"Keep them involved with the organization, tell them you need a different set of skills on the board, just not in a governing role," Kaiser said.
Audiences have been getting older for many years. Kaiser said there are two keys to getting young adults involved. They need to be introduced to the arts as children in school so they will have a foundation to come back to as adults, and arts organizations need to plan programming that draws the younger crowd.
At the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., social dancing classes drew huge crowds from nearby colleges and young professionals. Free performances brought in crowds because they made the facility seem more accessible.
"One problem we need to address is that kids today aren't getting arts in the public schools, so they won't become the donors and patrons in their 40s," Kaiser lamented. "Can you imagine if a kid came home and said, 'We're not doing math this year because the teacher doesn't like it?' We wouldn't let that happen, but we do it with the arts."
Kaiser said the stimulus money from the federal government aimed at producing jobs in the arts worries him.
"So many groups treat this money like a grant, and when they get a grant, they relax, they don't look for more money," Kaiser said. "I'm worried that the money and jobs are short-lived and will end without a plan for the future."
Planning is the key to success for any organization, and Kaiser stressed that he means very long-term goals. Long-range planning makes marketing, fundraising and staff involvement easier, he said, and it allows the artistic side of the organization to dream while giving the financial people time to make ends meet.
"Many groups have no long-term artistic planning," he said. "With a five-year plan, the art is better, and resources can be found."
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.