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Helping Museums Navigate Through the COVID-19 Fog21907GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>​​Museums, like the rest of the country, are grasping for ways to endure America’s largest economic disruption since the Great Depression. Few yet understand the true effects of the coronavirus pandemic; none can precisely predict how they will shape the future.</p><p>In such murky times, we must chart our courses based on educated guesses about the road ahead. We must prepare as best we can for the potholes and forks we might encounter along the way. And we must reevaluate plans as the fog clears and a new cultural and economic landscape begins to reveal itself.</p><p>Two documents from the American Alliance of Museums may help with this daunting task. <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Three-New-Scenarios.2020.pdf" target="_blank">Three New Scenarios for Financial Survival in 2020</a>, written by Elizabeth Merritt, the alliance’s vice president for strategic foresight, helps envision three different ways in which the pandemic may play out and how museums could prepare for each of them. And <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Considerations-for-Museum-Reopenings-5.27.2020.pdf" target="_blank">Considerations for Museum Reopenings</a> ponders measures museums may need to enact to help ensure safety when they welcome visitors again.</p><p>Wallace’s editorial team spoke with Merritt to see how museums, and perhaps other organizations as well, could build on those documents and create plans for possible scenarios in their own communities. An edited transcript of our conversation follows.</p><p> <strong>The Wallace Foundation&#58; The first step to coming up with possible scenarios for the future is to get the right information. You cited a few resources in <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Three-New-Scenarios.2020.pdf">Three New Scenarios for Financial Survival in 2020</a>. How do you decide where to go for information in this uncertain time? </strong></p><p> <strong>Elizabeth Merritt&#58;</strong> Usually, foresight scanning encompasses a range of material. You look at both credible, mainstream projections, and you're intentionally looking at fringe sources so you don't get trapped into confirmation bias and only see what everybody in the mainstream is expecting to happen.</p><p>However, in this situation, it felt prudent to stick with the most authoritative sources of information. I don't think projections on how the pandemic will play out is where you want to be looking at fringe sources. So that's why I focus on, for example, research from major universities. </p><p>Three that I keep going back to are the <a href="https&#58;//www.hsph.harvard.edu/" target="_blank">T.H. Chan School of Public Health</a> at Harvard, the <a href="http&#58;//www.healthdata.org/" target="_blank">Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation</a> at the University of Washington and the <a href="https&#58;//coronavirus.jhu.edu/" target="_blank">Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center</a>.</p><p>The other thing is that there's such a huge amount of information out there. I'm not an expert or an epidemiologist, so one of the things I rely on is responsible science reporting from people I trust. For example, the science reporters I look at regularly are <a href="https&#58;//www.theatlantic.com/author/ed-yong/" target="_blank">Ed Yong</a> and <a href="https&#58;//www.nytimes.com/by/carl-zimmer" target="_blank">Carl Zimmer</a>. </p><p>I turn to them because, having done strategic foresight scanning for 10 years now, you get to know somebody’s body of work and you get a feeling for how they look for sources and how good they are at synthesis. I've also listened to several interviews with each of them about their process of science reporting, and I think both of those writers are very meticulous and responsible in how they find their sources and make their summaries.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Now once you had that information, you picked different indicators for your low-, medium- and high-impact scenarios, including the number of infections, the number of deaths, unemployment figures, etc. How do you choose the indicators you look at? How do you determine the levels they must reach in order to fit the scenarios you lay out? </strong></p><p> <strong>EM&#58;</strong> One of the daunting things about planning in the wake of a disruptive event like this is that there are literally an unlimited number of potential combinations of the variables. But if you contemplate that fact, you’ll just freeze. It isn’t possible to wrap your head around that number of possibilities.</p><p>The whole point of creating scenarios is to provide a manageable framework for planning by collapsing all those possibilities into a few manageable stories. The stories aren't meant to be exclusive; those aren't the only things that could happen. They are three credible, useful starting points to think about what <em>could</em> happen.</p><p>In general scenario planning, you might use <a href="http&#58;//www.foresightguide.com/dator-four-futures/" target="_blank">a framework that comes from Jim Dator of the Manoa School of Future Studies at the University of Hawaii</a>. The classic four-scenario set might be a scenario of growth, where everything's getting better, a scenario of collapse, where there are very few resources, a scenario of constraint, where there's one big constraint going forward, and a transformative future in which things could be wildly different.</p><p>But that's for general foresight. In this particular situation, where you're looking at a very specific issue—how bad is this for the next 16 months—it seemed obvious that the basic categories should be low, medium or high impact.</p><p>Once I had those three categories, I created the list of variables that might fit them. Again, the list of variables could be endless, so I tried to pick a manageable number of things that are clearly important. Variables that, if you left them out, anybody looking at the scenarios would say there's a gap in that picture. How can you not look at the unemployment projections, for example?</p><p>I then went back to my credible sources, looked at the range of values those variables could take, and then partitioned them into ranges. I looked at how good it might be, how bad it could turn out to be, and then the number that falls in between those extremes for the medium impact category.</p><p>I think it’s important to realize that when you're doing scenarios like this, especially in a situation like this that's evolving so quickly and where critical decisions need to be made pretty quickly, the perfect is the enemy of the good. None of these scenarios are perfect. But they're good enough to get you thinking. They are tools to help you think about what might happen.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Given that the pandemic is playing out differently in different parts of the country, should different museums think differently about scenario planning? Or do you think this is a general framework anyone can use?</strong></p><p> <strong>EM&#58;</strong> I absolutely think the scenarios have to be tailored for a specific locality. How this is playing out is very different, not only by region but potentially also on a very local level. Many specific circumstances are determining how the effects vary. </p><p>For example, I was listening to <a href="https&#58;//www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/05/11/854157898/coronavirus-infections-continue-to-rise-on-navajo-nation" target="_blank">an NPR story</a> that said that, if the Navajo Nation were a state, it would have the highest rate of coronavirus infections per capita after New York. That's a very rural, sparsely populated area. You might wonder why they would have such a high density of COVID cases when all the other hotspots are cities. It's because their infrastructure for food, water, health and housing is so poor due to a long history of neglect and mismanagement by the federal government. </p><p>That's very specific. You couldn't go to another area in the U.S. that's comparably rural and has a similar population density and say that it's going to be like the Navajo Nation. They had very specific parameters that's making the pandemic play out so badly there.</p><p>So I think any organization, when it takes the scenarios I wrote, should use them as a starting point and modify them to their circumstances. They should look for the best numbers they can find that are applicable to their situation.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Are there any tips you could offer people to help them modify them to their local situation?</strong></p><p> <strong>EM&#58;</strong> I think the best way to do scenario planning, including editing and modifying something like the templates I created, is to get together a bunch of smart people, hopefully from very different backgrounds and points of view, and talk it over. With a group like that, somebody's going to say, ‘Hey, you know, that just feels wrong. That might be true for the nation, but that's not how it's playing out in Des Moines, Iowa,’ for example.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; When you wrote your essay about a month ago, the low-impact future envisioned 100,000 deaths by the end of 2020; we’re already past 80,000 in May. The medium-impact scenario envisioned unemployment at 15 percent by the end of the year; we're already here. Given how quickly the situation is changing, and always seems to be worse than we thought, are those low- or medium-impact scenarios something anybody should consider anymore? Should we just be preparing for the worst-case scenario now?</strong></p><p> <strong>EM&#58;</strong> We're already past 81,000 deaths in the U.S. and I think it was up to like 287,000 globally. On unemployment, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said this past weekend that the U.S. unemployment rate <a href="https&#58;//www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/05/10/853505446/unemployment-numbers-will-get-worse-before-they-get-better-mnuchin-says" target="_blank">may have already reached 25 percent</a>. The Congressional Budget Office, which is widely considered to be nonpartisan and credible, forecasts that <a href="https&#58;//www.cbo.gov/publication/56335" target="_blank">unemployment rates will stay in the double digits</a>, not only for the rest of this year but through 2021. So yes, we should take the riskiest scenario very seriously. </p><p>But the whole point of scenario planning is to remember that we don't have a crystal ball. We don't know what will happen. The point is to always consider and plan for a range of potential situations because that way you stay open to a number of appropriate responses.