Ten Philadelphia Arts Organizations Receive Excellence Award Grants

November 14, 2007
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mary Trudel
Senior Communications Officer
The Wallace Foundation
1-212-251-9815
mtrudel@wallacefoundation.org


TEN PHILADELPHIA ARTS ORGANIZATIONS RECEIVE
EXCELLENCE AWARD GRANTS TOTALING $5.3 MIILION
FROM THE WALLACE FOUNDATION TO PIONEER
EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION-BUILDING PRACTICES

The Philadelphia Foundation and the Greater
Philadelphia Cultural Alliance join Wallace to foster local
arts engagement knowledge network

 

Philadelphia, November 14, 2007 – In recognition of their commitment to community and audience building activities, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Arden Theatre Company, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Clay Studio, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, Philadelphia Orchestra Association, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial and the Wilma Theatre have received Excellence Award grants ranging from $320,000 to $750,000 from The Wallace Foundation for a total Foundation investment of $5.3 million. The awards were announced November 14, 2007, at the Philadelphia Theatre Company by The Wallace Foundation President, Christine DeVita. 

The Wallace Foundation Excellence Awards were created to support exemplary arts organizations to pioneer effective practices to engage more people in high-value arts activities. The Awards are an important part of the Foundation’s efforts to develop and share effective ideas and practices for enhancing arts participation and bringing the powerful benefits of the arts to all. To read more about the Awards, click here.

In addition to the Excellence Award grants to 10 arts organizations, The Wallace Foundation is collaborating with The Philadelphia Foundation and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance to create a learning network for all Philadelphia arts organizations and to foster arts engagement in Philadelphia. The collaboration, funded by a $1.9 million grant to the Foundation from Wallace, will inform and support the participation-building work of many arts organizations throughout the city.

The purpose of the partnership with The Philadelphia Foundation and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is to help area arts organizations reach more people, capture knowledge about effective practices toward this goal, and make that knowledge known to a broad constituency of arts professionals. The Wallace Foundation’s grant in part will support the Cultural Alliance’s ongoing collaborative marketing initiatives, which are focused on increasing engagement in the arts and culture region wide. By adding further support to local arts organizations and commissioning research, the collaboration will promote the effective exchange of knowledge – extending the benefits of this work to many other organizations beyond those that receive individual awards. The initiative will include a series of seminars/workshops and technical assistance on market research and evaluation of audience development efforts. The research plans include mapping the region’s demographics, market demand analysis, probing motivators and barriers, and analyzing the impact of tourism on arts attendance.

The Wallace Foundation takes a city-based approach to its arts funding to help improve arts participation across a whole community. Wallace chose Philadelphia as one of four sites for this effort because of the city’s high concentration and variety of arts organizations. The city stood out among other sites because of the robust collaboration among local funders and arts organizations around informing and supporting cultural participation. San Francisco is the other city chosen for Wallace Excellence Awards grants in 2007.  Chicago and Boston were chosen in 2006.

“The Excellence Awards honor organizations that have made a commitment to engage more people deeply in the arts part of their DNA,” said Christine DeVita, President of The Wallace Foundation. “We created these awards to draw national attention to the importance of engaging more people in the arts, to encourage organizations to sustain and expand the impact of their work with local constituencies, and to generate an assortment of useful, broadly-applicable lessons and practices that will be helpful to the field.”

"We at The Philadelphia Foundation are committed to expanding community engagement and so are very pleased by The Wallace Foundation’s recognition of Philadelphia’s extraordinary arts organizations and, more importantly, of the support needed to strengthen public participation. We are honored to partner with The Wallace Foundation in this initiative for Philadelphia," said Andrew Swinney, President of The Philadelphia Foundation.  Nancy Burd, Vice President for Grantmaking Services for The Philadelphia Foundation, added: "We look forward to collaborating with the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance in establishing a network that will encourage regional arts organizations to work together to maximize opportunities for every member of the community to benefit from all that participation in the arts has to offer.”

“The Wallace Foundation’s passion and commitment to the arts has transformed arts participation across the country,” said Peggy Amsterdam, President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “Having the Excellence Awards recognize Philadelphia arts institutions brings national acclaim to the excitement and vitality of the city’s arts organizations and their impact on this incredibly vibrant city.”
 
