Performing Arts Boards: Governance during the Pandemic

What should volunteer boards do (and not to) to help organizations in their battle for survival.

A discussion paper by: Lucy White, Michael Hodgett and Erika Beatty

“Performing arts organizations are in peril: The suspension of live shows means zero earned revenue for months. Worse, it is impossible to predict when performances will be able to resume. And, when they do, how will organizations need to operate? Will audiences return and in what numbers? The level of uncertainty is extreme; anxiety levels are high among managers and artists alike. Arts managers are questioning whether their core audience will ever feel safe again in a hall without social distancing. 

In this environment, how should boards support artistic and administrative leadership throughout the coming months? 

Boards have a responsibility to ensure their organization is making good moves through the pandemic. And they should also be encouraging artistic and administrative leaders to think creatively about how their organization will adapt to new realities post-pandemic, which are as yet not well-defined. Below we share our thinking on what boards should and should not do to support management as they navigate what is an existential challenge for many companies.”

Source: The Arts Firm