ICSOM invited Michael Kaiser to speak with MAL Keith Carrick and Chair Meredith Snow on the current state of the arts as we progress through this pandemic. Currently Chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, Kaiser served as president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from 2001 to 2014. His work leading other arts organizations, such as the Kansas City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and the Royal Opera House—in many cases leading them out of financial peril—has made him a much sought-after arts management consultant. He is also the author of several books about arts management (Note: see the October 2013 issue).
KC: Michael, thank you for joining us. I thought I’d start out with a couple of easy icebreakers. My first question is, how have you been spending your time during the pandemic? And I want to qualify that—outside of your duties with your institute—because I know you’ve been doing a lot of work there.
MK: That’s all I’m doing—it’s been a crazy time. We have our typical client base, which has pretty much held intact, but we also work a lot with Bloomberg Philanthropies and we’re working on a major project that involves writing plans for 145 organizations. It’s been incredible. And then when the pandemic first struck, we wanted to do something for the field, so we offered an hour of free consulting to any arts organization in the US that wanted it. We ended up talking with 534 organizations—that was 534 hours— it wasn’t all me, I did a big chunk of it, but you can imagine it took a long time to finish.
KC: That’s a lot of time in front of a computer screen.
KC: Well that’s time well spent, especially now and it is certainly needed. Then I wanted to ask if there was anything that pleasantly surprised you about being in quarantine?
MK: Personally or professionally?
KC: I’ll go with whatever you’re feeling right now.
MK: Nothing personally really. Professionally, what really interested me was how well cultural institutions dealt with that first few month period, and the PPP loans made it so much easier of course. There was a lot of extraordinary fundraising. But organizations pivoted really fast and kept in touch with their donors and their boards and their staff and had to make, in many cases, extremely difficult decisions. It wasn’t fun but I think arts organizations in general did a really, really good job.
KC: Why don’t we talk about those phases that you have outlined previously:
Phase I: the sudden stop at the beginning, the lockdowns
Phase II: where we are waiting to get back into our theaters and trying to stay relevant—
MK: —that’s where we are right now—Some of us can do some performance with socially distanced audience and a tiny orchestra—it’s good work to be done, but it’s not full orchestras playing for a full audience and this is the hard period because we’ve run out of our PPP money. A lot of our funders are still being generous but not a lot of them are making these extra grants anymore, so that money’s gone and we don’t know when this ends. It’s a very uncomfortable period—wanting to be of service, wanting to keep in touch, needing to stay solvent, still having very little earned income and who knows when we can go back. And then having major contractual issues with orchestra members and other union artists. What makes sense to have as a contract right now? It’s a very hard time.
KC: Yes, of course—I think we share your opinion that this is the hardest phase for all of us. We don’t know how long it’s going to last and it’s probably the longest phase, honestly.
MK: —yes, except for Phase IV which goes on forever. But Phase III, which is the recovery phase, is an interesting time to think about. Obviously when we have a vaccine, when it’s widely available, and when it’s trusted—which are all separate things—and when we can go back into the theater and the audience is comfortable, the challenge that I’m seeing at that phase is everyone is going to be starting up at the same time. And by everyone, I’m not just talking about our cultural institutions but I’m also talking about sports, hotels, cruise lines, you name it—anyone with something that’s entertainment related. They will all at once be there –trying to recoup, trying to build back, trying to regain their audience, and it’s going to be highly competitive.
It’s going to be a very exciting time—everyone’s going to be so happy—I know I will be when I can go back and see performances again. But it’s also going to be a competitive time with an awful lot of activity happening to compete for people’s time and attention and money.
Why I think this is critical, is not that I’m pessimistic, but that arts organizations will need to be ready to come back with real excitement and vigor. And that puts pressure on us now in Phase II. Phase II is not just about surviving, pivoting to what we can do online, and doing all the good stuff we’re trying to do now. For me, Phase II, maybe as importantly, is planning what we’re going to do in Phase III. So that when we come back, it’s really great. Because if it’s not really great, we’re not going to have the audience we need. Right now, we’re training our audiences to get the arts online for free wherever and whenever they want—maybe to enjoy a performance by a symphony in Sweden—because it’s available online now. So we have to woo our audience back and the way I think we’re going to do that is with great exciting work. I think that’s the real challenge of Phase III.
