Solutions That Improve Conditions For Artists And Protect Their Interests

I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight a post from Joe Patti this week that includes a reminder from NEA director of the Office of Research & Analysis, Sunil Iyengar, about the need for arts organizations to remain focused on a post-Covid environment that strives for parity.

Given that it’s all too easy to get caught up in the here and now of concessions during the pandemic, boards and executive administrators need to realize that expecting those changes to be a new normal isn’t the way to go. I like the way Patti characterizes Iyengar’s words by boiling it down to a straightforward maxim.

“While arts administrators have expressed hopes of a rebirth and re-visioning of the arts will result from the Covid enforced pause, any solution that does not improve conditions for artists and protect their interests and prerogatives will ultimately fail to achieve ambitions for change and revitalization.”

I highly recommend everyone read both articles for a good grounding on this topic:

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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