Reynold Levy ’66, president of Lincoln Center and the honorary chair of fundraising efforts for the HWS Performing Arts Center, was a guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this week discussing fundraising challenges the arts are facing and how the Lincoln Center, as the world’s largest performing arts center, has managed to overcome those challenges for decades.
“There’s a lot of entrepreneurship at Lincoln Center,” explains Levy, who cites as examples the efforts of the New York City Opera to broadcast to movie theatres and to outdoor spaces; the New York City Ballet’s commissioning of a piece composed by Paul McCartney specifically for performance by the Ballet, and the redevelopment of the Center itself to open it up, create “more green, and make the place much younger.”
Levy was asked how Lincoln Center manages to have a balanced budget every year. “We’ve got a board that insists on it, for starters; we’ve got a kind of clear accountability. We’ve decided to change the economic model of the Lincoln Center, so we wanted to create sources of income that were unrelated to ticket revenue and unrelated to contributed income. And, so, we created those sources,” Levy says.
He notes such sources include Fashion Week taking place at Lincoln Center annually, the location of Channel 13’s studio there, increased catering and restaurant revenue on site and a new venture consulting clients from around the world who might want to adopt the center’s model of cultural programming.
Levy is a Hobart Medal of Excellence recipient who was a political science major and a member of Phi Beta Kappa while a student. He served as a member of the William Smith Centennial Honorary Committee.
His appearance on the show is online.