Hopelessly DeVos-ed to you!

Take from this what you will (meaning we are collectively biting our tongues until they bleed), but today's big arts news in the Story of O(rland0) comes with its share of conservative opportunism baggage. Still, we can't completely discount local arts patronage of any sort, especially when it comes with the words "Kennedy" and "Center" attached to it, so here goes. Looks like the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – via its DeVos Institute of Arts Management – is coming to town to entertain the administrative concerns of 48 Central Florida arts organizations ranging from the HUGE (MicheLee Puppets Inc.) to the tiny (the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, or whatever). It's all in the name of fundraising in these hobo days, basically, and figuring out how to get the most bang for your limited arts-programming buck. Smells like a seminar! Actually, there will be five seminars over two years, but who's counting?

More exciting for those of us who don't DO seminars, though, is the DeVos connection. Dick DeVos is the former CEO of his daddy Rich's Orlando-owning Amway empire (also, he tried and failed to purchase the Michigan governor's office in 2006 for the small pyramid-shaped sum of $41 million); Dick's wife, Betsy, used to chair the Michigan Republican Party while not being the twisted sister of Blackwater president Erik Prince. (They have a big Brady Bunch house.) It's a curriculum vitae that any arts organization would be totally anxious to rub its wounds against, right? Lest we forget, it's the Republicans who have money and like nice things, meaning kissing their asses has become a sort of job requirement for those arts organizations trying to stay afloat in a practical manner beyond their "Piss-Christ" ambitions, so the answer is yes. Anyway, looks like United Arts of Central Florida will be organizing the whole shebang, so it could be worth a gander. Or, like us, you could just yawn at the press release.

(WASHINGTON, D.C).—The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced a two-year arts management training program for 48 arts organizations in the Orlando/Central Florida area.  Titled Capacity Building: Orlando, the program is free to all participants and is designed to build institutional capacity in such areas as fundraising, marketing, strategic planning, season planning and board development. Capacity Building: Orlando joins other large-scale arts management training programs administered by the DeVos Institute around the country, including those in Chicago, Detroit and Grand Rapids.  Today, the Kennedy Center also announced a program for arts groups in Miami, Florida.  Additional programs in other regional areas in the United States will be announced in the coming months.

United Arts of Central Florida is providing Organizational Leadership in support of Capacity Building: Orlando. Organizing assistance for this program is provided by the City of Orlando Mayor’s office, the Community Foundation of Central Florida, Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs, and the Rollins Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership.

The Orlando/Central Florida Capacity Building Program will launch on January 13, 2011 with an introductory seminar led by Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser.  Five additional seminars led by Michael Kaiser and other Kennedy Center senior staff will take place over the course of two years as well as a dozen web-based discussions and on-site consultations with each of the participating organizations.

“As a nation, we spend billions of dollars training musicians, dancers and actors but very few resources are available to train the people who employ them,” stated Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser. “Miami and the Orlando/Central Florida area are home to a variety of dynamic arts organizations and the Kennedy Center’s capacity building programs will provide training that will help build and strengthen these groups while providing a forum for working on solutions to common challenges.”

“The cultural organizations in our region have proven their resilience these past few years,” says Margot H. Knight, President and CEO of United Arts of Central Florida. “We are deeply grateful to the Kennedy Center and Dick and Betsy DeVos for this unprecedented and timely collaboration to advance the missions, management and programming of the cultural community.”

All organizations that applied were accepted into the program. A list of the participants can be found below.

Capacity Building: Orlando

Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens

Arts & Cultural Alliance of Central Florida

The Association to Preserve African American Society, History and Tradition, Inc. (PAST, Inc.)

The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community (PEC)

Atlantic Center for the Arts

AWAKENING/art & culture

Bach Festival Society of Winter Park

Brevard Cultural Alliance, Inc.

The Center for Contemporary Dance, Inc.

Central Florida Ballet

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Community Concepts Services, Inc. (CCSI)

Crealdé School of Art

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Enzian Theater

FantasyLand Theatrical Productions and CHRYSALIS Winterguard

Festival of Orchestras

Florida Historical Society

Friends of Mead Botanical Garden

Garden Theatre, Inc.

Global Peace Film Festival

Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Complex, Inc.

Historic Sanford Welcome Center

Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of FL

Leesburg Center for the Arts/Leesburg Art Festival

Mad Cow Theatre

Maitland Art and History Association

Mennello Museum of American Art

MicheLee Puppets, Inc.

Mount Dora Center for the Arts

Museum of Florida Art

Orange County Arts Education Center

Orange County Regional History Center

Orlando Ballet, Inc.

Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival

Orlando Museum of Art

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Inc.

Orlando Repertory Theatre, Inc.

Orlando Science Center

Orlando Shakespeare Theater

­Osceola Center for the Arts

Polk Arts Alliance

Seminole Cultural Arts Council

Southeastern University Performing Arts

Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center

Winter Park Historical Association

The Winter Park Playhouse

Youth Experiencing Art, Inc.