</p><p>As things develop and as you see how the numbers play out, some of the projections are going to get more and more accurate because we're getting closer and closer to that point in time. So it's definitely going to be necessary to refine the scenarios that an organization is working with.</p><p>But there always should be more than one scenario, even if you narrow the range of how good or bad it could be. You always want to be planning for a range of potential options because the real key to successful planning is being nimble and responsive; to not just take one look, say, ‘this is what's going to happen,’ create a plan and execute the plan and find out you ended up in the wrong place because the ground shifted underneath you.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; At what point do you narrow that range? At what point do you decide that a scenario you had once envisioned wasn’t really worth considering? </strong></p><p> <strong>EM&#58; </strong>That's where your little group of planners is really useful. At some point, it becomes a judgment call. </p><p>One thing you can do to formalize that decision is to say, ‘What are the trigger points in these scenarios? If we got to point X, then we're pretty sure that we can take these other scenarios off the table.’ For example, an organization might have envisioned a scenario in which there’s so much economic relief from the <a href="https&#58;//www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program" target="_blank">Paycheck Protection Program</a> that most businesses don’t have to lay off workers. Its plans for that scenario wouldn't work because <a href="https&#58;//www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/statement-secretary-mnuchin-and-administrator-carranza-paycheck-protection-program-and-economic" target="_blank">there wasn't enough money</a> and <a href="https&#58;//www.nytimes.com/2020/04/20/business/shake-shack-returning-loan-ppp-coronavirus.html" target="_blank">it wasn't distributed effectively</a> to a lot of small businesses. So at that point, you know that the best case is off the table.</p><p>You can identify those turning points. You can say, ‘We should be looking at what happens when this projection is issued by this agency, or when there's a vote in Congress on this relief bill.’ If you pre-identify where those key turning points are, you'll have a prompt for when to reevaluate and update the scenarios.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Moving on to responses, one of the drivers of museum attendance that will almost certainly be limited for a while is travel. How should different museums think about how they should plan for reductions in travel and tourism in the future?</strong></p><p> <strong>EM&#58;</strong> There already are a lot of museums that aren't heavily reliant on tourism. They're reliant on visitation from their local communities. These might be museums that somebody one, two, three towns over or one state over have never heard of.</p><p>I think it would be very difficult for large museums whose business models are based on large numbers of international tourists, the kind of museums that are part of what's driving tourism to New York City or San Francisco or Chicago, it's very hard for museums of that size to pivot to serving local audiences in a way that would generate the same income.</p><p>You could even have museums that are in relatively remote areas that rely on drive-by tourism. Museums people stop at because they always stop on the way to the Grand Canyon. If people stop driving to the Grand Canyon, they're not going to have that traffic and they may not be able to find a comparably large local audience because there aren't a sufficient number of people living there.</p><p>If you're a large museum that has a very large endowment that's underwriting a lot of your operating expenses, the lack of travel may be a blow to your feeling of fulfillment. But if you're not relying heavily on earned income, it may not be a big blow to your economics.</p><p>Conversely, you might be relying very heavily on the earned income. That's a financial problem. Then you'd be having to say, ‘Well, if these are our relatively fixed immutable operating costs, where else could we find the money?’</p><p>It’s probably challenging to shift the earned income from an international audience to a comparably large local audience. So you might have to say, can we get more government funding? Can we find more foundations willing to underwrite who we are and what we do? </p><p>A lot of what museums do is relatively inflexible. You're not going to suddenly constrict and shed part of your property. You're not going to get rid of huge chunks of your collections. Unfortunately, what some museums may find themselves forced to do is lay off staff for longer periods of time. Or stop doing some things that are very important parts of their service to the public, things like research or conservation or public education.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; In <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Three-New-Scenarios.2020.pdf" target="_blank">Considerations for Museum Reopenings</a>, you noted a few things that museums could do to adhere to rules of social distancing, such as marking six-foot distances on the ground and ensuring one-way traffic through galleries. Given the changes in our understanding of the effects and transmission of the virus, is there a way for museums to prepare if new information comes to light?</strong></p><p> <strong>EM&#58;</strong> I'm going to pivot slightly from that to what sorts of expectations museums should be living up to. If you're talking about recommendations like health and sanitation and how many people should be in the building, a lot of that is going to come from on high, from organizations like the CDC or local government.</p><p>I think museums are deciding that, on top of those concerns, they need to listen to the concerns of their staff and their audiences. For example, the governor of Texas has said that museums can reopen, with some restrictions about how many people can be in them. But the vast majority of museums in Texas <a href="https&#58;//www.kvue.com/article/entertainment/places/coronavirus-texas-museums-open-closed-list-gov-abbott-reopen-plan/269-27eb1153-43a0-49dc-ae56-77d5d175424b" target="_blank">are not reopening yet</a>, probably because they haven't felt that it's safe and appropriate for their staff and their communities. Museums may choose to go above and beyond basic safety measures or what has been allowed by authorities if they feel that those extra measures are prudent and responsible.</p><p>We have to acknowledge that there's a limited amount we know about what's really going to keep us safe. And that's probably going to change month to month. Six feet isn't a magical number; they're starting to come out with permutations, like if you’re bicycling, it might be more like 20 or 30 feet. So don't put permanent six-foot markers on the floor because next week, the recommendation might be 10 feet.</p><p>Besides listening to experts, I think the real burden on museums is having that room full of stakeholders, whether its staff or members of the community, to guide them. The safety measures mandated or recommended by experts is the minimum. It's quite possible that what makes people feel safe is going to be over and above that, and that's important too.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; So it’s clearly a difficult and worrisome situation. We’ve seen it get worse than we thought it would get and it’s not showing very many signs of getting better. Do you see any silver linings here?</strong></p><p> <strong>EM&#58;</strong> I've already seen some people writing that any crisis is also an opportunity. If the system is broken, maybe this is an opportunity for the U.S. in general and museums specifically to engage in some reinvention. </p><p>The good news is that the system was already broken, so you don't need anybody's permission to start saying, ‘maybe it should be different.’</p><p>Destabilized moments are opportunities for change. Maybe as a country we’ll be spurred to develop more resilient and mutually supportive systems that ensure vulnerable populations are protected from the effects of global disaster. Even better, maybe we will work together, making sure there are fewer vulnerable populations like the Navajo Nation.</p><p>But specifically about museums, this stress reveals vulnerabilities. Museum financial models are very vulnerable. They rely on some earned income, some charitable income, some government income, and usually on a very thin margin. </p><p>Part of the problem is a lot of funders are only willing to fund specific pieces of the work. They might fund a program or a new building. That funding, if it's like bricks-and-mortar capital campaigns, may actually add to the operating costs without providing any more benefit to the community. If you fund a program, it may deliver the program, but it may not actually increase the health and resilience of the organization that's developing the program. So I'm hoping that this crisis might spark a pivot towards more general operating funds and unrestricted endowments that make museums more resilient and stable when we have a disaster like this.</p>Wallace editorial team792020-06-04T04:00:00ZThe pandemic could play out in many different ways. Here’s how arts organizations could plan for them.6/4/2020 9:01:18 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Helping Museums Navigate Through the COVID-19 Fog The pandemic could play out in many different ways I'm not an expert or an 552https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
