Andre Yew wrote:
Last I looked, one condition for the granting of non-profit status is a board drawn from the community to oversee and ensure the company serves the community.
Having this in mind, should community-oriented organizations air their dirty laundry like this? On the one hand, the community being served should know what's happening inside their company, but on the other hand, it makes resolving differences that much more difficult, since public face-saving and other ego-saving maneuvers are now required because of public exposure.
I think things like that should be kept in private, and as long as the shows go on, and standards maintained (and this is obviously a point of contention for NYCB), I really don't want to know how it's done. Sort of like not looking inside the sausage factory.
Tough one, Andre. Others with more relevant experience might be able to post a response when they get back from their holidays. In my experience, being honest and keeping things under control (which is not the same as keeping things secret mind you) is the best approach.
I think it is very okay to have personal differences and I think it is very okay to admit to that being the reason for a split -- what's wrong with being honest about that? But when you have big egos or at least people used to getting their way, it gets more complicated -- in this case maybe airing dirty laundry is not a bad way to diffuse some of those egos. Honest people don't usually have anything to hide. Ones who behave badly on the other hand...
My bigger concern here is that NYCB's board seems to treat the company in a different sort of way than it was meant to be. The company isn't a private playground and shouldn't be treated that way.
I remember having a few discussions with up and coming choreographer artistic directors trying to put together a board. Here's a typical discussion:
Me: "Be careful who you approach about being on the board. You want a good mix and you want people who can support your vision but with responsibility to the community."
New AD: "What has the community got to do with it?"
Me: "Well, you are a non-profit which is a corporation held in trust for the community with oversight by the community."
New AD: "You mean it's not MY company."
Me: "Hey, you can't have your cake and eat it too. You are seeking tax-deductible public funds, right? Well, the public is your boss."
New AD: "I guess so. But I'll just fire any board member I don't like."
I shake my head in disbelief.
Me: "Um, no. You report to the Board. They fire you!"
New AD: "What?!!!! Then why am I doing this?"
Me: "Good question. Are you doing it for arts' sake or are you doing it for your own ego?"