2006 Wallace Excellence Award recipients are:
In Boston - The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Lyric Opera, From the Top, The Huntington Theatre Company, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

In Chicago - The Beverly Arts Center, The Black Ensemble Theater, Chicago Sinfonietta, Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, Hyde Park Art Center, Merit School of Music, Music of the Baroque, Steppenwolf Theatre, and the Victory Gardens Theater.

The Wallace Foundation
The Wallace Foundation is an independent, national foundation dedicated to supporting and sharing effective ideas and practices that expand learning and enrichment opportunities for all people. Its three current objectives are: strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement; improving out-of-school learning opportunities; and building appreciation and demand for the arts. The foundation maintains a Knowledge Center of free publications on what it has learned at www.wallacefoundation.org.

The Philadelphia Foundation  
The Philadelphia Foundation, a public charity, is Southeastern Pennsylvania’s leading center for community philanthropic engagement and is committed to improving the quality of life in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties through funds established by its donors. The mission of The Philadelphia Foundation is as vital now as it was in 1918 when it was first established. Today, with more than $325 million in charitable assets under management, The Philadelphia Foundation continues to help donors harness their generosity and vision by providing tools, knowledge and financial stewardship directed to maximize the strategic impact of charitable contributions. Grants from more than 750 charitable funds strengthen the effectiveness of nonprofits and support programs that are vital to the people of this region.

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance  
The Cultural Alliance leads the effort to expand awareness of, participation in and support for arts and culture in the Greater Philadelphia region.  The Alliance serves 350+ member organizations, ranging from museums and dance companies to community art centers, historic sites, music ensembles, and zoos. Services to the field include cultural policy, grantmaking, member services and, with funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts, collaborative marketing. Highlights of recent activities are FunSavers, a discount ticket e-mail program serving 64,000 subscribers; Arts, Culture, and Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia, a 2007 report that documents the substantial economic impact of arts and culture in the region; and the Philadelphia Cultural List Cooperative, the largest database of cultural consumers in the country.

 

WALLACE EXCELLENCE AWARDS – PHILADELPHIA, PA
LIST OF NEWLY NAMED GRANTEES

The ANNENBERG CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA is a major cultural destination and crossroads in the performing arts, connecting Philadelphia regional audiences and the University through exposure to innovative human expression in theatre, music, and dance.

The Center highlights the value of the performing arts by presenting world renowned and emerging artists and companies which express adventuresome perspectives on contemporary issues, timeless ideas, and diverse cultures. By offering contextualization programs, featuring University of Pennsylvania faculty as well as experts from the artistic and business communities, the Center promotes critical thinking among its audiences, creating uniquely rewarding arts experiences.

The Annenberg Center will receive $750,000 over 4 years to pilot and evaluate a values-driven Strategic Audience Development Initiative in the Philadelphia region. By designing and implementing a segmentation strategy in marketing and development, the Annenberg Center will substantially broaden arts participation as measured by annual increases in attendance, the number of donors, percentage of house sold and average ticket price.  Project activities will include creating and testing an audience development “tool kit” (combining conventional methodologies with emerging technologies to generate values-based messaging), designing and administering the next generation of a values survey instrument (a “universal customer profile”) to leverage increased audience and donor participation, expanding the donor base by launching the Annenberg Center Guild, and curating the By Local project to provide technical assistance, marketing and subsidized production support for 16 Philadelphia performing artists and groups across multiple genres.

ARDEN THEATRE COMPANY is celebrating its 20th Anniversary Season of bringing great stories by great storytellers to life. It draws from multiple sources that are inherently theatrical - fiction, nonfiction, poetry, music and drama. The Arden presents diverse programs for the greater Philadelphia community, encouraging the sharing of human experiences and thereby building empathy and mutual understanding. More than 100,000 patrons attended programs last season at the Arden.

Arden Theatre Company will receive $425,000 over four years to create programming that builds bridges, transforming Arden children’s theatre participants into mainstage theatre participants. It endeavors to do this by creating a series of meaningful theatre experiences that follow audience members through their childhood, teen and young adult years. The key goals of this initiative are to increase audience attendance at children’s theatre; to build crossover participation from children’s theatre to mainstage theatre; to increase Arden Kids Crew and summer camp enrollment; and to develop new teen classes and teen camp programs.