10 Things Museums Should Consider as They Take Programs Virtual21786GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>In the wake of COVID-19, many museums and other arts organizations have rapidly <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/engaging-audiences-in-the-age-of-social-distancing.aspx" target="_blank">moved their programming online</a> to help audiences in their community and around the world continue to feel connected. According to David Resnicow, president and cofounder of <a href="https&#58;//resnicow.com/" target="_blank">Resnicow and Associates</a>*, a communications agency serving cultural institutions and enterprises, there are additional steps museums should take to thrive in the long-run. </p><p>Resnicow writes in <em>ARTnews</em>&#58; </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">During the past month, museums across the globe have been faced with suddenly transforming themselves from physical spaces designed to immerse visitors in installations and on-site programs into producers and distributors of online multimedia content. Without any preparation or playbook. Rather than deliver visitors to the museum, museums must now deliver themselves to the visitor.</p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">The medium is the museum.</p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">My firm has spent 28 years working with major museums’ communications offices in crafting the ways they present themselves to the outside world. In this new world, the communications office finds itself playing a leading role, not a supporting one. It constructs the virtual front door to an amorphous venue that simultaneously welcomes visitors and presents programming. Of course, museums have long produced digital content to support their real-world initiatives, but with the digital realm now the lone space available for engaging the community, they are navigating uncharted territory, with vastly differing visitor patterns and audience reach.</p><p>To read the full op-ed, <a href="https&#58;//www.artnews.com/art-news/news/museums-online-how-to-survive-1202685967/" target="_blank">click here</a>. </p><p>*Resnicow and Associates works with Wallace staff on many of our arts initiatives. </p>Wallace editorial team792020-05-28T04:00:00ZOp-Ed in ARTNews offers advice for museums approaching the new digital reality5/28/2020 7:35:38 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / 10 Things Museums Should Consider as They Take Programs Virtual Op-Ed in ARTnews offers advice for museums approaching the 223https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Engaging Audiences in the Age of Social Distancing3400GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​As social distancing measures are enacted across the globe to slow the spread of COVID-19, arts organizations are taking creative approaches to engage their audiences through nontraditional means. In recent weeks, museums, galleries and performing arts organizations have significantly expanded their online offerings through virtual tours of their collections, broadcasts of performances and interactive educational programs, making their work more accessible to a greater public. The Metropolitan Opera, for instance, announced that it would stream encore performances of its most famous productions, free to the general public. Similarly, the National Theatre in London is releasing new performances from their archives every Thursday, made available for free and “on demand” to audiences for a full week. While the crisis has brought tremendous uncertainty, it has also created opportunities to reach new audiences at a time when the sanctuary and connection offered by the arts is needed most. </p><p>“The traditional live arts experience has been predicated on physically bringing people together, and it relies so heavily on the chemistry between performer and audience, and the immediacy of that exchange,” noted Corinna Schulenburg, director of communications at Theater Communications Group “As we all adapt to new ways of working, we are seeing a real flourishing of experimentation that will likely have a long-lasting impact on how we present and create art.” </p><p>Many of the performing arts organizations in The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS) initiative have also implemented similar efforts to meet audiences where they are. From free broadcasts to classes and educational workshops, these offerings help audiences in their community—and around the world—continue to feel connected. A sample of digital events and activities are outlined below, with more content added regularly.</p><ul><li> <strong>Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has </strong>started the <a href="https&#58;//www.alvinailey.org/ailey-all-access">Ailey All Access</a>,&#160;an online streaming series allowing audiences to connect with performances, including full length works from the repertory, Ailey Extension dance classes, and original short films created by the Ailey dancers.<br><strong><br></strong></li><li> <strong>Baltimore Symphony Orchestra</strong> has expanded their offerings on <a href="https&#58;//www.bsomusic.org/offstage">BSO Offstage</a>, an online platform where audiences can find performance videos, BSO podcasts, and other content and resources. <br> <strong> <br></strong></li><li> <strong>La Jolla Playhouse</strong>’s online <a href="https&#58;//lajollaplayhouse.org/the-staging-area/">Staging&#160;Area</a>&#160;is dedicated to virtual content, which features conversations with La Jolla artists and weekly posts from Playhouse artists and staff who share their favorite stories and memories. <br> <br> <strong></strong></li><li> <b>Opera Philadelphia </b>brings you opera on the couch through its first-ever <a href="https&#58;//www.operaphila.org/festival/digital-festival/lineup/?promo=145780">Digital Festival​</a>, with free streams of five past productions, including four world premier​es​. &#160; &#160;<br> <br> <strong> </strong></li><li> <strong>Pacific Northwest Ballet</strong> has posted at-home workouts for dancers and footage of rehearsals shot before their lockdown on their <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/PNBallet">Twitter</a> and <a href="https&#58;//bit.ly/InstaPNB">Instagram</a>, while also uploading articles to their <a href="https&#58;//blogpnborg.wordpress.com/">blog</a>. <br> <br> <strong></strong></li><li> <strong>Seattle Opera </strong>has created a special section on their website, <a href="https&#58;//www.seattleopera.org/inside-look/opera-at-home/">Opera at Home</a>,&#160;which features new playlists, talks, podcasts and other online content for their audiences. <br> <br> <strong></strong></li><li> <strong>Seattle Symphony</strong>’s musicians will share <a href="https&#58;//seattlesymphony.org/live">free broadcasts</a> with the public, streamed via the Symphony’s <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/seattlesymphony">YouTube</a>&#160;channel and&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/seattlesymphony">Facebook</a>.<br><br><strong> </strong></li><li> <strong>Steppenwolf Theatre Company </strong>is leading weekly free and public <a href="https&#58;//www.steppenwolf.org/education/">virtual workshops</a> for early career professional, teens&#160;and educators. They also released their interview-style podcast <a href="https&#58;//www.steppenwolf.org/tickets--events/half-hour-theatre-podcast/">Half Hour</a> this month. <br>​​<br><strong></strong></li><li> <strong>Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company </strong>has shifted their <a href="https&#58;//www.woollymammoth.net/events/springbenefit">Progressive Party</a> online—free and open to the public—allowing viewers to view performances, participate in an auction&#160;and experience a sneak-peak into Woolly’s 41st Season.<strong><u> </u></strong></li></ul> Wallace editorial team792020-04-16T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.5/19/2020 3:45:53 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Engaging Audiences in the Age of Social Distancing Arts organizations who participated in Wallace’s Building Audiences for 715https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Keeping Young People Creative (and Connected) in Quarantine9888GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning<p>​​Kylie Peppler, a researcher who focuses on the intersection of art, education and technology, authored the report, <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/new-opportunities-for-interest-driven-arts-learning-in-a-digital-age.aspx">New Opportunities for Interest-Driven Arts Learning in a Digital Age</a></em>, in 2013. Social media was relatively young then, and Peppler set out to determine ways in which it, along with other digital technologies, could help make up for cuts in arts education and help young people develop the creativity they need to become well-rounded adults.</p><p>Those cuts in arts education pale in comparison to the disruptions we face now, as the world struggles to contain the novel coronavirus. Schools and out-of-school programs are shuttered, young people are confined to their homes and, for many, digital technologies are now the only connection to art or the outside world.</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Literacy-Expert-on-Why-Kids-Must-Keep-Reading-During-This-Unprecedented-Moment/KylieHeadshot.jpg" alt="KylieHeadshot.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;219px;height&#58;219px;" />Wallace caught up with Peppler, now an associate professor at University of California, Irvine, to see how digital technologies could be used to keep young people engaged in an unprecedented era of social distancing and isolation. Below is an abridged and edited version of our conversation.</p><p> <strong>The Wallace Foundation&#58; You had written in the report about three benefits of the arts&#58; learning about oneself, learning about one's group and learning about other cultures. Can you talk a little bit about how you think any of those might apply in our situation now?</strong></p><p> <strong>Kylie Peppler&#58;</strong> Thinking about the self, there's a large body of research that points to the importance of expression and the therapeutic value of the arts. I think of <a href="https&#58;//www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/europe/italian-radio-national-anthem-intl-scli/index.html">the wonderful example from Italy</a> of people turning to music. People in my own neighborhood, every day at five o'clock, have a small concert and people social-distance in the street to come and listen.</p><p>Even as adults, we’re challenged to put words to this situation. For children, art can be so important in the expression of loss and sadness, of being cut off from friend groups and just how long this time must feel to them. It can be really valuable for them to visually represent those emotions, to put them to music, to dance, to drama.<br></p><p>My daughter is five. Her grandfather passed away, and she drew this lovely drawing that had two very similar parts. She later told me, “That was before, and this is after. Things are almost the same, but a little bit different now.” It struck me how aware she was, and it allowed us to have a conversation that we wouldn't have otherwise had.