WASHINGTON (AP) — The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Wednesday it is extending its reach to Africa to provide management seminars for hundreds of arts leaders in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The center honors President John F. Kennedy’s legacy as an arts advocate by serving as a home for music, theater and dance. It also is home to the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, which is funding the tour.

Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser, credited with rescuing struggling arts groups from Kansas City to New York and London, will visit the five African nations Feb. 7 to 14. Previously, he has taught in Europe, Asia and South America, as well as South Africa and Egypt, with a focus on programming, fundraising and marketing the arts.

Kaiser said demand for the seminars next month has been much higher than expected.

“There’s no arts management training available in these countries,” he said. “I think the biggest change is a much reduced focus on the role of the individual donor.”

The training also will focus on the role of governments and the press relating to the arts, as well as using cell phones as a marketing tool in places where home computers aren’t pervasive, he said.

Kaiser said the tour announced Wednesday is expected to draw 300 participants at The National Theatre in Lagos, Nigeria. Hundreds more are expected at sites elsewhere.

The Kennedy Center also plans to bring more African arts leaders to study management in Washington.

“This is really for us to start developing relationships in Africa,” Kaiser said. “So for us, this is the beginning of a process — not a one-time only.”

Kaiser recently traveled to all 50 states to advise U.S. arts groups on surviving the financial crisis.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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