The so-called “Turnaround King” addressed about 200 arts managers at a meeting of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council today at the August Wilson Center. Michael Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, says he turned around the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Kansas City Ballet, the American Ballet Theater, and the Royal Opera House in London.
Kaiser says mid-sized groups tend to have the most difficult time in a recession because they have more infrastructure to pay for than a small group but not as big a base of support as a large group.
Some keys to success at any size, says Kaiser, are interesting programming, effective marketing, and attracting support from diverse groups in the community--not just the same people all the time. He says the internet is a wonderful and inexpensive tool to this end.
Pittsburgh is the 51st stop on Kaiser’s “Arts in Crisis” tour of 69 American cities.