Frank Basile

Catching up with Indy’s preeminent arts patron.

Age: 72  Gig: Arts patron, travel columnist, and interim CEO of The Center for the Performing Arts  Checking in: The retired exec of the Gene B. Glick Co. recently gave $100,000 to IndyFringe  On his calendar: Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Nov. 5 at the Palladium

So much in life has to do with just asking for the order.

A long time ago, I found out the hard way that most apartments weren’t well-managed. So I looked up who owned the most apartments in the area. It was Gene B. Glick. I wrote him a letter.

Growing up in New Orleans, I sold watermelons out of a truck to pay for school. The arts weren’t even on my radar.

I believed in the Cultural Trail from the beginning. You could say if all the money spent on it was diverted to human services, more people would ultimately benefit. And I couldn’t argue with that.

But in order to have a high quality of life in a community—and happiness, even—it takes arts and culture.

There are well-intentioned people who believe The Center for the Performing Arts is hurting other arts organizations.

But there is nothing to substantiate that.

The percentage of people who attend performing-arts events is relatively miniscule. It doesn’t take much to increase it.

People think it’s corny, but the principles taught in How to Win Friends and Influence People are still very applicable today.

Happiness is an inside job. It has nothing to do with how much money you have.

Traveling has helped me appreciate our nice, compact downtown, where a person can walk around and enjoy it.

We prefer not to make reservations. You want to be free to spend an extra night in a city.

I traveled to Bhutan once because of something I read in Indianapolis Monthly.

The article said that, unless you’d been living in Bhutan for the past 10 years, you would definitely know about a certain thing. And I thought, “If Bhutan is equated with being that out of touch, I have to go.”

Bhutan was great. It is to people what the Galapagos is to animals. People are wonderful wherever you go.

None of us is guaranteed any time in this world. That’s why the clock in my ballroom has the word “NOW” emblazoned on it.

—as told to Matt Gonzalez

This article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue.