Cultural Leadership Summit: Managing Successful Cultural Projects in the Twenty-First Century is a four-day event to be held in Suk Hall in Prague's Rudolfinum from 3 through 6 September 2016, just prior to the Dvořák Prague Festival. This event has been prepared by the Academy of Classical Music, a public benefit company and presenter of the festival, in collaboration with philanthropist Karel Komárek, the U.S.-based DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, and the Embassy of the United States in Prague, with financial support from the Czech Ministry of Culture. The event is designed primarily for managers of cultural and arts organizations, as well as artists and representatives of governments who deal with support and financing of culture. Participants will learn practical, implementable strategies from world-renowned experts in strategic and artistic planning, fundraising, and marketing.
The program will open with DeVos Institute Chairman Michael M. Kaiser, an internationally renowned expert in arts management who, in addition to his successful leadership of the Kennedy Center and the DeVos Institute, has led the revitalization of such institutions as the Royal Opera House in London, the American Ballet Theatre, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the Kansas City Ballet. The Chicago Tribune has called him 'The Turnaround King'. Mr. Kaiser says:
Arts organizations worldwide face a growing number of challenges in the 21st century—from the internet explosion and the demise of the recording industry to economic instability and declining government support for the arts. To survive, cultural organizations must resist the temptation to reduce the scope and ambition of their programming. Instead, they must focus on providing—and marketing—bold, mission-driven programming that engages audiences and encourages patrons to contribute more private support.
Karel Komárek, long-time supporter of the Dvořák Prague Festival, sees a deeper meaning in this event: I want to contribute actively to a broad discussion of multiple-source financing of culture, because in the field of culture in Czechia, unlike developed countries of the West, we still lack a stable and especially a predictable flow of funds from more than one source. And that's a topic of discussion I'd like to help open through this event. It's not a matter of support for individual projects, which at any given moment have a stronger or weaker financial basis. I'm concerned mainly with building a stable system that is maintainable over the long term.
Marek Vrabec, currently artistic director of the Dvořák Prague Festival, completed a fellowship at the DeVos Institute of Arts Management. He put to practice what he learned during his year in Washington, for example, in organizing the Strings of Autumn Festival and its gala donor events that secure philanthropic support for the festival.
My encounter with Michael Kaiser was the most inspiring of my adult professional life. He is exceptional in many ways, including the fact that he openly shares his analytical thinking and talent, as a brilliant impresario and strategist in one, with arts managers all over the world. Thanks to the annual Cultural Leadership Summit, top Czech arts managers, too, will now have access to the experience of arts managers of the DeVos Institute.
The DeVos Institute has served more than 1,000 cultural institutions in over 80 countries worldwide. The Cultural Leadership Summit: Management of Successful Cultural Projects in the Twenty-First Century marks the beginning of a new tradition for educating cultural managers in the Czech Republic.