#TBT Remembering The Value Of Cultural Diplomacy

While it should come as no surprise to see the global response to arts and culture organization breaking ties with conductor Valery Gergiev and soprano Anna Netrebko, the announcement from The Metropolitan Opera that they “can no longer engage with artists or institutions that support Putin or are supported by him” invites the question of how they will go about making that determination.

When it comes to artists like Gergiev, quantifying that threshold is not only justified but comparatively cut and dry. The question then becomes how arts and culture institutions, The Met included, should make that determination for other artists. There’s genuine risk of wading into virtue signaling territory when announcing a policy like the one from The Met without also including the framework for how those decisions are made.

I’m giving this some additional thought and will likely write more but, in the meantime, here’s a few posts on the adjacent topic of cultural diplomacy:

Some Additional Thoughts About The NYPhil In North Korea

“It’s Smart, It’s Delicate, And It’s Diplomacy At Its Finest”

Dear Mr. President

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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