Video, Snapshots: Ben Cameron, Global Leader in Residence

| March 7, 2013
Ben Cameron in the Winifred Moore Auditorium

Global Leader in Residence Ben Cameron delivered his keynote in the historic Winifred Moore Auditorium.

Webster University welcomed its latest Global Leader in Residence this week when Ben Cameron arrived at the home campus as the Global Leader in Residence for the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts.

Ben Cameron, Webster University Global Leader in Residence

Cameron accepted thanks from Peter Sargent, dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts.

A former theatre professional, frequent public speaker and arts activist, Cameron is Program Director for the Arts of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), where he supervises a $13.125 million grants program focusing on organizations and artists in theatre, contemporary dance, jazz and presenting.

Cameron’s activities at Webster this week included engaging with Webster students, faculty members and leaders, including students in the Department of Music and the Conservatory of Theatre Arts.

He also met with local performing arts leaders, including The Muny’s Mike Isaacson, the Opera Theatre’s Tim O’Leary, the Repertory Theatre’s Steve Woolf and Mark Bernstein — “old friends,” in Cameron’s words — as well as Webster faculty and St. Louis Shakespeare Festival Director Rick Dildine.

Video: Keynote Presentation, ‘Arts at the Crossroads’

Cameron’s keynote, titled “Arts at the Crossroads,” was open to the public and is viewable on video replay below:


In their introductions of Cameron on the night of his keynote, Provost Julian Schuster and President Beth Stroble spoke of the significance of the GLIR program, and identifying Cameron as a fit for the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts.

Webster University Global Leaders in Residence

Cameron greeted local community members at the reception on the night of his keynote address.

“I recall in my conversations with Peter Sargent, we were thinking about how a Global Leader in Residence would reflect the leadership that this College has shown for decades in its fine programs and its preparation of artists,” Stroble said. “The leadership that this College has provided for Webster University since its inception is truly a signature of Webster.”

For this time in history, and this time at Webster as it increases engagement of the larger community with the arts, Sargent and Stroble “agreed that the time is critically apt for us to engage with a leader who has the perspective of Ben Cameron.”

Cameron spoke of long-running “chronic” challenges in arts philanthropy — namely the labor “artists, managers and technicians on whose lives the work is made,” and the inadequate compensation, health benefits and retirement programs.

Webster University Global Leader in Residence

Cameron caught up with old friends from the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, which has long resided on the home campus of Webster University.

Further, he spoke to four newer issues affecting the arts:

  • Increasing concern about rising dysfunction in the 501(c)3 nonprofit model;
  • Impending generation-related leadership transition across the field;
  • Rising audience “churn” and eroding subscription bases;
  • “Mystifying changes in technology” — from conveniences to changing leisure habits — that impact potential audience behavior, expectations and overall interest the arts.

Watch the video above for more of Cameron’s thoughts on these issues and “Arts at the Crossroads.”

About Global Leaders in Residence

Operated through the Webster University Office of Corporate Partnerships, the Global Leaders in Residence program extends the University’s long-standing commitment to partnerships around the world. Through this program, Webster hosts distinguished individuals who are considered thought leaders in their fields from across a wide spectrum of disciplines.

While in residence, each Global Leader interacts with students to assist in real world learning by connecting theory to practice. Leaders share their unique perspectives based upon their experiences in forums that are free and open to all students, faculty and the general public.

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Category: St. Louis Campus News, Webster News

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  1. Anne Lewis says:

    I was touched by ben camerons address. My sister jean lewis maloy on the east coast is on the board of saratoga performing arts and albany institute of art.. I immediately called jean upon leaving to discuss trends and issues presented by mr cameron. Thank you for keeping an aging harvard graduate school of design landscape architect hip