It was an exciting time. The personification of unbridled enthusiasm and the seeming immortality of youthful vigor, JFK made a nation feel proud to be American. Camelot was in full swing. A bright new future full of promise and limitless possibilities lay ahead. And the Arts were poised to take center stage and play an even bigger role.
It was against this magical backdrop that two young men with vision and passion, Alvin Reiss and Alvin Toffler, combined forces to champion the Arts in America and launched Arts Management Magazine in 1962. Little did Reiss and Toffler know that this fledgling publication would influence the field of Arts management for the next half century.
Likewise, President Kennedy was feeling passionate about the Arts when he appointed the White House’s first ever Cultural Adviser, August Heckscher, the son of a millionaire philanthropist and a contemporary of Reiss and Toffler. A graduate of both Yale and Harvard, Hecksher previously served as Arts Commissioner of the City of New York. As the newly appointed part-time Special Consultant on the Arts to President Kennedy, Hecksher worked to set up an advisory council on the Arts while preparing a special report for the president ultimately named “The Arts and the National Government.” In the course of his research, Hecksher reached out to many prominent figures in the Arts such as Reiss and Toffler for assistance and input.
Hecksher completed the report for President Kennedy on May 28, 1963. Unbeknownst yet to anyone but White House insiders, Hecksher had also tendered his resignation as he felt he had completed his assignment and was eager to see the Cultural Adviser role turn into a fulltime position.
In his June 10, 1963 letter accepting Hecksher’s resignation, President Kennedy wrote,
“I have long believed, as you know, that the quality of America’s cultural life is an element of immense importance in the scales by which our worth will ultimately be weighed. Your report on ‘The Arts and the National Government’ opens up what I am confident will be a new and fruitful relationship between Government and the Arts. Government can never take over the role of patronage and support filled by private individuals and groups in our society. But Government surely has a significant part to play in helping establish the conditions under which art can flourish – in encouraging the arts as it encourages science and learning.”
On June 17, 1963, the day that the White House officially released the ground-breaking report, Hecksher sent a copy of it personally to Reiss and Toffler with a letter from the White House expressing gratitude “for all that you …. have done” and wishing them “good luck in your work.”
And work they did. Toffler went on to become the best-selling author of “Future Shock” and an internationally celebrated futurist and visionary. Reiss devoted himself to all aspects of the Arts and published Arts Management Magazine for the next 50 years until his recent passing. Toffler credited Reiss with “practically inventing the whole field of Arts management.”
Alvin H. Reiss
Recognized by NCCA as one of the 10 Beautiful Minds in America, Alvin H. Reiss was an author, lecturer, teacher, and composer. Reiss pioneered Arts Management Magazine along with Alvin Toffler in 1962, creating a new industry merging business and the arts with philanthropy. Reiss played a pioneering role in the arts and other nonprofit areas as educator, author, consultant, and program innovator. He was the author of six books, more than 500 magazine articles, and numerous studies and reports.
Reiss, one of the most prolific writer on the business of the arts, donated his vast collection of materials on the arts and arts management to The Ohio State University Fine Arts Library, in Columbus, in support of the Department of Art Education’s graduate-level Cultural Policy and Arts Administration Program. The collection includes thousands of books, periodicals, reports, studies, clippings, tapes, and papers of historical significance.
Always curious, Reiss travelled the four corners of the world with his wife, Ellen, often writing about his experiences for travel magazines. From the Philharmonic to the theatre to the Knicks, Reiss was a big fan of all that New York had to offer. In later years, he and his wife Ellen moved to a weekend home in Heritage Hills where he produced several of his shows, including Paul Bunyan, and wrote a weekly column for the Somers’ Record. As a professor at Adelphi and Marymount, he felt that the Arts should be a part of our everyday lives. Reiss’ proudest accomplishment was publishing Arts Management’s 50th anniversary issue. He passed shortly after.
Alvin Toffler, co-founder of the original Arts Management Magazine in 1962, is the world famous writer and futurist, and acclaimed author of the seminal best-sellers Future Shock and The Third Wave. To er is known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication, and technological singularity. His early work focused on technology and its impact through effects such as information overload.
Toffler coined the term “future shock” as a certain psychological and personal perception of “too much change in too short a period of time”. An international bestseller, his book sold over 6 million copies and has been widely translated. A documentary lm based on the book was released with Orson Welles as on-screen narrator.
To er went on to found To er Associates, a management consulting company, and was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, visiting professor at Cornell University, faculty member of the New School for Social Research, a White House correspondent, and a business consultant. We are deeply saddened by Alvin Toffler’s passing on June 27th 2016, coincidently, publisher Michael Reiss’ 50th birthday.