KC: Right, the planning that needs to happen. Let’s talk about Phase II since this is the part that’s the most painful for the musicians of ICSOM. I know you’ve floated this idea of an orchestra hibernating and conserving its resources during this time.
MK: That was not a prescription, you understand.
KC: Yes, I think I’m asking about what this might look like in practice for an orchestra that ends up in this place.
MK: It’s ugly. Hibernation is not a fun thing—I suggested that it is an option. It is not the first choice by any means. Hibernation basically says, “we cannot afford to live through this as a functioning institution and the only thing we can do is essentially go to sleep until there is earned revenue again.” There are some organizations for whom that is true. If they try to keep paying people and doing work right now, they would end up closed before the end of the pandemic which is no ones’ first choice. The idea of hibernation was for those organizations that are simply too weak to last. The board keeps meeting to keep the legal entity alive. That’s what hibernation means—it’s not a great option.
KC: No, I would think this should be the last option.
MK: I agree. We want all furloughs to be as short as possible. We don’t want to see people losing their livelihoods. That’s no ones’ choice, first or second or third. It’s the last choice. But I think what is more important, from my perspective and I would hope from the union musicians’ perspective, is that the long-term future of your institution is secure rather than that you have this burst of glory until January 2021 and then you shut your doors forever. That’s what I would like to avoid.
KC: Of course! It’s never the union’s position that we should drain the institution of all its resources.
MK: No, I know that. I’m not accusing anybody of that, I’m just saying that’s where hibernation really comes into play. To be honest, most even mid-sized American orchestras don’t have to look at hibernation because they have other resources upon which to draw. It’s really some other kinds of smaller organizations with no reserves whatsoever—who simply can’t survive any other way.
KC: One thing we’re worried about is—I’ve titled it “creative drain”—where the pandemic will affect students and even our seasoned artists in orchestras, who might choose to leave the field. I wonder if you have any ideas on how we might prevent this drain on the creative side of our profession?
MK: I hope this won’t go long enough that that will really have a major impact. Not that there will be no one who would ever decide to leave, but people may decide that anyway. For me, the thing that I believe keeps people excited and engaged, whether it’s a musician who’s thinking about their career or a donor who’s thinking about giving, is talking about the exciting work you can do when you come back. I think when the discussion is only about the here and now and the loss, that’s when we lose people—all kinds of people—musicians, donors, board members, administrators, whatever. If the conversation is more about what’s awaiting us—in 6 months or 8 months, not so far away to be honest—that to me is the compelling message.
I find that we sometimes extrapolate from one data point in this country—things are bad, so things are always going to be bad. Where I think that is really a problem is when we forget to inspire people. We have to inspire people all the time. I frankly would rather see orchestras do one less virtual performance and one more virtual Town Hall meeting where the leadership talks to the donor base about “Here’s where we’re going. Here’s what’s going on right now, but just stick with us because this is the great stuff about to happen and you don’t want to miss it!” That’s the message that I always want to have—in a recession, in a pandemic, not that I’ve faced one before—this message of the exciting things to come. If we focus on the negative, then that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You lose musicians and donors and audience and everybody.
But the end isn’t that far away. Let’s hope we’re back in September of 2021, that’s not so far from now.
KC: This reminds me of the advice I’ve read in your books about long-term planning. It seems like you are advocating “stay the course.”
MK: Yes, but I don’t want to use the phrase “stay the course.” It’s the same advice, but it’s “what’s the most exciting thing that’s going to happen.” That’s what inspires people. I think the work we did with the Baltimore Symphony last December—when they were not in good shape—we created a plan that was talking about what they wanted to do going forward. It’s exciting stuff and we raised $9 million in six weeks. And they are lasting through this pandemic in better shape than a lot of orchestras, having been, just a year ago, in dire straits.
People get inspired by the work we do. That’s why they keep giving us money. People love the art you make—so let’s focus on that. Let’s not focus on the short-term challenge. We whine too much in the arts. We complain, we share the pain too much. It’s a bad habit. That’s not why people support us—no one gives us money because we’re in pain or we’re suffering, people give us money because they’re inspired by us. We’ve got to be more disciplined about the way we talk about our challenges.
I’ll say this: I think arts organizations did much better now, in this pandemic, than they did in the recession of 2008–09. Much better. But we still have a ways to go.
KC: Right—I think that’s wonderful advice for the moment. You talked about the Baltimore Symphony being well positioned going into the pandemic, I wonder if there are other institutions that you think are being innovative and handling the pandemic well. What are they doing? What do they look like?
