Innovation That Pays

In our second podcast, Richard Evans talks with Ryan Fleur, CEO of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Kelly Pollock, Executive Director of the Center of Creative Arts about innovative projects that turn risk capital into new revenue. The new directions outlined by each organization engage working with artists in new ways and unlock the door between artists and the rest of the community.

Ryan Fleur is president and CEO of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. As chief executive for the largest performing arts organization in the Mid-South since 2003, Fleur is responsible for all aspects of the $4.5M operation. During his first five years, he has transformed the organization into one committed to “creating meaningful experiences through music”, in which all of its artistic and educational initiatives are implemented through a lens of community engagement. He developed the Orchestra’s current strategic plan through a comprehensive, inclusive planning process, balanced the Orchestra’s books for the first time in 10 seasons, and has taken significant steps to transform the Orchestra into a sustainable musical institution.

Kelly Pollock is Executive Director of the Center of Creative Arts in St. Louis. Pollock served as COCA’s general manager since 2006, overseeing all business operations and programming.  She joined COCA in 1997 and served as its director of development for eight formative years as the organizational budget grew from $1.7 million to its current size of $5 million.  She successfully managed COCA’s $10 million Access to Excellence capital and endowment campaign.  She was also responsible for securing millions of dollars in grants over the years from National Endowment for the Arts, Wallace Foundation, Kresge Foundation, MetLife Foundation, among others.  As COCA’s general manager, Pollock secured one of four national Innovation Lab grant awards from the Doris Duke Foundation and EmcArts to develop COCAbiz, a program designed to integrate arts practice and concepts into talent and leadership development in business.


Duration: 27:40 minutes

Richard Evans is the President Emeritus of EmcArts, where he directs program design, research, and strategic partnerships that place a particular emphasis on innovation, adaptive organization change, and effective ways that the arts and culture field can respond to the demands of a new era.