Speaking of what's working . . .
Check out this article about the Music Box Theatre in Chicago. They started out as a presenting house (for film) and are now moving into film distribution. When reading it I immediately noticed two things:
1. They are a for profit venue. You don't need to be a nonprofit to be an arts organization. Clearly The Music Box has a niche they are servicing and they do it while balancing the need to be a viable business.
2. The mutual respect the artistic and executive leadership have for each other. They aren't equal partners in the hiearchy of the Music Box, but you can tell that the President and the Artistic Programmer appreciate the skills that each one brings to the process.
It's my observation that this level of respect is kind of a rare thing in the arts.
The arts are filled with power struggles between artists and executives. It always seems like one side or the other is determined to prove that they are the straw that stirs the proverbial drink.
The battles are always messy and they hardly ever end well.
But when you look inside arts groups (for profit and nonprofit) that really work well you see people who understand that they can't function in this world alone. They understand compromise. They appreciate the greater good. They don't treat every decision like it's Clash of the Titans.
It's one of those things you hardly ever hear about in the arts. But it is a key factor in the success or failure of any artistic group.