</p><p>As we think about the group, art gives us a way to understand ourselves, understand the people that are bunkering down with us and allows us to express that in ways that might evade words. Zoom was primarily a tool for business. But it has quickly turned to a tool we’re using to play music together, trying to do things that help us connect to one another. </p><p>We’re connecting through our creative writing and sharing of our stories. I've noticed my kids wanting to do more video production highlighting what this time is like and how similar and how varied all our experiences are. Sharing those messages and what that means brings us together.</p><p>In my own household, my kids and their cousins and friends are all meeting in Minecraft to build together and creating very meaningful pieces. Some high schools are <a href="https&#58;//www.today.com/parents/kid-creates-graduation-minecraft-after-school-closure-t176475">having graduation in Minecraft</a>. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; You spoke about four types of areas—the technical, the critical, the creative, the ethical. Can you think of any one of those areas that you would put more emphasis in as an educator? Are there opportunities to work on any of those four areas?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>I think there's opportunity to work across all four of them. I would put the creative at the center. We all need a creative mindset to get through this, to think about possibilities that aren't there and solve problems in new ways. Everything from cooking without all the right ingredients to using current technologies, but in in vastly different ways. </p><p>What are our boundaries and how can we defy them? How can we use what we have in hand to do something new? The arts have a way of teaching that. As we’re exposing kids to these creative expressions, we're looking at the tools that we might have buried in our garages or under the kitchen sink and thinking, well, what can I do with these today? </p><p>And that takes us into the technical. We start learning about STEM aspects of whatever our kids are creating. Whatever they want to create, they're not going to be able to get around the technical aspects; that they have to learn how to code, for example. </p><p>And our current moment puts, whether we like it or not, another emphasis on the critical and the ethical portions of arts. With <a href="https&#58;//www.politico.com/states/new-york/newsletters/politico-new-york-education/2020/04/06/carranza-says-city-will-transition-out-of-zoom-333886">this pushback on Zoom</a>, for example, we have more context to think through. We have to think about the pressure we're putting on companies to regulate themselves. We're putting pressure on schools and teachers to learn digital technologies, to update them and to use them thoughtfully. </p><p>When you’re in a creative line of thought, you have to think critically about how you're engaging children. So the critical and the ethical are definitely going to be important in this period.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; A large part of your report is about interest-driven arts, where young people select their creative pursuits for themselves. Now that young people are at home, perhaps with more freedom and less structure to select their pursuits, is there anything adults should be doing to direct them?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>A lot of times we have a notion of what kids <em>should</em> be doing or what we <em>should</em> be doing. It distracts us from seeing the value of what they're <em>actually</em> doing.<br> Why does my kid keep coming back to Minecraft, for example? What might they be learning? What social skills are they practicing? How can I talk to them about that? </p><p>I think the first part is to be curious to take a genuine interest.</p><p>My son, for example, just made a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Minecraft. But on the inside, he had created a garden. What was he thinking about there? It became a venue for us to talk about how little of his physical environment he can change, and how he’s turning to Minecraft to redesign things and explore ideas. </p><p>If we stay curious, if we stay interested, we can start to connect these things to children’s development and understanding. As adults we know what other people are going to value. We should be thinking about how we can help young people make small steps towards those things, through the things they’re already interested in, rather than saying, “Stop what you're doing, do this thing because society values it.”</p><p> <strong>WP&#58; In your report, you mentioned social learning networks and that they're not very well studied. Has that changed? If it has, are there any lessons about social learning that parents or educators might use in this period of social distancing?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>That's one area in which we have done a lot of design and development and research. We're still in early stages, but one thing that we know is that the wide-open internet is just too big for kids. If you start searching for something, you see all the solutions. Whether you're going on <a href="https&#58;//www.instructables.com/">instructables.com</a> or <a href="https&#58;//scratch.com/">scratch.com</a>, you're almost intimidated. There's just too much. </p><p>Right-sized developmental groups are coming up. <a href="https&#58;//diy.org/">DIY.org</a>, for example, has started creating camp-like structures. They're small groups where people with similar interests can come together. Seven or eight parents could band together with their kids, who all share the same interest and have weekly interactions. You could trade off among parents and have small homework groups. Why should it just be one parent working with one child? Why not band together and do group work? <a href="https&#58;//connectedcamps.com/">Connected Camps</a> is another one, led by my colleague, Mimi Ito. </p><p>Another thing we know that promotes interest-driven learning is that there's usually an audience for it. Pulling in an audience—as big or as small as right-sized for your kid—is important. Create a thirst and an accountability so they want to share what they learn. </p><p>Third, we’re looking at pathways. How do we move from one interest to the next piece? Maybe a kid has an ambition to be one of Beyonce’s backup dancers. How do I move from an interest to that next level? We've started thinking about ways to connect those interest-driven activities to future opportunity. </p><p>If you've got money and time, you can give your kids options. You have a large network of people, you've got other adults or other parents giving you other ideas as well. That's not true of all parents and all contexts. How can institutions like afterschool centers connect kids to those futures and to future economic opportunity?</p><p>We’ve found that new technologies can help do that. Social learning networks have blossomed. <a href="http&#58;//digitalyouthnetwork.org/staff/nichole-pinkard/">Nichole Pinkard</a>, for example, is starting to think about how learning opportunities can be connected to enrollments in other programs, and how all our policies and programs start to be well aligned to support future learning. </p><p> <strong>WF&#58; You mentioned diy.org and Connected Camps. In your report, you mentioned Etsy and Revelry as sites that might be constructive and artistic, but without the vitriol that we often see online. What is it about those sites that helps keep things constructive? What could parents and educators look for to ensure that time online is as constructive as possible and avoids the worst of the internet?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>A lot of social spaces can be constructive spaces if there's some accountability. To leave a comment, you need to log in, for example. There are also ways of monitoring. <a href="https&#58;//scratch.mit.edu/">Scratch.mit.edu</a>, for example, has full time monitors looking at things flagged by the community and pulling things off. A lot of times people will flag something as useful or flag something down. You want to look for that kind of group moderation or paid moderation. </p><p> <a href="https&#58;//www.commonsensemedia.org/">Common Sense Media</a> is a great place to start if you're looking for new apps or new web communities. But if you want a gut check, go right to the comments, go right to the forums and just see what kind of language people are using.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; Since young people are spending a lot of time online right now, perhaps with little supervision, are there ways for adults to differentiate between time spent constructively and time spent just to kill time? </strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>There are two things I think that you need to do. One is to look for the creative over the consumptive. Consuming it is quite easy and sometimes important. You can’t make a game if you've never played a game, for example. You can’t make a movie if you've never seen a movie. </p><p>But often, we're consuming way more than what we're producing. So look for the creative technologies, the ones in which kids are producing something, anything.</p><p>The second piece is to make it social. If you look at early studies about Sesame Street, for example, it wasn’t just kids watching Sesame Street. They were watching with parents or siblings or other adults. Adults have to take experiences kids learn and apply them to other situations. That's what we do well as adults. Kids don't see the connections between contexts. </p><p>Right now, while we’re shut in our homes, that’s a very large ask. Thinking about doing more together is stressful. But even if you're just trying to do it for 20 minutes a day, or one hour a day. The media consumption done together as opposed to apart can make small inroads.