Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine
Dec 312016
CTG Mark Taper Forum

Diane Ragsdale presents Transformation or Bust: When Hustling Ticket Sales and Contributions is Just Not Cutting It Anymore at Mark Taper Forum
Photo credit: Javier Segura





Center Theatre Group is pleased to present a keynote presentation at the Mark Taper Forum on Monday, January 9, 2017 at 10 a.m. The one hour keynote presentation will be free and open to the public followed by a discussion and Q&A. The Diane Ragsdale keynote presentation is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation.

The keynote presentation, “Transformation or Bust: When Hustling Ticket Sales and Contributions is Just Not Cutting It Anymore,” will be given by Diane Ragsdale and will explore concerns over lack of engagement with the arts, which she relates to a growing market ethos in the arts and culture sector that treats communities like markets, citizens like consumers, and culture as an exploitable product. She argues that a market ethos is particularly troubling in the arts and culture sector because, on the most basic level, art is a mechanism through which we share with one another what it means to be human. Through inspirational ideas, practical actions, and industry examples, she challenges arts organizations to resist the ethos of the market and uphold their role as purveyors of a different value system.

About Diane Ragsdale
Diane holds an MFA in acting/directing from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is currently a part-time doctoral candidate at Erasmus University Rotterdam, where she lectured from 2011–2015 for both the cultural economics & entrepreneurship program and the sociology of the arts program. While a lecturer at Erasmus, she taught master- and bachelor-level courses on such topics as the creative economy, creative organizations, arts management, arts marketing, and the organization of art and culture. Her dissertation topic is the evolving relationship between the commercial and nonprofit theater in the US over the past 60 years. In 2015 she was visiting guest artist/lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she designed and taught a course on aesthetics and beauty to business majors. Before moving to Europe in 2010, Diane was a program officer for theater and dance at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in NYC and managing director at the contemporary performing arts center, On the Boards (in Seattle). Prior work also includes stints at several film, music, and art festivals.

The past five years, alongside working in academia, Diane has provided a range of consulting and training services to the arts and culture sector; has been a frequent panelist, provocateur, or keynote speaker at arts conferences around the world; and has contributed articles to several trade publications—including “Recreating Fine Arts Institutions,” for the (fall 2009) Stanford Social Innovation Review and “Rethinking Cultural Philanthropy,” published in 2011 by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (the RSA). In 2012, she contributed essays to two books: “Creative Destruction” in Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art (edited by Clayton Lord and published by Theatre Bay Area); and “Producer-Consumer Engagement: The Lessons of Slow Food for the Reflective Arts” in Building Communities, Not Audiences (by Doug Borwick). She also writes a popular arts blog called Jumper, which is published on For the 2016-2017 academic year she has been appointed Arts Writer in Residence for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

About Center Theatre Group
Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

The Keynote Presentation is free and open to the general public.
To RSVP, please visit



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