How the Fringe Festival can improve

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For the last 14 years, the Minnesota Fringe Festival has had a policy that defeats quality: the lottery. In fact, they brag about it, as though it were a good thing. But a lottery, quite simply, institutionalizes mediocrity. Period. A performing arts organization should not have mediocrity as its goal. Its goal should be excellence — providing the most excellent performances possible for a discerning audience. That's it. (Though of course there should also be a policy that ensures diversity.)Dawn Bentley, the Fringe's new executive director, talks about democratizing the arts. Democracy is an essential goal — if you're trying to build a performing arts organization that reaches out to all citizens of Minnesota. But not if you're designing the final...

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