Ask the CEO: Mario Garcia Durham
Mario Garcia Durham, president and CEO of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, answers questions from APAP member Laura Colby.
The Association of Performing Arts Presenters recently changed its name to the Association of Performing Arts Professionals. Why?
APAP’s name change is a reflection of those who present the arts to audiences. A large segment of APAP membership still consists of performing arts presenters—those who bring performances to venues—but our new name welcomes agents and managers, producers, artists, arts administrators, and all professionals who are part of the presenting and touring field. Our new name empowers discussions among the staff, executive board, and membership. It also cracks open our traditional ways of thinking and allows us to work in more inclusive ways.
What programs does APAP have in place to broaden its membership?
The future of our industry lies with the next generation of leaders and those creating change today. That’s why our programs focus on leadership. For example, our Emerging Leadership Institute is nourishing a new generation of young field leaders who do not feel bound to the same business models as many of our current, established leaders. In addition to ELI, we created a Leadership Fellows Program for midcareer professionals who already are organizational leaders, have direct experience operating in our current business models, and are eager to see them evolve.
What major changes are challenging our profession today?
In our industry, there are fears and concerns about the impact of technology. The fear is that there may not be the same desire to see or hear a live performance. But with each succeeding generation, there is a growing desire to have shared experiences with humans. The more technology grows, the more our need to be with others grows too. We share the spark of our common humanity.