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; A lot of what we’ve talked about assumes there are parents at home while schools are closed. But the pandemic is affecting different socioeconomic groups in different ways. Many young people may be home from school, but the adults of the household may be out delivering mail, collecting trash, driving buses or operating trains. What can society do to keep such young people engaged? </strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>Structured and scheduled peer interactions can help. A physical example is the <a href="https&#58;//theclubhousenetwork.org/">Computer Clubhouse Network</a>. It’s an adult-supervised, physical space where kids come together, but the kid-to-adult ratio can be up to 100 to one. Still, those learning environments can be of higher quality than what we can do in our homes. Because the kids are involved in long-term production together.</p><p>So, before the parents go out the door, they could say, “Oh, at one o'clock. you've got this call by phone,” or a call with a grandparent, or with peers. Making these connections part of the rhythm of the day can be very helpful. Just bringing a peer group together, trying to have people meet in a video game and asking how it went that day, can make a difference.</p><p>You can try small things that could generate an audience. Taking the sidewalk chalk outside, for example, and having kids draw things. Maybe leaving a piece of chalk there for other people to respond. Different ways to kind of create audience to create that social community. </p><p>But, unfortunately, this is going to be one of our most inequitable times. Wifi is going to be a problem. Having the digital technologies is going to be a problem. I'm looking at school districts that have whole libraries of Notebooks and Chromebooks. They've got one per child, but they're not releasing them to homes. A lot of times we want to hold on to these technologies. We're not sure that we’ll get them back in the right condition or get them back at all.</p><p>But in reality, programs that do lend out their equipment are often amazed at how well-respected things are. These are things that people appreciate. They will take care of them. Give people a chance right now to meet that expectation.</p><p>Instead of canceling your programs, think about how you can move services. Let's take this as a time to go to the next level. How can I move my services to bring people into a Zoom chat? How can I lower their costs? How can I lobby to help them [kids] get wifi?</p><p>I hope, out of this, we’ll have lots of really cool stories about how people really stepped up in this time. It's still not going to be equitable, but we'll certainly know a lot more about how to achieve equity through all of this.</p><p> <strong>WF&#58; What recommendations would you have for philanthropies or foundations that are interested in arts education? What can we do at this time of very great but uncertain need?</strong></p><p> <strong>KP&#58; </strong>Equity is something that we all need to double down on. The middle class needs to take responsibility for ensuring that not just that our children and our homes have access, but the other kids that go to school with our children, that they have access. </p><p>Second, now that people are interested and we're looking at this, how can we start to document some of the innovation happening here? How are people continuing with music lessons? How are people continuing with dance lessons? What are the ways in which this enforced isolation is changing the amount of time spent on the arts? </p><p>There are always going to be pluses and minuses. How do we learn from what was great? And what did we lose in translation?</p><p>Third, art museums are letting up to 80 percent of their workforce go, and that's just the first hemorrhage. A lot of times, in these kinds of structural losses, people look for other jobs, and they start doing other things. We lose all that capacity. It's not a switch we can just turn on later.</p><p>Arts organizations I'm working with are not feeling like they're going to be able to open doors within the next year or so. How can foundations help translate those services and try to keep as many people in their jobs? Not just for their human needs but also because of that lost infrastructure? </p><p>These will be changed organizations when they do reopen their doors. How do we prevent the epic loss that could really happen here?</p> Wallace editorial team792020-04-14T04:00:00ZExpert at the intersection of arts, education and technology shares ideas and resources to help keep kids constructive at home.4/14/2020 4:12:13 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Keeping Young People Creative (and Connected) in Quarantine Expert at the intersection of arts, education and technology 1359https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
The Arts Getting Us Through a Pandemic11392GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Arts organizations are often among the hardest hit in difficult times. <a href="https&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/arts-groups-have-never-been-very-flush-with-cash-now-theyre-facing-an-even-bigger-battle-for-survival/2020/03/22/5c308dd8-6a1b-11ea-abef-020f086a3fab_story.html?mc_cid=e95e4e532e&amp;mc_eid=14d838a49e">Our current pandemic is no different</a>. Seasons have been canceled. Galleries and performance halls lie empty. Artists and crews find themselves without work. </p><p>Still, many nonprofit arts organizations are charging ahead with their missions. They are <a href="https&#58;//www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/magazine/coronavirus-music-live-stream-concert.html">livestreaming performances</a>, customizing playlists, offering virtual tours of exhibitions and <a href="https&#58;//gothamist.com/arts-entertainment/met-opera-stream-operas-free-during-coronavirus-closure">waiving fees for online content</a>. Despite an unprecedented threat to their balance sheets, they continue to work to bring us the cultural salve we need to endure a trying time.</p><p>Many of us at Wallace have been turning to such institutions while we distance ourselves from our friends and families. Here, Wallace staffers give a shout-out to some of the nonprofit arts organizations that give us comfort, stimulation and entertainment when we need them most.</p><p><strong><span><span><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Aurelia-Grayson.jpg" alt="Aurelia-Grayson.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px 0px;width&#58;122px;" /></span></span>WQXR</strong><br> I first heard <a href="https&#58;//www.wqxr.org/">WQXR-FM</a> as I was driving into New York City in 1982. I was moving to the city from Cleveland and a little nervous. WQXR happened to be playing a Mozart piano concerto I had performed as a teenager; a small source of comfort as I toed gingerly into a new chapter of my life. That concerto was back on playlist this week, along with works by Bach, Brahms, Dvorak and Vivaldi, and has been offering comfort in this new and uncertain period. When the headlines become overwhelming, the <a href="https&#58;//www.wqxr.org/story/must-see-concerts-covid-19-streaming-edition/">Must-see Concerts</a> curated on WQXR.org are my respite. Over the years, this public radio station has become a dear friend and, as many of us can agree, we appreciate our friends now more than ever. </p><p align="right"> Aurelia Grayson<br> Communications Officer</p><p><br> <strong><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Christine-Yoon-preferred.jpg" alt="Christine-Yoon-preferred.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;116px;height&#58;160px;" />Opera Philadelphia</strong><br> Opera Philadelphia is always one of my favorites. I’ve been turning to their large collection of performances and interviews on <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/user/operaphila/videos">YouTube</a> when taking breaks from work and parenting. They have <a href="https&#58;//www.operaphila.org/backstage/opera-blog/2017/spotify/">Spotify playlists</a> related to past performances, put together by artists that produced them, that are keeping me company while I work. They’re also profiling other companies and artists on their <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/OperaPhila/">Facebook</a>, <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/OperaPhila">Twitter</a> and <a href="https&#58;//www.instagram.com/operaphila/">Instagram</a> pages, people and organizations that could really use some support as the world shuts down. It’s a nice reminder that in this period of isolation, we’re all still looking out for each other. </p><p align="right"> Christine Yoon<br> Senior Program Officer, Arts</p><p><br> <strong><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Holly-Dodge-2.jpg" alt="Holly-Dodge-2.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;114px;height&#58;139px;" />New York Choral Society</strong><br> I’m a choral singer, and the communal creation of music is an important part of my life. While I’m cut off from the social joys of music, the New York Choral Society, of which I am a member, is helping to keep me connected. It has been sending <a href="https&#58;//www.nychoral.org/contact/">email newsletters</a> every weekend in which conductor David Hayes shares <a href="https&#58;//soundcloud.com/user-910395746/thompson-the-road-less-traveled">relevant clips from past performances</a> and <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhV7SQXzKjizvQ3ZOwoFeQ4jXu5tcCorU">playlists tailored to our times</a>. It’s not quite the real thing, but these newsletters keep me in touch with the music I love and keep me looking forward to the day when we can gather and make music together again. </p><p align="right">Holly Dodge<br> Grants Administration Manager</p><p><br> <strong><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Lauren-Sanders-copy.jpg" alt="Lauren-Sanders-copy.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;116px;height&#58;136px;" />Film Forum, and other New York City arthouses</strong><br> I have a group of friends, mostly filmmakers and writers in New York, that often meets up to go to the movies. Since sheltering in place, we’ve created a Sunday night movie club where we stream a movie and then discuss it over Zoom, as we would over dinner or drinks. Among the sources we’re turning to are New York City’s remaining independent theaters, all of which are in desperate need of support right now. One of our favorites, <a href="https&#58;//filmforum.org/">Film Forum</a>, is running first-run films through <a href="https&#58;//deadline.com/2020/03/kino-marquee-virtual-arthouse-program-expands-to-150-cinemas-with-alamo-drafthouse-laemmle-in-streaming-cannes-winner-bacurau-1202893459/">Kino Marquee</a>. It’s turned a terrible situation into something of a cineaste’s dream. Half the fun at the end of an hours-long (sometimes contentious) Zoom chat is choosing the film for the following week. While it may lack the magic of being out there with all those wonderful faces in the dark, the ritual of film, conversation and a few beautifully pixelated faces is just what I need before the start of another work-from-home week.