Culture Shift

This appeared in the Scottsdale Republic this morning. I’m not holding my breath for a less dysfunctional organization. I believe the dysfunction is a direct result of unearned taxpayer subsidies, and complete lack of accountability for how those monies are spent. Only when there is real transparency on issues of administrative burden and programming quality (measured by real ticket sales rather than phony numbers) will this organization have any relevance to “the arts” in Scottsdale.

Cultural Council ranks vision over fundraising in next CEO

By Sonja Haller, The Republic |

The Scottsdale Cultural Council wants a chief executive officer who is more a visionary leader than a fundrais­er.

In revising the job description of its future CEO, cultural council leaders said unlike when former CEO Bill Banchs was hired in 2008, the organization now has a full-time staff of five people in de­velopment or fundraising. At one time during Banchs’ reign, there were only two fundraisers Banchs, who led the organization for five years during the economic down­turn, resigned in August. The Cultural Council, which serves as the executive board over the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale Public Art, and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, aims to have a CEO in place by July 1.

Council members said the new CEO must also be a “cultural entrepreneur,” incubating startup ventures and a “culti­vator of strategic alliances” to develop outreach to further economic develop­ment and cultural tourism.

“We want a level one, decision-mak­ing CEO that’s going to guide the organi­zation forward,” said Ellen Andres-Schneider, Cultural Council chairwom­an. “That’s the bottom line.”

The board expects to revise the job description with input from fellow mem­bers and senior staff of its organizations within a week, then get it in the hands of search firms by early October.

Interim CEO Dick Hayslip said in the next year he would like to strengthen the Cultural Council’s relationship with the city, which helps to fund the Cultural Council with more than $4 million a year.

Hayslip, a retired Salt River Project executive who also served as interim di­rector of Scottsdale Public Art, said he also would like to work more closely with the Scottsdale Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and downtown tourism initia­tives.

Finally, he said, the Cultural Council needs to re-establish the connection with former board members of the 25-year­old organization.

“I think we need to be more attentive to some of our forefathers in this organi­zation. Those are important people to us, and important people to the community,” Hayslip said.

Hayslip is not applying to become Cultural Council CEO.

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