Michael Kaiser starts his classes 10 minutes early, reminding students that they’re already late. Late in planning for a blockbuster ballet. Late to raise funds for a “Ring” cycle in 2017. Late in buffering their theaters and dance companies against volatile economic shifts. And though his students bring what seem to be insurmountable concerns — some worry that their governments will yank arts funding without warning — for the Kennedy Center president, it’s never too late for a turnaround.
The Kennedy Center hosted 36 international art managers for its annual month-long summer training program last month. The fellowship, now in its sixth year, brings together arts managers from 26 countries, including Argentina, Singapore and Pakistan. The intensive seminar is extra work for the Kennedy Center staff — all the top brass become teachers for the month of July — but for Kaiser, 59, teaching arts management is a labor of love, a passion he’ll devote his career to when he steps down as Kennedy Center president in December 2014.