</p><p align="right">Lauren Sanders<br> Managing Editor</p><p><br> <strong><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/mark-jobson.jpg" alt="mark-jobson.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;118px;height&#58;152px;" />Pacific Northwest Ballet</strong><br> All this time at home sometimes makes me feel like I might just pop out through the ceiling of my living room. Fortunately, Pacific Northwest Ballet is bringing ballet into my heart and mind and quelling my desire to break free. There are plenty of photographs <u><a href="https&#58;//www.instagram.com/pacificnorthwestballet/">across</a></u> <u><a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/PNBallet/">social</a></u> <u><a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/PNBallet">media</a></u>, ballet <a href="https&#58;//www.instagram.com/p/B93BJ7GgjFz/">exercise</a> <a href="https&#58;//www.instagram.com/p/B-INb3egJhs/">videos</a>, and a <u><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ1y9pSe7OM">short film on YouTube</a></u> documenting PNB’s staging of the popular Balanchine ballets, with some of the original dancers speaking about the choreographic experience. </p><p>I want to move these days, and we are in a new (hopefully transitory) moment of stasis. Watching these dancers turn and jump and fill the space with their movement allows me to breathe deeply and feel an expanse, both physically and mentally.&#160;All without popping out through anything! </p><p align="right"> Mark Jobson<br> Program Assistant, Arts</p><p><br> <strong><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Pam-Mendels-preferred.jpg" alt="Pam-Mendels-preferred.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;115px;height&#58;173px;" />Museum of Modern Art</strong><a name="_Hlk36048244"></a><br> Seeing the exhibition about photographer Dorothea Lange—<a href="https&#58;//www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5079">Dorothea Lange&#58; Word &amp; Pictures</a>—at MOMA had been on my must-do list this spring. Well, MOMA is now closed, but the museum has an <a href="https&#58;//www.moma.org/audio/playlist/304/3915">online version of the exhibition</a>, complete with audio commentary on 14 of Lange’s photos as well as a pair of photos inspired by her. I’ve been poking into it, and it’s terrific. Many of the photos in the exhibition are from Lange’s work documenting the hardships of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and, during the early 1940s, the impending, unconstitutional internment of Japanese-Americans. They are moving images of human endurance in the face of crisis and suffering.</p><p align="right">Pam Mendels<br> Editor<br> </p><p><strong><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Rochelle-Herring-preferred-copy.jpg" alt="Rochelle-Herring-preferred-copy.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;110px;height&#58;166px;" />New Victory Theater</strong><br> I’m the mother of three creative children. We’re used to a lot of activity, such as art classes at the Montclair Art Museum, talks and performances at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and acting classes at Luna Stage. <a href="https&#58;//newvictory.org/new-victory-arts-break-just-move-week/">The New Victory Theater’s Arts Breaks</a> have helped us keep that going, even though we can’t go out these days. They have a lesson or activity for every day that keeps my kids busy, keeps them moving and keeps them creating. It’s been fun! </p><p align="right">Rochelle Herring<br> Senior Program Officer, Education Leadership<br> </p><p><strong><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Sarosh-Z-Syed1.jpg" alt="Sarosh-Z-Syed1.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;113px;height&#58;144px;" />KEXP</strong><br> The <a href="file&#58;///ssyed/Arts/Stories/Art%20in%20the%20time%20of%20COVID-19/kexp.org/">KEXP live stream</a> has been an essential coworker since I sequestered myself. The DJs have peppered the regular playlist with equal parts encouragement (e.g., George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass,”) commiseration (e.g., Portishead’s “Sour Times”) and humor (e.g., The Police's “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,”) all things we can use right now. Their periodic dance-party breaks, which are supposed to help cooped-up kids blow off some steam, are pretty good for adults as well. It’s a wholly appropriate time to dance; it just so happens that nobody’s watching. </p><p align="right">Sarosh Z. Syed <br> Writer</p>Wallace editorial team792020-03-31T04:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.3/31/2020 6:37:29 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / The Arts Getting Us Through a Pandemic Wallace staffers give thanks to arts nonprofits that are giving us comfort 396https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
At the Crossroads of the Arts, Education, Philanthropy and Heritage Sheep12579GP0|#b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7;L0|#0b68a91d0-1c13-4d82-b12d-2b08588c04d7|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Heritage and progress are equally important to Dutch textile artist Claudy Jongstra. Her work is cutting-edge and contemporary, but she reaches deep into history to create it. The wool she uses comes from Drenthe Heath sheep, a rare, 6,000-year-old European breed, which she rears on a small farm in the Netherlands’ agrarian northwest. She felts this wool using techniques discovered millennia ago and dyes it using plants she grows or finds on her property. The compositions she creates with these time-honored approaches are current, more reminiscent of postmodernists or abstract expressionists than the Mongolian yurts that once sparked her interest in textiles. The juxtaposition of the ancient and the avant-garde symbolizes the importance of long-established approaches in a world that is fast forgetting them. “It is a tool for sharing tacit knowledge and lost identities from the past,” Jongstra says, “ and then placing them in the contemporary world.”</p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Textile-Artist-Brings--Together-Past-Knowledge-and-Future-Promise-in-Wallaces-New-Offices/blog-claudy-booklet-1.jpg" alt="blog-claudy-booklet-1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />Interns collect raw materials from Jongstra’s dye garden on her farm in Friesland, the Netherlands.<br></p><p>These themes of past knowledge and future progress are among the reasons The Wallace Foundation commissioned Jongstra to help adorn its offices in 2019. Knowledge is key to Wallace’s mission; the foundation works not just to help local organizations solve problems they face, but also to generate insights from their efforts to enhance policy and practice nationwide. “One of the reasons we were drawn to Claudy Jongstra’s art is that she builds on wisdom gleaned from past experience and demonstrates its importance to the present and the future,” said Will Miller, president of The Wallace Foundation. “That’s a large part of what we try to do as a foundation.”</p><p>Jongstra produced two pieces for Wallace’s offices, both placed along a central axis from the reception desk to the office’s social hub, with a view of Manhattan to the north and New York Harbor to the south. “These are the main spaces where people can take a moment to pause, have a cup of coffee and socialize,” says Arthi Krishnamoorthy of Deborah Berke Partners, the architecture firm that designed Wallace’s offices and suggested commissioning Jongstra. “Claudy’s pieces help make these spaces welcoming, not just with views and architecture, but also with art that lends warmth and sparks conversation.” </p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Textile-Artist-Brings--Together-Past-Knowledge-and-Future-Promise-in-Wallaces-New-Offices/blog-claudy-bookle-2.jpg" alt="blog-claudy-bookle-2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> Bodies represented in Diversity of Thought<br></p><p> <em>Diversity of Thought</em> comprises seven textile panels&#58; six in the elevator lobby, each rendered in colors that evoke a different body in the solar system, and one behind the reception desk that represents the sun. Across the lobby in the social hub is <em>Two Rivers,</em> which depicts the meeting of the Hudson and East Rivers in New York Harbor. The richness of textures and colors, says Krishnamoorthy, connects staffers and visitors to Wallace’s work as they enter the space. </p><p> </p><p>“We want people to arrive and connect in a way that is mission-aligned,” she says, “ because both Claudy’s mission and the Wallace Foundation’s mission overlap.” </p><p> <em>Diversity of Thought,</em> for example, evokes connections between knowledge-sharing that shaped the past and knowledge-sharing Wallace hopes can help shape the future. The embroidery sprinkled throughout the seven panels was inspired by Galileo’s drawings of sunspots, a potent example of the power of art to change our understanding of the world. His drawings allowed viewers to envision the rotation of the sun and helped convince the world that the Earth is not the center of the universe. “Galileo made astronomy a visual science,” Jongstra says. “Large-scale audiences could now experience the science. It wasn’t reserved just for a small group.” </p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Textile-Artist-Brings--Together-Past-Knowledge-and-Future-Promise-in-Wallaces-New-Offices/blog-claudy-bookle-4.jpg" alt="blog-claudy-bookle-4.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> Wallace reception desk with sun installation<br></p><p>Wallace similarly aims to make knowledge widely accessible and to promote progress in the fields in which it works. “Galileo changed the way we view and understand our universe. We hope to help do that in our focus areas,” says Miller. “We design our philanthropic initiatives to help our grantees and others develop new insights and increase understanding of their work. It’s a lofty goal, but if we’re to live up to our values of excellence, accountability and helping to catalyze meaningful change, we have to aim high.”</p><p> <em>Two Rivers,</em> meanwhile, draws inspiration from the meeting of the rivers visible from Wallace’s offices and reflects the relationships Wallace hopes to foster among its staff and partners.