Shop Talk S01E12: The Commercial Life

Today’s episode tackles the taboo topic of arts admins that leave the field for positions in the commercial sector. I’ve often wondered why this carries around so much baggage and why we don’t see more instances of professionals moving between sectors over the span of their career. We jump into those topics along with all sorts of related contrast/comparisons of board influence, resources, investments, culture, and more. We also answer the …

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Inauguration Day’s Lessons In Streaming

It isn’t as though this Inauguration Day isn’t filled with enough significance, but there’s an something special for performing arts orgs in the form of the several live-stream broadcasts that need to operate inside pandemic health and safety guidelines. The inauguration schedule is available at official event website, and was kicked off by an event last night that according to the website, operated as a Donate To Watch event. At the …

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That Order You Smell Is Disaster Blowing In The Wind

As a board member, it’s difficult to get an independent assessment of the institution and its strategic direction during periods of labor distress. There’s a natural inclination to look inward and draw strength from colleagues while not letting too many outside voices become a distraction. Having said that, you know things might be getting out of hand when a marquee level voice starts questioning your strategic wisdom. Case in point, Riccardo …

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If There Was Ever A Time To Consider Loyalty Programs, It’s Now

A recent post from Joe Patti examines a report from the Advisory Board for the Arts that found “while people may donate at a certain level to gain perks, taking away those perks won’t cause them to reduce their giving, by and large.” This is certainly good news for arts orgs in a post-COVID environment, but it also brings up some intriguing dynamic considerations that focus on generating the most revenue …

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AFM-EPF Tries Again

The American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund (AFM-PEF) continues to scrape along. Back in March 2020 they managed to settle a suit filed against Trustees that alleged poor management and unnecessarily risky investment strategies. Both sides have claimed victory in the suit, and the reality is the AFM-EPF agreed to a $26.85 million settlement. According to, $17 million of that will be paid by the Plan’s fiduciary insurers. …

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