I have read all the comments here, and many of them are right 'on point.' I was also very sad to hear that Peter Lawson Jones had left Karamu's board. I admit that this very same conflict, management vs. the artistic, as Dale and others well mentioned, is epidemic in most arts organizations,especially today when arts funding is practically extinct. Absent the revelations about Board members' infighting at Karamu, and other administrative faux pas, which all organizations suffer, this discussion MUST focus on the future of the Karamu Performing Arts Center.
When Ensemble Theatre collaborated with Karamu and Weathervane Playhouse in 2010 to produce "The Great White Hope" everyone knew from the beginning of summer 2009, that finances would be the biggest problem. We must have drafted 15 versions of the final budget for this production, which had a cast of 45, including 2 Equity actors and two locations. Though we vehemently disagreed on who would pay for what, the production opened a week late. Artists, actors, designers - managers, accountants and staff had come together to present a memorable work. This is what arts organizations DO. All the rest is commentary.
Although this article focused on this "High Noon" gunfight between Gregory Ashe and Terrence Spivey, the real issue here is how to preserve a legendary theatre, within a venerable institution's other wonderful services to the Cleveland community. I know both Greg Ashe and Terrence Spivey, and they are both dedicated men into each of their respective professions.
There is always going to be sparks and fireworks when spirited and dedicated people work together. As someone mentioned above, the ISSUE here is how to get past the personalities, and down to how the Karamu Theatre continues. The Karamu Board needs to play Solomon here, and to refrain from publicly airing its disagreements. Ashe and Spivey are the two columns supporting Karamu, and the Board of Trustees must support this vital collaboration. Without it, the Board becomes Samson, tearing these professionals apart, and brings the roof crashing down on everyone. In art, as in life, vivid clarity solves many foggy storms.
Ensemble Theatre of Cleveland
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