MK: I think the organizations—and I don’t know all their names—but the ones who have kept their donors in the loop, their board members in the loop, obviously their artists in the loop, who are discussing options for the future, who are planning important work for the future—those are the ones who are doing a good job in my mind.
Some are a whole lot better at pivoting and putting stuff online. I think it’s lovely and wonderful, I just don’t want organizations to lose their shirt doing it. Particularly if they’re on thin ice anyway. We’re not getting money back for this work—we’re not getting paid for it. I worry that we’re using up very scarce resources. It’s not that it’s evil or bad or wrong, it’s just that you have to do it in moderation and you have to do it looking at your own organization’s context. How much of this can we afford to do and maintain our solvency?
KC: What are the important steps now for planning and implementing projects for Phase III—when you’re sizing up if it’s something you can or can’t do? And whether it’s worth it?
MK: First, you want to make sure, aesthetically, it’s what you want to do as an organization, that it’s part of what you care about. Then you have to really see how you’re going to build an audience for it. And how much it’s going to cost—that has to be part of an overarching budget. What I’ve suggested to organizations is that they budget this fiscal year in chunks of time, like quarters rather than in years. Assuming that we’re not going to get fully onstage until next autumn, how much of this next quarter can we afford to lose? And now let’s evaluate our projects according to that fiscal reality.
KC: I like that idea. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen in the next few weeks—I like the idea of short-term plans.
MK: You’ve got to do short-term chunks. Again, I’m not trying to sound negative about the work that organizations are putting online, much of it is wonderful, but I just don’t want it to impoverish the organization going forward. Going back to my point about Phase III, I want to make sure that in Phase III, the orchestras have enough resources to do really blockbuster work and not three months of Haydn symphonies because that’s all they can afford.
KC: Are there any opportunities that are uniquely available as the result of the pandemic, anything we might have missed that you think is an opportunity?
MK: Well we have an opportunity to reach out beyond our normal geography because of the internet. Of course online arts existed long before COVID—I wrote a book about it because I think it’s causing great destruction in our arts ecology, or a great challenge, let’s say. We do have the opportunity, if our work is interesting enough, to reach out to a much broader audience than we can reach when we sit in our own hall in our home city. In that sense, there’s a real opportunity. I’ve not yet seen the orchestra that has fully taken advantage of that, or figured out how to put something online that is so enticing that a large swath of people will partake. But most importantly, how do we keep that audience once we return to our hall? What can we do to maintain that broader geographical audience and how do we turn them into supporters?
There’s a cautionary tale here, which is the Metropolitan Opera movie theater broadcasts. It’s not clear to me, after a decade or more of broadcasts, that the millions of people around the world who attend those events support the MET in any other way. How do you get people who attend at a distance to feel close enough to give?
MS: I think it’s important to recognize that what we offer, in real time, is live performance that is locally funded. It’s not an international market, although that exposure and recognition is important to your local market. Our funding, our donor base, live in the same communities in which the orchestra lives.
In light of the pandemic there has been worldwide recognition of the systemic racism that exists in our country. Is there a way for us to better position ourselves now, during the shutdown, to address this issue within our orchestras?
MK: First of all, inclusivity and equity are long-term issues that have to be addressed in the long-term. By which I’m not saying, “don’t make progress now.” What I mean is that you can’t do something today and it’s fixed. For me it’s about a sustained and consistent decision to embrace diverse people in every way. Not just through your outreach activities but through the repertoire you program, the people you put in your orchestra, on your board, and in your staff, and the marketing tools you use.
It’s about changing the whole quilt of work we do. This is a field that I spend a lot of time in and I care deeply about. I see too many organizations who think they can do one work by a black composer and now “we have done it.” That’s not how it works. It’s about consistently working to build a family of people who care about you.
And to build this family into a diverse family. What brings people to you is the work you do, the artists you have, and the way you market. Can it be done? I absolutely believe it can be. But it doesn’t happen because it’s the issue of the day. The organization has to decide to make this a consistent priority. I’ll give an example: [The] Cleveland Orchestra made a decision to try to bring in a younger audience. They raised a lot of money and put in the effort for a decade. They made this priority a real focus of their work and they’ve had some very good results. We need to take the same kind of long-term, institutional approach to building diversity in our field. Our orchestras have to make a real, long-standing, commitment to diversity.
