How can arts organizations attract newer, younger audiences? This PowerPoint presentation synthesizes market research conducted by 25 arts organizations in Wallace’s Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative, along with secondary literature, and offers clues to action. Several barriers keep this group from the arts, the presentation suggests, including misperceptions about ticket prices, a lack of awareness of arts organizations, busy schedules and other leisure events that compete for their time.

It may be possible for arts organizations to overcome these barriers, the presentation argues. Among the ideas organizations could consider:

  • Be clear about pricing. Many millennials assume that tickets cost more than they actually do.
  • Clearly communicate the benefits of the arts. Millennials report seeking experiences that challenge them emotionally and intellectually, encourage self-discovery, and offer them a release from the stresses of everyday life. Arts organizations could convince millennials to attend performances if they highlighted these aspects of the arts.
  • Create social experiences. Millennials appear to value events that allow them to attend in groups and interact with their peers.
  • Focus on “buzz-worthiness.” Younger audiences are attracted to experiences others will like and share on social media.

A version of this presentation was delivered at a November 2016 meeting of arts organizations that are participating in The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative.

 Points of Interest

  • Misperceptions about ticket prices may be keeping millennials from the performing arts. One study found millennials pegged the price of the cheapest ticket as more than twice as expensive as it actually was.
    Perceptions of ticket prices may keep #millennials from the #arts. Many think shows cost more than they do.
  • Group experiences that get attention on social media could help arts organizations attract younger audiences.
    Group experiences that get attention on social media could help arts organizations attract #millennials.
  • Arts offer millennials much of what they seek: adventure, entertainment, enrichment, release and a connection to something larger than themselves. Arts organizations could attract millennials by clearly communicating these benefits.
    #Millennials seek enrichment, release and connection. Orgs could attract them by highlighting these benefits of #art.

 Supplementary Materials

  • Fewer 18 to 34 year olds attend performing arts events than previous 18 to 34 year olds
  • Prospects for several organizations thought tickets cost more than they do. Communicating prices may help.