Monday Inspiration

If you’re still feeling a bit down, I highly recommend taking the time to read a letter written by Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock from the early part of 2016 and published at nesthq.com. Addressed to “the Next Generation of Artists” it is an inspiring letter that is every bit as beneficial for arts managers as it is artists.

While it’s true that the issues facing the world are complex, the answer to peace is simple; it begins with you. You don’t have to be living in a third world country or working for an NGO to make a difference. Each of us has a unique mission. We are all pieces in a giant, fluid puzzle, where the smallest of actions by one puzzle piece profoundly affects each of the others. You matter, your actions matter, your art matters.

The duo’s letter continues with concise segments of insight covering the following areas (emphasis added to those I found particularly moving):

  • First, Awaken To Your Humanity
  • Embrace And Conquer The Road Less Traveled
  • Welcome The Unknown
  • Understand The True Nature Of Obstacles
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Interact With Those Who Are Different From You
  • Strive To Create Agenda-Free Dialogue
  • Be Wary Of Ego
  • Work Towards A Business Without Borders
  • Appreciate The Generation That Walked Before You
  • Lastly, We Hope That You Live In A State Of Constant Wonder
Read The Full Letter

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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