George Fairfax Fellow 2000

Kenneth Myer Lecture - Passion, Performance and Prosperity: The Profitability of Arts Leadership

In an environment where profitability, productivity and sustainability are constantly nominated as the indicators of success, arts and cultural organisations are striving to retain due value for the art that gives them life. This study examines the tension between the commercial and economic goals and the artistic goals of arts organisations in an effort to find another factor, which may contribute to a common achievement of those goals.

Case studies of The Australian Ballet, an Indigenous performing arts company and four regional arts centres present sufficient evidence to suggest that arts leadership is a key factor in the profitability of arts organisations. Sponsors, governments, audiences and artists are attracted to an artistic vision and to success. The outcome of this is a sustainable and profitable artistic business. This paper explores historical data on the business performance of arts organisations and links this to a new management concept of arts leadership that has at its core the collective value of leadership.

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