Research, Symposia, and Convenings

Research

As engaged, leading arts practitioners, the Arts Administration faculty contribute to the knowledge of the field through research and writing. Here is a sample of articles, publications, and conference presentations by our faculty:

Symposia

The Arts Administration Program periodically organizes public symposia and webinars on important topics in the field. Recent gatherings include:

The 2nd Annual Daniel Ranalli Lecture in Arts Administration, April 12, 2023

“Arts as Indispensable to Just and Equitable Communities,” with Maria Rosario Jackson, chair, National Endowment for the Arts.

The 1st Annual Daniel Ranalli Lecture in Arts Administration, April 29, 2022

“Balancing the Work of the Academic and the Artist,” with Daniel Ranalli, associate professor emeritus, BU MET Arts Administration.

Broadway: Emerging from the Pandemic, November 6–7, 2021

A special weekend-long seminar on the current state of the Broadway industry as it emerged from the pandemic. Speakers included Bryan Campione, creative director, Playbill; Michael Coco, general manager of theater operations, The Shubert Organization; Bonnie Comley, producer and cofounder, BroadwayHD; Ray Collum, founder and CEO, EastHub; Don Frantz, executive producer, Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment; Stewart F. Lane, producer and cofounder, BroadwayHD; Robert Nederlander, Jr., CEO, Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment; Steven Schnepp, president, Broadway Booking Office NYC; Erica Schwartz, vice president of theatrical programming, Ambassador Theatre Group–North America; and Andy Señor Jr., theater maker, film director, and actor. As part of the symposium, a public panel discussion was moderated by Michael J. Bobbitt, executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The Commercial Theater Forges Ahead in a Period of Change, November 23, 2020

It has been said the only constant in the universe is change. Whether it’s initiating change through new ideas, or reacting to the unexpected, leaders emerge from within the field of commercial theater to meet these challenges through innovation. This webinar featured arts and entertainment professionals who exemplify the ability to create new ways of working in the midst of change—having spent their careers developing new concepts and opportunities that have benefitted the field. The pandemic has challenged us to generate new ways of delivering artistic products and services out of necessity to keep the industry alive. Some of these innovations may just become the new “norm” of doing business after the pandemic. In an environment where few of the old rules apply, the following panelists discussed the possibilities and new opportunities that can be set in motion:

Dori Berinstein, producer, The Prom; Joshua Grossman, ASTC, partner, Schuler Shook; Rachel Reiner, director of audience engagement, the Broadway League; and Steven Schnepp, president, the Broadway Booking Office

“In It For the Long Haul”, October 28, 2020

The Boston University Arts Administration program hosted a presentation and discussion of the important 2020 report, “In it for the Long Haul,” co-authored by Zannie Voss of SMU DataArts and Jill Robinson of TRG Arts.

Panelists from SMU DataArts included Zannie Voss, director; Monica Williamson, engagement associate; and Michelle Higgins, manager of strategic engagement.

Challenges and Possibilities for the Commercial Arts Sector, August 27, 2020

The pandemic brought Broadway to a standstill, with the prediction that commercial theater will not reopen until January 2021 at the earliest. With rare exceptions, touring productions were suspended worldwide. At the same time, new forms of access to commercial theater became available through streaming platforms and commercial television. Similarly, within the commercial visual arts sector, the marketplace was forced to move online in ways that were long thought impossible. Asking “How will commercial theater emerge from the pandemic? Will new forms of performance and access forever change the nature of the commercial arts?” were the following panelists:

Melissa Caolo, managing director, Camp Broadway; Jason Grossman, theatrical producer, Plush Theatricals; Susan Lee, CEO, Camp Broadway; Steven Schnepp, president, Broadway Booking Office; and Robert Nederlander, Jr., CEO, Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, and partner in BU MET’s Performing Arts Enterprise Certificate.

Challenges and Possibilities for the Nonprofit Arts Sector, August 20, 2020

While both visual and performing arts organizations were shuttered starting March 2020, organizations pursued a variety of strategies to remain engaged with their audiences and make up for lost income—from Zoom performances, to virtual exhibitions, to online educational outreach. Performing and visual arts organizations faced significantly different challenges to reopening. What strategies were successful during the pandemic? Did experiments with audience engagement transform the ways in which nonprofit arts organizations operate in the future?

Panelists included Brooke DiGiovanni Evans, interim director of learning, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Blair Hollis, head of corporate partnerships, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Jennifer Ritvo Hughes, executive director, Boston Baroque; and Nicholas Peterson, director of marketing, Central Square Theater.

The Role of Arts Leadership in Navigating the Pandemic, August 13, 2020

As never before, effective arts leadership is essential to organizational survival and future development. In an instant, accepted norms for financial planning, outreach, programming, and organizational management were overturned. Organizations were forced to rethink their entire short- and long-term strategies almost overnight. The pandemic presented an unprecedented test of leadership. What are the characteristics of arts leaders who can rise to the challenge?

Panelists included Janet Bailey, president, Janet Bailey Associates; and Anita Lauricella, project manager, Boston Downtown BID.

Financial and Legal Impacts and Effective Strategies, August 6, 2020

Arts nonprofits were financially devastated by the pandemic. In Massachusetts alone, a survey by the Massachusetts Cultural Council revealed that the sector lost $425 million in revenue, affecting 17,000 jobs, with an additional $117 million needed to implement recovery strategies. In addition, existing and future legal obligations posed a major challenge. The outcomes for individual organizations varied widely based on their management practices, fundraising programs, and financial planning. What are the questions and actions that organizations needed to consider to survive financially? When is it time to consider merging or restructuring? Are there opportunities for positive change in the midst of this storm?

Panelists included Michele Beasley, principal, Cleantech Advisors; Mary Doorley-Simboski, managing director, Changing Our World; Michael Ibrahim, program manager, Massachusetts Cultural Council Cultural Investment Portfolio; and David Orlinoff, founder/principal, Concord Financial Organization (CFO).