Monday, May 9, 2011
So what'd I miss?
What an event. It's hard to describe the exhilaration of pulling off an event like that. Your mind is working a million miles a minute, the adrenaline is pumping, seeing ideas permeate and start to take root right in front of your eyes. It's a gratifying, if exhausting, thing.
So while I was more or less distracted for the last month or two, there were not only ideas developing for the Symphony Center, but events around the arts world that are worthy of attention. Some of the ones that are most critical:
Intiman Theatre - After not meeting their initial fundraising goal, they canceled the rest of their season and laid off every single employee while retaining a well-known consultant that has rebuilt other organizations very successfully. I'm not sure that there's more I can add that hasn't been said at this point, but I will simply add my concern that an organization that stops operating will have a hard time convincing donors of future stability and changing the entire staff, if that's what they intend, is tantamount to forming a new organization. That's a whole lot of trust out the window. I hope that the board is keeping a constant stream of communications going to offset as much of that loss of trust as possible.
Philadelphia Symphony - A relatively healthy organization declares bankruptcy? Can this be anything other than a power move to force a change in their contracts with their unions? Unlike Detroit, Philly isn't at a nadir of city development. They may need long-term changes that they need to discuss with all stakeholders, including the unions, but they are instead opting to try to use bankruptcy to avoid having to discuss anything with anyone other than a judge. I fail at sympathy here for now. Maybe more information will come out later to make this make more sense, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
Victory Gardens - Kudos to an organization already so committed to diversity on hiring the first Asian-American artistic director of all major regional theatres. I can't wait to see what Chay Yew has in store for us.
Ticketmaster - Ticketmaster will start using dynamic pricing to sell its tickets. Is that the signal that we've hit the tipping point on this important technology? Will this make it more socially-acceptable for arts organizations to use this strategy more extensively, especially if handled in a more genteel way than the airline or car rental companies of the world? I'm hoping for a big yes there.
That's about it for now!