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A book of rules from Michael Kaiser

On his "Arts in Crisis" tour, Michael Kaiser was frequently confronted with the delicate question of how the staffs of arts organizations should deal with board members, and how should the roles of both the staff and board change in stressful times.

Kaiser, the president of the Kennedy Center, decided to share some of his ideas in a new book that was written while he was on the road in 2009 and 2010. He visited 50 states and 69 cities to listen to arts workers and supporters and offered advice gained from a long career of saving arts groups from the financial brink.


The book, released today, is a 130-page primer called "Leading Roles: 50 Questions Every Arts Board Should Ask."

Here's a dicey one: "Is It Appropriate for Board members to do the work of the staff if they are not doing it well."

And here's Kaiser's gentile but pointed response.

"Board members may believe they can do the job better than staff members, and sometimes they can -- for a period of time. But generally, staff members have knowledge that board members do not; and over time, the board members come to appreciate the constraints that bind the staff."

By Jacqueline Trescott  | October 12, 2010; 2:01 PM ET
Categories:  Jacqueline Trescott, Kennedy Center  | Tags:  Arts in Crisis, Michael Kaiser, book on the arts, kennedy Center  
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