</p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Textile-Artist-Brings--Together-Past-Knowledge-and-Future-Promise-in-Wallaces-New-Offices/blog-claudy-bookle-5.jpg" alt="blog-claudy-bookle-5.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> Two Rivers<br></p><p>“We strive for mutual respect and close collaboration in everything we do,” Miller adds. “The meeting of the two estuaries, the mixing of saltwater and freshwater in New York Harbor, all serve as apt symbols of the diversity and inclusivity we seek to bring to our work.”</p><p>The piece’s use of color also points to sustainability, another core value for The Wallace Foundation. Jongstra created the colors using new techniques that extract pigment from seaweed foraged from Netherlands’ northern islands. These techniques create a new purpose for a material many consider to be expendable, challenging the take-make-waste industrial model and inspiring viewers to reimagine their relationship to the Earth’s resources. </p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Textile-Artist-Brings--Together-Past-Knowledge-and-Future-Promise-in-Wallaces-New-Offices/blog-claudy-bookle-6.jpg" alt="blog-claudy-bookle-6.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> Wallace social hub with Two Rivers installation<br></p><p>“We had been experimenting with vegetation we found on the coastline and there was a beautiful palette coming through,” Jongstra said. “Parallel to our research, this commission came along. We were immediately inspired to use our re-found color palette in this new work.”</p><p>Both <em>Diversity of Thought</em> and <em>Two Rivers</em> use scale to mirror the relationships Wallace hopes to build with its grantees and the fields in which they work. Seen from a distance, says Kiki Dennis of Deborah Berke Partners, they reflect warmth. On closer inspection, one can appreciate the history and artistry embedded in each of their intricate components. </p><p>“It’s a lovely metaphor for the way the foundation works,” Dennis says. “The foundation is interested in advancing its mission on a large, macro scale. But its programs move on and have a huge impact on individual children and educators.” </p><p> <em>For more on Claudy Jongstra’s work, please visit </em> <a href="https&#58;//www.claudyjongstra.com/"> <em>www.claudyjongstra.com</em></a></p><p> <em>Photos © Frankie Alduino</em></p>Sarosh Z. Syed502020-03-10T04:00:00ZArts, arts audiences, building audiences for the arts3/11/2020 2:05:52 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / At the Crossroads of the Arts, Education, Philanthropy and Heritage Sheep Textile artist brings together past knowledge and 161https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Experimentation and Refinement a Key to Audience Building in the Arts3968GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Introducing a recent panel on how to build audiences in the arts, Monique Martin, director of programming at New York’s Harlem Stage stressed the human aspects of arts performances. “I want to acknowledge the importance of community and the desire for our audiences to be part of a community,” she said. “We are in polarizing times and the arts are a refuge for many.” </p><p>But how can organizations help ensure that people seek out that refuge and continue to take advantage of it?</p><p>For the last four years, The Wallace Foundation has been working with 25 performing arts organizations on the <a href="/knowledge-center/building-audiences-for-the-arts/pages/default.aspx">Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS)</a> initiative to help stem declines in arts audiences. Using data, market research and other tools, BAS organizations take on a process of continuous learning to bring in new audiences, encourage repeat attendance, attract a particular demographic or address any other goal that serves their mission.</p><p>“Continuous learning begins with the premise&#58; we are unlikely to get it right the first time,” Bahia Ramos, Wallace’s director of arts, told the crowd gathered at the panel at The Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) annual conference. Martin was moderating the panel, which also included Jenny Reik, director of marketing and communications at Cal Performances, Maure Aronson, executive director at Global Arts Live and Andrew Jorgensen, general director at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL). All shared stories of risk taking and resilience on the road to building their audiences. &#160;</p><h3><strong>Opera, Food, Millennials…oh my!</strong></h3><p>Opera Theatre of Saint Louis had set out to <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/think-opera-is-not-for-you-opera-theatre-of-saint-louis-says-think-again.aspx">target millennials and Gen-Xers</a>, with a special emphasis on populations of color. The journey began with a period of research, after which the company launched a multifaceted campaign with the goal of expanding OTSL’s visibility throughout St. Louis. With expanded print advertising and digital billboards, the organization hoped that greater visibility would heighten awareness of OTSL and ultimately help sell tickets. Unfortunately, the campaign did not produce tangible results. </p><p>“The campaign taught us that we don’t have the resources necessary to blanket the entire St. Louis region with our brand message year-round,” Jorgensen explained. “More importantly, it underscored that visibility by itself, without meaningful context, is not enough to entice potential audiences to buy tickets and get them into the theater.” </p><p>In revisiting the company’s past experiences with hosting preperformance lawn picnics and other community events, Jorgensen noted that they learned the social component is a key part of the OTSL experience. So the organization implemented “Opera Tastings,” a series of concerts with a diverse group of singers performing a range of popular pieces from the history of opera at restaurants and other venues across the St. Louis region. Local chefs pair food and drink to the music, and tickets are $25. In the first year, nearly 50 percent of new attendees at Opera Tastings ended up buying a ticket to the company’s festival season.</p><p>Although they were successful, Jorgensen said, Opera Tastings were also expensive. “They did not produce enough revenue to support themselves without philanthropic backing,” he explained. When asked how the organization plans to move forward, he noted, “It’s a question we are struggling with. As passionate arts presenters, we have a desire to always be adding programming and reaching more people. Opera Tastings is only four years old, and it’s hard to imagine letting go of it.” </p><p>This spring OTSL will host a modified version of Opera Tastings with fewer events, larger audiences and a slightly higher price point, as they continue to learn how to better reflect the demographics of key audiences. For example, African Americans comprise the largest non-white group in St. Louis, so the organization will continue its commitment to present work that they’ve learned might appeal to African American audiences. “Representation matters” Jorgensen said. </p><h3><strong>A Music Festival Grows in Boston</strong></h3><p>Global Arts Live (formerly World Music/CRASHarts) learned a similar lesson about programming when it began its <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/world-music-crasharts-tests-new-format-new-name-to-draw-new-audiences.aspx">effort to expand audiences</a> with extensive market research. The research suggested that the organization's name was too hard to remember and its brand could be more clear and consistent. So the organization rebranded, revealing <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/new-name-new-look-to-draw-a-new-generation-of-fans.aspx">its new name, Global Arts Live</a>, in May 2019.</p><p>Research also suggested that the organization’s current audience was growing older. This led Aronson and his team to start programming events for a younger audience, specifically in the 21-40 age range. “We thought that changing our marketing and adding small, secondary events, such as meetups, classes and talks, would reengage the younger audience by creating a sense of community,” he said. “But we learned that experimenting with on-mission programming was far more effective.” </p><p>Global Arts Live started producing 10 to 15 targeted concerts per year in “millennial-friendly clubs,” which were incredibly successful. These target concerts attracted between 7,000 and 10,000 attendees, which was a big jump from the 500 attendees that the less-successful secondary events attracted. Aronson and his team also developed CRASHfest, a global festival offering a vibrant and social atmosphere. This idea stemmed from focus groups the company executed during its market research phase. The festival, targeted toward millennials, showcased different types of performances in the same place. “We found that expanding artistic programming worked in parallel with CRASHfest, not only as a reengagement tool, but also as an audience building tool,” Aronson said. “The two strategies worked together to create multiple points of frequency.”</p><p>The first CRASHfest event took place at the House of Blues in Boston in 2016. Fifteen-hundred people attended, meeting the organization’s goal and grossing $38,000. Sixty-one percent of the audience was new to the organization, and 56 percent of the new audience was under the age of 40. “It’s nice to see it being multigenerational--reaching new audiences but keeping our old audience happy as well,” Aronson said. “You’re still finding a fair amount of people over the age of 40 coming to these events, which is important because we’d be in trouble if we lost our old audience.” </p><p>One surprising finding, according to Aronson, was that millennials didn’t mind being in an intergenerational audience. The two other organizations on the panel agreed that they had also made presumptions about their target audience that proved untrue. </p><h3><strong>Students Take the Reins</strong></h3><p>Reik noted that through her team’s efforts at Cal Performances to reach a younger audience, they too learned that millennials had more things in common with their older audiences than they would have expected. “Many of us had preconceived ideas of what a millennial generation would need. Some of what we found was that younger audiences liked the same things that the older audiences did—they actually like our core programming,” Reik said. “The other really interesting thing is that the current audience actually liked the really edgy stuff.” </p><p>During the first year of the BAS initiative, Cal Performances tested multiple approaches to target the 18- to 22-year-old student demographic on the UC Berkeley campus. “One of our most illuminating failures came in that very first year, and it is important to start with because our successful programming evolved as a result of that,” Reik shared. </p><p>Cal Performances had implemented a program called Citizen Dance to give students access to the organization’s resources and stage. Staff saw this as an opportunity for the many student-led dance crews to create large-scale work in cooperation with emerging choreographers. But participation was much lower than expected. “We learned quickly that students wanted to be in charge of their own program delivery, and they saw Citizen Dance as competing for their time and attention. It wasn’t enhancing their own experience,” Reik explained.