Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, about The Fundraising Challenge in Europe, has written the following:

  • For the past ten years, my teaching abroad has focused on countries that are experiencing great political change and dramatic modifications in the arts ecology. I have taught in South Africa, Eastern Europe, the Arab World, Pakistan and China, for example. But a recent teaching trip to Lisbon, Portugal has me rethinking my strategy. Lisbon is a beautiful city with a strong arts tradition. One has only to walk down virtually any street to appreciate the beautiful architecture and the appreciation of aesthetics. […] The current economic challenges in the world are forcing the government to reduce, sometimes radically, its support for arts organizations in the nation. This is clearly not a unique situation. Governments throughout Europe are now cutting arts subsidies, either gradually (France) or radically (England). […] I remain convinced that some arts managers will be successful in building private philanthropy in Portugal and elsewhere. Already some are becoming successful. In England, for example, many major institutions can boast of highly sophisticated fundraising operations. It requires great discipline to keep at it, however. It takes courage to argue that a substantial portion of the budget will, one day, be financed by private contributions. And it takes a willingness to promote one’s organization in a way that attracts contributions. This aggressive approach to marketing is counter-cultural (The Huffington Post).

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