Kennedy Center Offers Guidance to Struggling Arts Organizations
The Kennedy Center has agreed to make the services of its senior staff available to any tax-exempt American performing arts organization which needs specialized expertise to endure our current difficult economic times, the Center has announced. The Center will offer guidance in fundraising, budgeting, marketing, building a more effective Board of Trustees and other relevant areas to such organizations as they face both depressed endowments and diminished contributions.
“These are times of economic crisis and as the nation’s center for the performing arts, we wish to help,” said Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser. “If any arts organization in the United States believes we can assist, the senior staff of the Kennedy Center and I will offer our collective skills. We are at your service.”
This is not the first time that the Kennedy Center has offered its expertise to arts organizations in trouble. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Kennedy Center offered the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra assistance which Managing Director Babs Mollere characterized as “swift, constructive, hands-on and inspirational.” Kennedy Center assistance was vital in helping the Dance Theatre of Harlem, which had closed down because of financial difficulties, to reopen in six weeks. And Kaiser himself had a pre-Kennedy Center reputation as a turnaround artist, having brought the American Ballet Theater and London’s Royal Opera House to financial health after economic challenges threatened them with closure. But the Kennedy Center’s current offer, made essentially to every nonprofit, 501(c)(3) performing arts organization in America, is unprecedented in its reach.
Interested performing arts organizations can apply for assistance through a special website, www.artsincrisis.org, which the Kennedy Center created for the mission. Top Kennedy Center staff will provide assistance through e-mails, phone calls, and site visits as necessary.
Kaiser is also trying to recruit successful non-Kennedy Center arts administrators to help with the project. “There are many talented arts administrators around the country, and we encourage them to lend their expertise,” Kaiser said. “If all of us work together, we can turn a time of crisis into a time of opportunity.”
The $500,000 Kennedy Center Arts in Crisis project is being funded in part by donations from Miami philanthropist Adrienne Arsht and Kennedy Center Trustee Helen Lee Henderson.