The More Things Change, Something, Something, Something.

Adaptistration People 018Ironically enough, it doesn’t take very long to begin seeing all sorts of cyclical behaviors and discussions in this field. To a certain degree, the conversations are always new for the incoming generation of managers and artists while the advent increased public dialog across blogs and social media over the last decade has introduced a much broader cross section of stakeholders to topics and ideas that would have otherwise eluded them.

All of that is a very good thing.

Having said that, it is equally important to remember that what may seem novel or innovative is likely much older than you think.

Joe Patti published an excellent post on 8/2/2016 that provides a striking example where he examines some observations from Robert E. Gard in 1952 about the culture field.

Patti sums it up with striking clarity:

So there you go, in 1952 Gard expressed concern that: 1 – America has a slightly hostile streak when it comes to the arts or creative self-expression; 2 – Arts needed to be viewed as more than just simple entertainment; 3- Yet not viewed as the province of an elite few, but as place where people saw their own lives reflected.

In 60+ years since Gard wrote that, little has changed. These topics still dominate conversation and are cause for hand wringing.

This shouldn’t dissuade anyone from engaging in these same conversations; quite the contrary, it should inspire continued discussion albeit with one eye on previous exchanges while the other is affixed on covering new ground. After all, going over the same territory before you move forward isn’t always the most efficient way to catch up.

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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