When Alan Hineline agreed to become the new CEO of Ballet San Jose (BSJ) in September, he knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. “I like a challenge,” Hineline says. “I grew up in the arts and it had an enormous impact on my life.”
He also came into the job, after serving as the CEO of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, with his eyes wide open. And the board was very transparent, he says, with where the organization stood financially.
But shortly after Hineline started, with the help of the board, he began to dig deeper through all of the financials and obligations. “The challenge was deeper than everyone thought,” Hineline says, “by a long shot.”
Hineline and the board knew they needed to raise short-term funds to begin planning for the future. This “do-or-die” campaign, as he describes it, called ‘Bridge to the Future,' had a goal of $550,000 in just 10 days. Incredibly, the Ballet raised $680,000 before the campaign closed this past March 14.
But Hineline knows he can't keep going back to crowdfunding to balance the budget. How to make the operation sustainable for the long term? With a deep breath and an eye to the future, BSJ looks ahead by focusing on three areas.
The first focus is relevance and accessibility. Hineline says BSJ knows it needs to take a traditional art form and make it relevant to today’s audience – and that relevance cuts across different areas, such as how the art form looks, and how to reach new, younger audiences, many of whom currently see the ballet as “limousines and pearls.”