MS: I think every stratum of the organization needs to accept the responsibility and the desire to make this happen.
MK: I agree 100%. I’m afraid we’re living in a period where a lot of organizations will—not with lack of integrity but just with lack of knowledge—will write a nice statement, do a few things, and think they’re now done.
MS: And then there’s always the lack of money….
MK: Yes, but there’s lots of money being spent on orchestras in this country right now. It’s a question of where it’s being spent, how it’s being spent. Is this a priority in your budget or not?
KC: I think this applies to the diversity issue as well. There have to be specific goals.
MK: Planning is about specifics, it’s not about generalities.
KC: For orchestras that are literally not able to use their halls right now, we risk destruction of parts of our arts industry—or at least a serious scale back. How do we talk to our communities and our government leaders about the ripple effects this has in our community and on our future? How do we work with them on this issue?
MK: You won’t like my answer. But I’m consistent and I say this all the time. I don’t think we reach our government leaders by moralizing. It’s our first inclination—“the arts are good for the community, you should give us more, you should be more supportive.” Of course they should!
But we have this separation of Arts and State, and they are not supportive. The way I think we get more is by doing more. Being more visible. Being exciting and being engaging. Rather than moralizing “you should give us more.” I think we tend to use moral arguments a lot and I don’t think they work because their value system and ours are different. I think we have to win people over by showing how great our work is, how it brings communities together, how it helps them recover, and by being really excited about the great things we’re doing as opposed to trying to pressure them, saying how important we are and they should give us money. We’ve tried that for a lot of years and it hasn’t worked particularly well.
KC: The way I’m hearing this is that our leaders will respond to the way our community feels. If our community feels we are important, then our leaders will.
MK: I think that’s true. I think the leaders will also respond when they are engaged by us. When they come to something astonishing and they think, “wow that was really great. I need to make sure that keeps happening in my community.” As opposed to “you should give us more money.” That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do lobbying, of course we should. But I think my concept of institutional marketing, getting all segments of our community excited about who we are, is more effective than moralizing.
MS: Have you seen examples of orchestras successfully partnering with their neighboring cultural institutions? Concurrent exhibits or interactive performances?
MK: Oh sure, I do see them but I have to say I see orchestras doing it less than others. I see dance companies working with museums a lot. I think orchestras have been less flexible, in part because they are so large. It has to do with flexibility of planning, reaching out and building relationships across arts and educational institutions. Should it happen more? Absolutely. Could it happen more? Would it benefit everyone? Absolutely.
MS: Planning ahead.
MK: Planning ahead and not falling into the “overture, concerto, symphony” slotting of performances where each one is sort of the same and who’s on next week?
That to me, the “slots mentality” is death to the arts.
KC: Has the arts industry grown to such a level that we need a government department, like a Secretary of Culture?
MK: Oh, I would love it! But again, I don’t see that happening. You know, our country was founded by the Puritans who thought music and dance were evil and we have had this separation of Art and State. The NEA grants are lovely but they’re tiny and we don’t have that level of commitment to culture from our Federal Government. We also have so many different departments that employ artists or do arts that I made a very minor and failed attempt to get one administration to actually unify these together. For example, the largest purchaser of musical instruments in the world is the Department of Defense. Imagine if we could collaborate the purchase of instruments between the military and our schools? And get better deals. But we can’t at this point. I would love a Department of Culture—I don’t think there will be one in my lifetime….but it would be fantastic.
KC: I see it also from a shrewd jobs standpoint. We see how many jobs in the industry are currently on hold—an entire large segment of our economy is shut down, arts, entertainment, culture, all of it.
MK: But you see, to be honest, I think we’ve failed—for a couple of reasons. I don’t think we’ve done a good job of marketing to our government. I don’t know if they still do this, but every year when the NEA was going to Congress to get its funding, they would send a panel of artists to talk to them. They were very starry and glitzy, I remember Yo Yo Ma and Alec Baldwin, all these great people who made a bazillion dollars personally. We’ve created this feeling through that and through our ticket pricing that the arts are for the elite. Governments don’t fund elites that way. How much more potent would it be to have a public school music teacher testify about the importance of funding the arts? I think we put too much emphasis on the glitzy side of the arts and that makes an impression on a lot of people that the arts are not for them but for the elite. They already have so much money why should we give them more? I think we make a big mistake that way.
