CCT: Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser Offers Advice to Connecticut Arts Groups

Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser
Offers Advice to Connecticut Arts Groups

Hartford, Conn. (April 12, 2010)  Michael M. Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is speaking at two Arts in Crisis symposia on June 10, 2010.  The Arts in Crisis symposia were organized by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism.

As part of a national 50-state Arts in Crisis tour, Kaiser will address the challenges facing non-profit arts organizations today and what they can do to survive and even thrive in the current economy.  He will offer tips and proven strategies in areas such as fundraising, budgeting, marketing and building more effective boards of trustees.  The event will be in the format of a community conversation moderated by Diane Smith, TV journalist and producer of Connecticut Public Television’s “Positively Connecticut” series. 

The morning symposium will be held from 9:00 to 11:30 am at the McNeil Auditorium at Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven.  The afternoon symposium will be from 1:00 to 3:30 pm at the Carol Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford. 

Since the launch of Kennedy Center’s Arts in Crisis tour in February 2009, Kaiser has shared his arts management expertise with thousands of arts leaders in major cities across the country.  “Each locality is dealing with its own unique and specific challenges, and there is no better way to understand each region than through in-person visits,” said Kaiser.

“Arts organizations in Connecticut have always been and will continue to be an integral part of the quality of life and economic vitality of the state,” remarked Governor M. Jodi Rell.  “Unfortunately, the economic downturn has left many struggling – and some for their survival.  I applaud Michael Kaiser for coming to speak with our arts groups and share his knowledge and counsel at the time when they are needed the most.”

In addition to the state-by-state tour, the Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative provides free and confidential planning assistance to non-profit 501 (C) (3) arts organizations by matching them with a member of the Kennedy Center executive staff or a volunteer mentor in their local area.  The program has assisted more than 750 organizations in 40 states with the help of over 140 volunteer mentors.  To participate, visit and submit an online request.

Kaiser has developed an international reputation for turning financially troubled nonprofits around.  In his 2008 book, The Art of the Turnaround: Creating an Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations, he shares his personal experiences and strategies for success in saving four major institutions: American Ballet Theatre, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Kansas City Ballet and London’s Royal Opera House.  The book is both a “how to” primer on successful management and a personal memoir and look at the inner and look at the inner workings of dance, ballet, opera and theater.  The Art of the Turnaround concludes with a chapter of his experiences at the Kennedy Center, of which he became the president in 2001 and that today exemplifies in practice many of the tips he discusses throughout his book.

Not only has Kaiser expanded and revived the artistic and educational programming of the Kennedy Center, he has overseen a major renovation of most of the Center’s theaters and led the country in arts management training.  Shortly after he arrived in 2001, he created the Kennedy Center Institute for Arts Management which encompasses a variety of programs to train arts managers such as the capacity building program for culturally-specific arts organizations and the 10-month long fellowship program for mid-level arts managers that includes intensive course work and practical experience with various Kennedy Center departments.  A multi-year summer program for international arts managers is in its 3rd year.  Additionally, he is working with arts leaders in over 60 nations including China, Egypt, Israel, Mexico, Romania and South Africa. 

Pre-registration is required for Michael M. Kaiser’s Arts in Crisis symposia which are free and open to staff/managers and board members of all non-profit arts and cultural organizations.  To register, visit the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism website ( beginning April 15, 2010.




About the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism

The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism brings together tourism, history and the arts. Its mission is to preserve and promote Connecticut’s cultural and tourism assets in order to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of the state. For more information, log on to


Karen Senich
Executive Director
Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism
(860) 256-2727 (Leigh Johnson)

An-Ming Truxes
Arts Division Director
Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism
(860) 256-2722