FLEISHER ART MEMORIAL was founded by Philadelphia industrialist Samuel Fleisher in 1898 as a free art school for immigrants and factory workers which “invited the world to come and learn art.” For over 100 years, the Fleisher Art Memorial has fulfilled his vision to provide a place in which people of all ages and backgrounds come together to appreciate and make art. Today, Fleisher’s Art School offers over 200 classes, many still tuition-free, for over 4,000 children and adults each year. Its wide-ranging exhibition program features the work of hundreds of artists and welcomes 7,000 annual visitors, and its Community Partnerships in the Arts program, which delivers in-school and after-school artist residencies for over 500 local youth annually, has been recognized as a national model for community partnership, due particularly to its effective teacher training program.

The Fleisher Art Memorial will receive $320,000 over four years to invest in new programming designed to overcome barriers to sustained participation in the arts in Southeastern Philadelphia. Planned activities include developing an expanded, full-day summer art program for youth; instituting a series of free, year-round, family workshops held on Sunday afternoons; and offering an on-site after-school program to significantly increase art-making opportunities for youth. Over the grant period, 1,750 new participants are expected to become involved in art making at Fleisher.

THE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA OF PHILADELPHIA, founded in 1964, brings great music, performed with the utmost integrity and on the highest possible level of artistic excellence – to the people of Philadelphia. Under the artistic leadership of Music Director Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the Chamber Orchestra performs ten concert pairs per season featuring the very best works of the chamber orchestra repertoire, spanning the entire history of the medium. The Chamber Orchestra performs its subscription concerts in Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, where it has been a resident company since 2002.

The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia will receive $692,000 over four years as it endeavors to broaden its audience through three new programs. First, it will be performing four “Rush Hour” concerts per season in new Center City Philadelphia condominiums in an effort to market the Chamber Orchestra to new potential audience members living in and around the Avenue of the Arts. Second, it will be performing one Neighborhood and Family concert per season on the Main Line (Year 1 and Year 3) and in Chestnut Hill (Year 2 and Year 4). And third, the orchestra will be collaborating with select non-profit organizations in Philadelphia on one concert per season featuring programs that resonate with the missions of the respective organizations. The ultimate objective of this four-year initiative will be to reach new audiences for The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and increase the number of subscribers and single-ticket buyers to its concerts.

THE CLAY STUDIO, founded in 1974, is a non-profit educational arts organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the ceramic arts and the work of new clay artists. The Clay Studio supports the ceramic arts through its artist residencies, gallery, studio space, school, educational and outreach programs, and permanent collection. The Clay Studio believes in promoting broad access to the ceramic arts and gears its programs to all levels of interest and proficiency.

The Clay Studio will receive $375,000 over four years to broaden and deepen participation among culturally-inclined, young urban professionals, 25 to 45 years old, living or working in the city of Philadelphia. Through extensive market research and analysis, The Clay Studio will develop a plan to expand modes of engagement, which will include opportunities to interact with artists, peers and mentors, and hands-on family events. Through these efforts, The Clay Studio will offer high quality interactive experiences that encourage frequent and rewarding visits.

PHILADELPHIA THEATRE COMPANY (PTC), founded in 1974, PTC is a not-for-profit theater company dedicated to producing and developing new American plays, a mission it shares with only a few theater companies nationwide. In 32 seasons, it has produced more than 130 world and regional premieres, providing theater artists and the nation’s leading and emerging playwrights an environment that supports artistic excellence. Each season, it serves a highly diverse audience of 45,000 people of all ages and backgrounds, including 5,000 students from Philadelphia public high schools. Over 50% of all new plays developed at PTC have moved to New York and other major cities. In October 2007, PTC opens the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, its new home on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts. With a 365-seat proscenium mainstage and a 100-seat second stage for experimental work, readings, family productions and education programming, the theater’s universal design makes it one of the country’s most accessible new performing arts venues.

Philadelphia Theatre Company will receive a grant of $410,000 over four years to support a marketing initiative designed to broaden its audiences among selected suburban centers in the Greater Philadelphia region. The grant will also be used to diversify its audience among the region’s African American community by providing new theater education and performance attendance opportunities among selected African American Church congregations and their young adults. Lastly, the grant will be used to establish new programming for families with children and teens that includes productions, workshops, and a Parent Advisory Council to help in the selection of productions, and the development of family education activities and family marketing materials.