KC: I think this is a valuable point about how we communicate with our communities and our officials. I get a much clearer sense of what you’re talking about in how we present our face to the community.
MK: It’s always the fanciest stuff first. And then our ticket pricing really needs to be addressed. Between 1960 and 2015 the Metropolitan Opera orchestra seats went up by a factor of 30. The economy as a whole only went up by a factor of 7.5—those seats went up 4 times the rate of inflation. And then we’re surprised when people say “I can’t afford this. It’s for ‘them’. Why should my government tax money go to ‘them’?” We have not presented our work in a way that makes people feel like it is for everyone. And we’ve been doing this for long enough that when we put something up for free online, we don’t build new audiences. We say we are. We’re not. We’re just giving free stuff online to people who consume our product anyway. And then we’re surprised that we haven’t broadened our field and everyone is not giving us their tax dollars. I think we’ve done a really bad job.
KC: I think that lines up with the diversity issue too.
MK: It does. It’s all tied together. And you know, it doesn’t come from evilness, it comes from fear. Running an orchestra is really hard. I know musicians often complain about their managements. But it’s not because their managements are evil or stupid or lazy or bad. It’s just hard—it’s really hard. We’re so scared that we’re not going to have the resources we need to pay our bills and to have an audience, to do good work, that we forget what really creates resources for us is engaging our whole community and making them feel part of this. We just focus on this one donor that gave us $10,000 last year and we need $15,000 this year and how do we make them happier? I appreciate why that is, I’ve been there. But it’s not really what gets us the resources we need on a sustained basis.
KC: I’ve never thought of my managers as lazy or evil or anything like that. A lot of times I see them as overworked.
MK: They are!
KC: They don’t have time to sit and do the creative thinking that comes from a quiet place.
MK: We’ve also just beaten the creativity out of the field, to be honest. We’re so worried about money that we plan to a budget rather than plan to an idea and then find the budget for it. It’s about “what can we afford to spend” rather than “what’s the dream project we’ve always wanted to do and then let’s find the money for it.” If we do that dream project, more people are going to want to support us because we’ve done something amazing. I think our creativity has been beaten out of us and it’s a very serious phenomenon. Particularly because of the rise of so many new forms of entertainment that are so inexpensive to the user. That is making more people feel like the arts are just not relevant to their lives. Nothing could be further from the truth if they actually participated, but they write it off because we have not attended to the way we present ourselves, because it’s not affordable—we need to make people really feel a part of our work.
MS: Keith, could I kick the hornet’s nest a little?
MK: I think I’ve kicked it plenty already!
MS: How could musicians help in that regard without giving up our hard-fought salaries? How could we assist in the effort of being more egalitarian?
MK: There are parts of a lot of contracts which really make it harder for many orchestras, that I know, to engage individual artists in some work in the community. It either costs too much or it’s too difficult to organize. There are issues there. I almost wish that orchestra members could create some kind of innovation fund where there’d be some money taken from the contract to be used for projects that they think would be the most astonishing thing that ever happened. It would actually perpetuate their ability to earn their salaries because they would be engaging with more people. I know that’s not how our system works and I know the expectation is the orchestra will pay for those things. But there’s also a limit to the money so the question is where does it come from for this?
The big answer for me, and I know this is Pollyanna-ish and I know everyone is going to laugh when I say this, but I really wish that the leadership of the orchestra and the leadership of the musicians, all the musicians, could really work together better. And just talk more. And not just talk at negotiations, but really talk about programming—not just through a committee—just really open dialogue about what would make a difference to our orchestra, what would matter to our community, how can we make that work? I wish this could be a free and open and easy dialogue that wasn’t fraught with overtones of negotiations. We are in this together and the truth is, the musicians have the most to gain or lose.
They are the ones who are most closely tied to the orchestra, who are the least mobile. And I know in every negotiation it’s said, “well the good people will leave.”
The good people don’t always leave because there’s not that many places to go and it’s not that simple a market. The real issue is that musicians have much more at stake in the health of an orchestra than do managements, who are much more flexible, and certainly more than the board members. And so, I wish this conversation, just sharing ideas, could be held constantly in good faith. “What would be great? What would be interesting? What would be important?” And then, how do we make this work? What’s the role of musicians, of management, of the board? I don’t see that happening enough on an ongoing basis. It needs to be in a familial exchange, just talking as human beings.
