least make myself appear to be a reasonably intelligent and approachable person that they might be willing to speak to again.

Charts, Grids, and Lists: Created seating charts for Box Office. Churned out weekly assignment grids for all artists and staff to be sure that no one is overbooked (or overlooked…) during any portion of the summer. Organized and distributed booking and contract information for next year’s chamber music series.

Show Me the Money: Helped churn out some funding proposals, including the inevitable hardware and software tussle with creating audio/visual work samples.

Intern Interviews: Ah, the enthusiasm of the collegiate set. I could never have competed with any of these folks in my early 20’s. Ambitious, energetic, focused, and determined.


My daughter spent spring break (last week) doing reclamation work in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. She’s back at school, trying to care as much about midterms and papers as she did before she spent a week working with people whose lives have been turned inside-out for the last year and a half.

Joseph & His *^#*$^#$% Dreamcoat

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you might remember that I regularly indulge (!) in amateur musical theatre projects. This week brings 3 performances of Joseph – with 72 cast members between the ages of 7 & 18.

I persist because I believe that participating in a well-crafted theatrical production can be a memorable and formative experience in a young person’s life. It feeds the soul, teaches discipline, allows for individual creativity, demonstrates the importance of teamwork and opens horizons all at the same time. But between trying to keep them all well, negotiating with their teachers and sports coaches about conflicting schedules, cajoling teenagers through their hormonal swings, and catching the little ones in that sweet spot between befuddlement and boredom, well… let’s just say I’ll sleep well come Sunday night. :)

(Photo credit Charlie Gandy)

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