Michael M. Kaiser and Brett Egan Address Trends Shaping Cultural Sector Worldwide at Prague Summit

June 23, 2016

Registration Now Open for Summit, September 3-6 in Prague

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC — Cultural Leadership Summit: Prague is a four-day event to be held in Suk Hall in Prague's Rudolfinum from September 3 through 6, 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.'

"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," said Mr. Kaiser. "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," said Mr. Komárek. "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," said Mr. Vrabec. "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. Cultural Leadership Summit: Prague marks the beginning of a new tradition for educating cultural managers in the Czech Republic.

Registration for the event commenced today at www.dvorakovapraha.cz/vzdelavani. The registration fee is 2,000 Czech crowns (approx. $83). Registration closes on July 31 or when capacity is reached. Simultaneous English and Czech translations will be provided during the event.

During the last 25 years, perception of culture has been transformed in many ways. With freedom of speech in Czechia, changes have occurred in audience preferences and interests, and this has brought a need to reevaluate the financing and the economic aspects of cultural activities. Audiences have changed dramatically, and individual philanthropy has begun to emerge. Development in this area has been fostered by the Embassy of the United States, which supported previous intensives in Czechia led by Mr. Kaiser and his colleagues.

Under the guidance of Mr. Kaiser (Chairman of the DeVos Institute), Brett Egan (President of the DeVos Institute), and Dan Hagerty (Consultant at the DeVos Institute), the Cultural Leadership Summit: Prague offers four days of intensive training focused on building a stable, healthy cultural organization. Sessions concentrate on revenue diversification via fundraising, sponsorships, ticket sales, and alternative opportunities to generate revenue in the European context. Participants will learn new approaches to artistic planning, as well as programmatic marketing (to recruit audiences) and institutional marketing (to generate awareness of the organization). The summit will also address fundraising methods and strategic planning.

In addition to closed training sessions for arts managers, there will be two interactive discussions open to the general public. Mr. Kaiser will lead "Trends Affecting the Future of the Cultural Sector Worldwide", a panel discussion that examines the forces shaping the arts. Mr. Egan will moderate “Art in the Age of Distraction”, a panel discussion with leading cultural figures in Czechia and elsewhere in Europe on technology and art in the 21st century.

About the Partners

The DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland provides training, consultation, and implementation support for arts managers and their boards. It operates on the premise that while much is spent to train artists, too little is spent to support the managers and boards who keep those artists at work. In September 2014, the DeVos Institute transferred its offices and activities from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to the University of Maryland. In doing so, the Institute has expanded its consultancies and training programs. To date, the Institute has worked with more than 1,000 organizations in over 80 countries to support its clients as they create and sustain exemplary cultural programs. For more information, visit www.devosinstitute.net.

The Academy of Classical Music was founded in 2002 with the aim of promoting and popularizing Czech musical art both in Czechia and abroad. It contributes to dissemination of cultural values, support of the the travel industry, and development of all fields of culture. Not least, it focuses on support of young artists, emerging musicians, and youth interested in culture. Since 2008 the Academy has been the presenter of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival, which together with its partners and patrons cultivates the artistic bequest of the world-famous Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. Since 2009 the Academy has been conferring the annual Antonín Dvořák Prize which, under supervision of the Council of Academics, honors domestic and foreign leading figures who, through their lifelong work or an extraordinary artistic achievement, have made a major contribution to the promotion and popularization of Czech classical music both in Czechia and abroad.

The Dvořák Prague Festival is one of many projects that could not have developed successfully without long-term support from cultural philanthropist Karel Komárek, who in 2013 was honored for his work with a Gold Medal conferred annually by the International Committee of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Robert Kolář, director of the Academy of Classical Music, says:

"Thanks to the approach of Karel Komárek we can present a festival that disseminates the bequest and work of the great Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. The encounter with world-class experts in managing cultural projects and events just before the beginning of the Dvořák Prague Festival itself can offer further valuable experience to professionals in our country."

This event has been prepared by the Academy of Classical Music (presenter of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival) in collaboration with philanthropist Karel Komárek, the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, and the Embassy of the United States of America in Prague, with financial support from the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.



Joseph Heitz
Director, External Relations
DeVos Institute of Arts Management
jeheitz@devosinstitute.net  |  +1.301.314.0957

Silvie Marková
Public Relations
Dvořák Prague Festival
press@dvorakovapraha.cz | + 420.604.748.699

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