Get Your TEDx Michigan Ave Tickets Today

On Saturday, May 7th, 2011 Chicago plays host to TEDx Michigan Ave, an independently organized TED event that will focus on how to strengthen and evolve the arts industry. The event features four groups of speakers and will run from 9:00am through 5:00pm. I’m honored to be one of the speakers alongside a terrific lineup of some real forward-thinkers in the field…

The official event synopsis reads:

As states across the nation grapple with budget shortfalls, a growing number of state arts agencies are facing steep cuts, while several are in danger of being eliminated altogether. The future of live theater, community art outreach and school art and music programs seems to become more precarious each day. At this independently organized TED event, host David Zoltan welcomes arts industry insiders to tackle the issues facing the industry today.

I’ve been assigned the task of tackling labor relations and I am very enthusiastic wrapping up everything we need to do bring about universal labor harmony while simultaneously maximizing institutional potential all in the space of a twelve minute TEDx talk (yes, if that were spoken word, it would have been delivered with an ironic tone). But in all seriousness, you’ll enjoy a healthy dose of transparency being injected into this topic. Imagine holding up a mirror to labor relations with the goal of spreading happiness throughout the field. Pretty straightforward, right?

In the meantime, reserve your tickets before they’re gone and stop by the official event site for the full schedule, speaker list, and more:

So get those tickets, make travel and lodging arrangements, and I hope to see as many of you as possible at the event!



Postscript: for those of you who don’t like to click-through, here’s the current event schedule and handy list of speakers:

8:00am – Registration and Welcome

9:00am-10:30am – First Group
David Zoltan, Organizer – Welcome
Seth Boustead – Executive Director, Access Contemporary Music
Gwydion Suilebhan – Playwright
Drew McManus – Orchestra consultant

10:30am-11:00am – 30 minute break

11:00am-12:30pm – Second Group
David Dombrosky – Executive Director, Center for Arts Management and Technology
Scott Walters – Director, Center for Rural Arts Development and Leadership Education
Lisa Canning – Founder, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship

12:30pm-1:30pm – 60 minute lunch break

1:30pm-3:00pm – Third Group
Ian David Moss – Arts Policy Wonk at
Crystal Hall, Adam Marks, Melissa Snoza – Fifth House Ensemble
Tom Tresser– arts and business consultant, arts policy activist
Adam Thurman – Director of Marketing, Court Theatre

3:00pm-3:30pm – 30 minute break

3:30pm-5:00pm – Fourth Group
David J. Loehr – Playwright and co-founder of
Julie Ritchey – Artistic Director, Filament Theatre Ensemble
Eric Ziegenhagen – Artist and funding consultant

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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