KC: I really like this and I want to talk about it from my perspective. The orchestras that act in the way you’re describing—where there’s a collective effort, there’s little risk to speaking truthfully to each other, and collaborating—especially in this pandemic where we are forced to be as creative as possible—those are the orchestras that were able to come back with interesting plans and reach agreement very quickly. But in some places, the musicians were locked out of the discussion, a decision was made and implemented without them.
MK: And there are institutions, and believe me I’m not representing anyone, management or musician—I love them all—where the musicians viewed this as an opportunity to negotiate harder as opposed to figure out solutions.
KC: I’m talking more about the creative aspects of this situation—not negotiating—
MK: It’s terrible when management locks people out of that discussion. And by the way not just musicians—but everyone. Which is not to say that everyone in the world should have an equal voice in programming, but you should be receptive to listening and hearing because sometimes there are good ideas there.
KC: My second point, it’s often the upper management that has the mobility but the mid-level managers tend to be here as long as we are. I tend to have very good and long lasting relationships with those people. Oftentimes it’s all of us that get iced out. A new administration comes in, they enact a plan, we’re told what to do—
MK: That’s bad management.
KC: I’ll be sitting across from a manager I’ve known for a long time and we’re both frustrated because we’re stuck.
MK: That’s probably true on the artistic side, on the operations side—the marketers and the fundraisers can move pretty quickly.
KC: I guess so. We don’t tend to sit down with marketers & fundraisers.
MK: But you should! Because there should be a conversation about “how do we build interest in this work? How do we build interest in us as an organization?
What are the interesting stories in our orchestra?” If we don’t talk about it, we don’t share it and we can’t use it. It’s bad management to lock people out of these conversations. I spent a chunk of everyday walking around the Kennedy Center, years ago, just talking to people. I talked with everybody and I got their ideas and experiences. That’s what a good manager does. You don’t lock yourself away behind a door.
MS: I think we have a decades old, systemic problem of a lack of mutual respect and trust in our organizations. We have solidified, in many places, behind our walls.
MK: I think that’s right. I ran cultural institutions for 35 years and I never had a labor action. There’s a reason. The reason was, I didn’t use negotiations as my one chance to talk to my labor. That was an everyday thing. Every day I was backstage talking and sharing and being part of the same team. This is something that’s fixable.
KC: You have to have the right people in the right places to make it work.
MK: And you need the right leadership of the musicians too. The musician committees are not always the people who really reflect what the musicians are feeling and thinking. Many orchestra musicians abdicate to their committee because they basically just want to play music. They don’t want to deal with the business end of it and they end up not being well represented because they are not involved.
KC: Well let’s finish up with a few words of encouragement. I wanted to know what you would say to an artist, who in this moment is thinking about leaving the industry? Considering a career change?
MK: Don’t. There’s been a demand for art going back to the first cave dwellers who painted on their walls. People need inspiration, they need the arts, they need creativity. They value the work we do. It is a challenging industry to be a part of but it’s also incredibly rewarding.
What we make is so beautiful and wonderful and inspiring—our communities need this. To leave the field will make you poorer, not just your community poorer.
KC: What would you say to a manager who is trying to lead creatively, crafting that plan right now and trying to get the traction they need?
MK: Plan farther in advance. Think about those exciting projects and then give yourself the luxury of time to find the resources to make it happen. Don’t just plan exciting work for six months or a year from now. Also be planning exciting projects for two, three and four years from now. You can always talk about them now and build excitement around them now but you also give yourself the time to make those big exciting projects happen, and to find the revenue to create them.
KC: And then, what would you say to a board who might be pessimistic about the future or is struggling to find the vision and inspiration for the path going forward?
MK: If they are still excited about the art form, if they still want to be on the board of that organization, they are not unique—there are people all over the community who are excited by that art form. The key thing is to organize properly, plan properly, and market properly to find that resource. It’s not a lack of interest in the art form right now. That’s a myth. There’s a tremendous amount of interest in the arts—we just have to make it available at the right price and we have to talk about it in the right way and we have to be exciting enough and we have to go back to dreaming about what makes a great project, rather than saying “what can we afford to do next Thursday?”
KC: Well those are all my prepared questions. I guess my only other question is “Are you going to write another book?”
MK: No, I think I’m done. Eight was enough. I think I’ve really written all I can write. I have nothing else to say.
MS: You have plenty to say! Thank you so much for your time and willingness to speak with us.