Kaiser’s Debate: New Models or Better Management in the Arts?

Internship Reflection & AU Blog Post: July 12, 2012

As I work with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and more specifically with the development team for the BSO at Strathmore, I am finding an increasing amount of evidence that the BSO is part of the solution for arts organizations.  According to Michael Kaiser, the “new” model of arts organizations may be equated with organizations that are well managed and find ways to effectively adapt to change.  The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has worked hard to keep up with the needs and interests of a rapidly evolving society and serves as an inspiration for the “new” way of functioning as an arts organization in the 21st century.

Marin Alsop, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s conductor and music director, has spearheaded many innovative efforts and has done a lot to bring the symphony “up to speed” within society.  She has been a major proponent of implementing new technology in the arts experience, reaching out to audiences, and to diversifying the orchestra performance experience.  Our audiences are changing and Marin has heightened awareness among BSO management.  In a collaborative effort, the managers, leadership, and musicians have tapped into new possibilities during turbulent times.

Michael Kaiser has stated: “I believe firmly that well-run arts organizations that appreciate how the world is changing, and react accordingly, that engage board members, that excite audiences, that create important work, that grow and change with the times, will survive and thrive for decades to come.”  The Baltimore Symphony resonates with this description and is effectively positioning itself as a leader among arts organizations in modern society.

I look forward to continuing the discussion in the next #ArtsMgtChat — Friday, August 17, 2012 at 2:00 PM Eastern (see discussion questions below).  Feel free to join in and/or follow the #artsmgtchat on Twitter!


  1. What strategies do you use to fund your work?
  2. Do you see a need for larger institutions that support and deliver art?
  3. Is the cost of maintaining organizations becoming too high and actually burdening the art and artists?
  4. Are audiences eroding in your community?
  5. Are you using technology to access audiences? Donors?
  6. Is your staff/team putting in more time for less pay?
  7. Are you collaborating with other artists or institutions to produce your work?
  8. What do you see that you would consider a “new model”?

What are your thoughts?

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