THE OPERA COMPANY OF PHILADELPHIA (OCP) has been the premier opera-producing organization in the Greater Philadelphia area since its formation in 1975. Each season, OCP produces four fully-staged productions in Philadelphia’s historic Academy of Music, with five to six performances of each production. OCP is committed to presenting outstanding operatic offerings of both traditional and new repertoire that appeal to a culturally diverse audience.

The Opera Company of Philadelphia will receive $750,000 over four years to fortify and expand its efforts to encourage re-entry of the 45-54 age demographic into the opera market. OCP will conduct product trials, focus groups, and audience surveys that will guide the development of a comprehensive communication plan utilizing both new and traditional media. OCP will also establish a technology plan optimizing access for the target market and enhancing its existing adult education activities that encourage participation, increase knowledge and maximize enjoyment of the opera experience.

THE PHILADELPHIA LIVE ARTS FESTIVAL AND PHILLY FRINGE, founded in 1997, is celebrated in Philadelphia and nationwide for its presentations of the best in cutting-edge, boundary-breaking performing arts events, created by renowned contemporary artists from the region and, increasingly, from around the world. The Festival now brings in over 40,000 audience members annually to as many as 170 different productions throughout the City of Philadelphia, over only 16 days. The Festival emphasizes low barriers to participation, through an inexpensive ticket pricing structure and the availability of free, informal, and site-specific performances, providing an alternative to the “red chair” traditional arts experience. The Festival  also provides a social framework for all participation:  through talkbacks, receptions, workshops, panel discussions, a nightly “Late Night Cabaret,” and other opportunities for engaging with the Fringe community.

The Live Arts & Philly Fringe will receive $364,000 over four years to streamline student outreach activities into an integrated program called Fringe 101. This grant will enable the Festival to: update online technology and increase online visibility among students; build effective relationships on campuses; market Fringe 101 in targeted publications; build email/mailing lists and awareness; and provide social student-specific opportunities, making it as easy as possible for Philadelphia’s 300,000 students to become audience participants.


THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA, founded in 1900, touches the lives of more than one million music lovers worldwide through its performances, publications, recordings, and broadcasts. The Orchestra’s subscription season in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall runs from September to May, supplemented by school and community concerts and annual appearances at Carnegie Hall. The Orchestra’s summer schedule includes an outdoor series at Philadelphia’s Mann Center, free Neighborhood Concerts, three weeks at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and an annual week-long residency at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

The Philadelphia Orchestra will receive $750,000 over four years to develop, market, and implement a segmented program model that studies audience needs and interests and creates tailored program series. A major survey of ticket buyers will be conducted to determine the factors that motivate concert attendance, with the resulting data used to inform the series’ design. The goal is to deepen the connection and commitment between current audiences and the music, engage interested but less motivated concertgoers, enhance artistic excellence, and open the door for those with little prior classical music experience. The Orchestra will also expand its use of electronic media for concert enhancement and transmission, develop a more robust web presence, and create an online community where audiences of varying ages (and nationalities) can interact with the Orchestra.

THE WILMA THEATER, founded in 1973 as The Wilma Project, exists to present theater as an art form, engaging artists and audiences in an adventure of aesthetic philosophical reflection of the complexities of contemporary life. It accomplishes its mission by producing thoughtful, well-crafted productions of intelligent, daring plays that represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and production styles. Blanka Zizka and Jiri Zizka of former Czechoslovakia forged a creative relationship with The Wilma Project and gained national acclaim for their bold productions.  In 1981, they assumed artistic leadership, changing the name of the organization to The Wilma Theater.

The Wilma Theater will receive $480,000 over four years to broaden participation and engage audiences by formally integrating previously tested audience development initiatives and enhancing the theatergoing experience through value-added ancillary programming. The approach to audience development is bilateral: 1) Broaden the core audience through participation in symposia and topical discussion events; and 2) Formalize its “building the audiences of tomorrow” campaign to increase high school and college student participation through Wilma Classroom and Ticket Subsidy programs.

 

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