Lincoln Center is one of the cornerstones of New York City’s culture, consisting of a campus of 11 organizations focused on music, dance and theatre. Together, they bring thousands of performances to life each year.
Arts Management Magazine: What’s the key to managing the great artist?
Jed Bernstein: Passion is a huge thing. Like being able to say to an artist, “Listen, my job as a manager is to provide you with the resources, whether it’s financial or circumstantial or emotional, so you can make the greatest art you can.” And I think as an artist, that’s a pretty irresistible proposition. “Okay. So your job is to allow me to do my best work. It sounds pretty good.”
AMM: We’re now in a mobile and a digital world. How is that changing the arts?
JB: It’s a really excellent question. For these traditional arts, they are counter – cultural. It’s not about downloading onto small screens, it’s about experiencing it in big buildings and that’s something we’re going to have to wrestle with in the years going forward as the 20-somethings and 30-somethings grow up and would be our natural audience for some of these arts. They’re not coming with the same set of experiences and expectations that their mothers and fathers came with. So how do we engage? We want to live in a world where there will always be Beethoven. But if nobody is listening to him, then I’m not sure that’s a good world either.
AMM: What is the plan for bringing Lincoln Center to new, and younger audiences?
JB: Lincoln Center’s mission is Great Art for All. That means ensuring that the world’s best performing arts are available to everyone, regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic background. It also means embracing a future in which those incredible masterpieces are accessible anywhere—whether it’s online, on television, at the movies, in schools and libraries, or right here at Lincoln Center.
Families are priority for us as children also deserve the best in the performing arts. As of May 2015, we have been inviting families to join our existing donor-based LC Kids program for free (and there are various membership levels above this), enabling a broader and more diverse audience to receive front-and- center access to Lincoln Center. The results have been inspiring. As of now we have enrolled over 3,000 members. With up to four members enrolled per family, this equals thousands of kids getting their first taste of the arts through Lincoln Center.
AMM: How can technology help us reach people around the globe, and what has the success of the Met’s live simulcasts shown us in how the performing arts can be experienced?
JB: Technology is, without question, the single most influential tool for Lincoln Center to embrace as we pursue our goal of creating a worldwide arts community and expanding patrons’ access both on and away from campus. In the past 12 months, our digital initiatives have expanded at a breathtaking pace— securing Lincoln Center’s position as an arts organization of the future.
We recently launched a new website for all 11 resident organizations at LincolnCenter.org. Today, the website is more attractive, intuitive, and user-friendly; you can easily learn about everything taking place on our campus, purchase tickets, and join membership groups. It’s also mobile-friendly, so you can access all of this incredible arts content on-the-go. Our digital initiatives are generously supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and
The Kovner Foundation.