Gloria Musicae’s new executive director, Steven Klindt, has never seen the professional choral group perform in concert. Coincidentally, though, when he was attending the University of Iowa four decades ago, he sang in the Iowa Oratorio Chorus under the direction of the late Daniel T. Moe, former artistic director of Gloria Musicae.
Klindt was appointed because he not only has more than 30 years of nonprofit experience, but because he “just clicked” with Gloria Musicae’s executive committee and the board.
Likewise, Klindt had to make sure he liked Gloria Musicae’s people as much as they liked him.
“You don’t work for an organization, you work for people,” Klindt says.
And luckily for both parties, that’s clearly the case.
Klindt explains his new appointment is “a boring story.” He has served as director of development of the Roskamp Institute since 2011, when he moved to Sarasota from New Jersey; it was also the same time Roskamp became a nonprofit. This spring, Klindt was looking for an interesting part-time position when he noticed a listing for the job, and it piqued his interest. His other interesting part-time position has been
persuading people to adopt rescued corgis — he has two.
Since the 65-year-old Klindt graduated from college, he has been working with nonprofits. His most recent positions, other than The Roskamp Institute, have been in the visual arts — executive director of The Coral Gables Museum, director of development and public affairs for the Tampa Museum of Art, and he’s even taught a variety of classes at New York University, for which he was an adjunct professor.
The title of executive director isn’t a new one for Klindt — he held that position for more than seven years at The Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Ga. He also served for three years as the executive director at the Queens Museum of Art. Knowing his background in art museums, it’s not surprising to find that some of Klindt’s hobbies are collecting art and taking photos.
One of the biggest career projects under his leadership was raising $32 million to build a new facility for Tampa Museum of Art. In addition to that undertaking, he has been in plenty of positions where his job required him to ask people for donations — and he says it doesn’t get any easier or more natural. He says, you can’t just ask people for money — it’s about building relationships.
“People have to have someone there to trust, believe and support,” he says. “You’ve got (Artistic Director) Joe Holt and what he does for the organization; you’ve got people who have supported it over the years, like June LeBell, Ed Alley and founder Arden Fowler.”
But for Klindt, it’s more than just garnering support for the group’s financial future. He also hopes to gain audience and fan support, so Gloria Musicae is around for an additional 35 years, at least.
He’s already a big fan. He sat in on a rehearsal for the July Fourth concert to learn the nuts and bolts of the group. He was impressed with the singers’ professionalism and how they speak the music language — something Klindt says he can speak, but nowhere near as fluently. That’s why he says he’s the “business-side guy.”
“I will determine how well we are doing things, how we can do them better, and what opportunities there are for funders to participate,” he says.
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