My New Year's Resolutions

Mar 18, 2010 | Updated May 25, 2011

This is the time of year when we look within ourselves and make commitments for improving ourselves and our lives in the coming year.

I, like millions of others, have made New Year's resolutions. Here they are:

1. I will finish my new book. I have been working for well over a year on a book for and about boards of directors of arts organizations. It is called Fifty Questions Every Board Member Should Ask. It asks and answers many of the most important questions all board members should address, from "What is the role of the Board in artistic planning?" to "How do we evaluate a fund-raising or marketing plan?" I believe there is far too little training available to board members. Board members tend to enter arts organizations with energy, ideas, and generosity. But they frequently end up frustrated and disillusioned. This book is my small contribution to improving the productivity and happiness of board members.

2. I will develop a transition plan for the Kennedy Center. Since our Chairman leaves the Center in mid-2010 and I leave the Center as President at the end of 2011, it is essential that we have a clear and coherent transition plan. Too many arts organizations do not anticipate the issues that will arise when leadership leaves and frequently some challenges arise. I will try to avoid these issues. I am responsible for the quality of our transition.

3. I will focus harder on my international arts management strategy. For six years, I have been working to train arts leaders across the globe. While this work was unfocused at the beginning, a strategy has emerged over time. I hope to identify and train a group of five or ten arts leaders in each country in which we work; ultimately, I hope these leaders become the role models and teachers for their nation. I will spend more time identifying the strongest candidates and far more time working with them in the year ahead.

4. I will assimilate all the materials gathered on The Kennedy Center's "Arts in Crisis" national tour and develop a statement of my observations. It is easy to travel from city to city and make presentations. It is essential that to collate what I have learned and make it available to others.

5. I will try to have the courage and the discipline to practice what I preach. As many people have pointed out to me on my national tour, it is easy to say that one should not cut programming and marketing, that one should strengthen the board, that one should create an institutional marketing effort, that one should take risk but it is far harder to actually do it. I face the same challenges as other arts managers every day and I am tempted not to follow my own prescriptions. I will work hard to continue to pursue my prescribed strategies. This year has tested my resolve more than any other in my career. I will try to stay the course.

Happy New Year!