#TBT Area-51

In light of this week’s earlier post mentioning my time in Doha, Qatar it seems fitting to highlight a few of the articles from that time.

The first is from one of the more humbling experiences during the project in the form of realizing the limitations of only speaking a single language. If it weren’t for the enormously talented and efficient translating staff, I have no doubt that the project would have fallen far short of its ultimate accomplishments.

Double It And Take Half Off

The second post only contains a sliver of Area-51 reference, but in this case, big things come in small packages. This post examines what I defined at the time as the emerging Cultural-Industrial Complex, a term that emerged from discussions with my non-US colleagues during the project.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the project was building frames of reference with the way cultural institutions function, not just in North America, but Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

More often than not, their feedback and observations on the way things work (both efficient and absurd) were equally enlightening to me.

A Cultural Military-Industrial Complex?

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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