</p><p>The difficulties they experienced launching Citizen Dance led Cal Performances to significantly strengthen student ownership of events. The organization attracted a close-knit group of students who were involved in every decision regarding the genesis, production, artists, programming, marketing and more. The organization then launched Front Row, an event curated by the students themselves. “We taught students how to be presenters themselves—they received all of the credit,” Reik said. The results were quite different from Citizen Dance—more than 45,000 students attended Front Row, many for the first time. </p><p>While building this community of students, the staff at Cal Performances also learned that price matters greatly to this audience. As a result, the organization implemented Flex Pass, which offered students four tickets for $40 to Cal Performances’ main stage events. Reik said Flex Pass was a great success in its first two years. In year three of the programming, the organization increased the price of Flex Pass in an attempt to “move the needle upward” against the investment costs of making seats available at discounted prices. “We found that even a five dollar increase had a fairly significant impact on sales,” said Reik. </p><h3><strong>Risks and Rewards</strong></h3><p>The three leaders agreed that risk taking and experimenting with new strategies and tactics, such as those described, was vital to better connect with their audiences. While they may have tried different methods and experienced different challenges along the way, they agreed that all departments must be involved in the audience-building work from the beginning for it to succeed. “When different departments work together from the beginning—when the structure and whole concept is built from that foundation—you can move quicker to execution and success,” Reik explained. </p><p>“You have to be all in&#58; the staff, the board, to succeed or to fail in this project,” Aronson added. “We see the future as optimistic. The work is continuous; it’s incremental, and you have to have a vision in the organization to implement your learnings.”&#160; </p><p><em>Learn more about the arts organizations who were on the panel&#58;</em><br> <a href="https&#58;//calperformances.org/">Cal Performances</a> is a performing arts presenting, commissioning and producing organization based at the University of California, Berkeley. &#160;</p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.globalartslive.org/">Global Arts Live</a> brings international music, contemporary dance and jazz from around the world to stages across Greater Boston. </p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.opera-stl.org/">Opera Theatre of Saint Louis</a> is known for its short annual festival season in late May and June, and for its commitment to commissioning new operas and developing emerging talent. </p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.harlemstage.org/">Harlem Stage</a> provides opportunity and support for artists of color, makes performances easily accessible to all audiences and introduces children to the rich diversity and inspiration of the performing arts. </p><p>To learn more about Wallace’s building audiences work, visit our <a href="/knowledge-center/building-audiences-for-the-arts/pages/default.aspx">knowledge center</a>.</p>Jenna Doleh912020-02-11T05:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.2/13/2020 5:37:34 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Experimentation and Refinement a Key to Audience Building in the Arts Arts leaders on panel say data, market research and 477https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Ambassadors, Advice and Strategic Discounts Bring Newcomers to Minnesota Opera3672GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p> <em>This post is an update on <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences-someone-who-speaks-their-language.aspx">a 2014 case study</a> of Minnesota Opera’s Wallace-funded efforts to attract new opera fans and supporters. It is one of a series of blog posts exploring how organizations' audience-development efforts fare once Wallace funds run out. It does not include a thorough analysis to determine whether the financial benefits of the efforts described are commensurate to their costs.</em></p><p>Those unfamiliar with opera often assume the art form is for a different kind of person; they may think of someone older, wealthier, with different sensibilities and maybe even a bit pretentious. For the marketing staff at Minnesota Opera, the key to bringing newcomers to the performance hall requires, first and foremost, challenging that assumption. One tack has been to enable trusted opera devotees to act as ambassadors and encourage others to give the art form a try. Assisted by a four-year (2009 to 2012), $750,000 Excellence Award from The Wallace Foundation, the organization successfully enlisted an influencer with a wide following who attracted new ticket buyers. When a medical condition forced that influencer to retire, the staff empowered other groups in its audience base to cultivate new attendees.&#160; </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Tapping Local Partners</h3><p> The company, which produces five operas per year for an audience of nearly 45,000, first experimented with this idea in its 2008–2009 season, with a Bring-a-Friend program. Through that effort, its roughly 3,000 subscribers could receive a free companion ticket to a performance, which they were asked to give to a friend who had never attended Minnesota Opera. Staffers were discouraged when fewer than a fifth of subscribers took advantage of the offer but took heart when half the invited friends later bought tickets themselves. That high return rate got the marketing staff thinking about how to expand the model by tapping into a trusted advocate with greater reach. </p><p>As detailed in a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences-someone-who-speaks-their-language.aspx">2014 case study</a>, the company launched a partnership with Ian Punnett, a longtime opera attendee and host of a morning drive-time pop-culture radio show. In show banter and in ads, he told his audience, which was made up mostly of professional women, what they would find enjoyable about specific Minnesota Opera productions. Avoiding esoteric references, he emphasized the drama, spectacle, pageantry and passion on stage. Over the four years of Wallace Foundation funding, more than 1,000 new households redeemed free tickets received in promotions on Punnett's show, in line with the company’s projections. What’s more, 18 percent of these newcomers returned on a paid ticket, well exceeding the 10-percent return rate documented in <a href="https&#58;//www.oliverwyman.com/content/dam/oliver-wyman/global/en/files/community/Pro%20Bono%20Program/Solving%20a%20Classical%20Mystery/OW_EN_PUBL_2008_AUDIENCEGROWTHINITIATIVE%281%29.pdf">a 2008 study of first-time visitors at nine American symphonies</a>.</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ambassadors-Advice-and-Strategic-Discounts-Bring-Newcomers-to-Minnesota-Opera/Traviata2.jpeg.jpg" alt="Traviata2.jpeg.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p>The radio partnership was just one component of the strategy. A local afternoon TV talk show also distributed free tickets to all members of its 50-person studio audience. But the show’s hosts lacked Punnett’s connection to opera and couldn’t speak as compellingly about it. Further, audience members received tickets whether they were interested or not. Few redeemed tickets and the partnership was scrapped in its second year. </p><p>The company also conducted research into audience motivations for buying tickets and, importantly, what prevented first timers who had come through the radio promotion from returning a second time. The research revealed that, although those newcomers may have enjoyed attending the performance, when they were considering a return visit, they didn’t have Punnett to steer them toward another opera. Marketing brochures were designed for traditional audiences, lacked Punnett’s accessible style and had references that newcomers did not fully understand. What’s more, the decision to return not only involved choosing an opera, but also selecting a seat in an unfamiliar hall. Consumer psychologists have long noted that <a href="https&#58;//insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/what-predicts-consumer-choice-overload">too many options can overwhelm unfamiliar consumers</a>, causing them to avoid choosing anything at all. Minnesota Opera’s research suggested that this tendency may be at play among its prospects. They needed help and sometimes a push to identify when and how to return.</p><p>These insights gave rise to multiple marketing strategies to overcome that purchase inertia. One tack was to simplify the decision-making process by creating offers for tickets in a specific seating section, eliminating the need to select where to sit. These promotions typically offered configurations such as “Three tickets for $75,” and produced about 100 new subscribers when they ran in local newspapers. Another approach was an impulse-buy promotion offered at two or three performances each season. First-time subscribers received a discount on a new subscription if they signed up before leaving the performance hall. Approximately 100 new subscribers did so each evening the offer was made available.</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Turning to Existing Ambassadors</h3><p> Severe tinnitus forced Punnett to retire from radio in early 2013, bringing Minnesota Opera's partnership with him to an unexpected end. The company sought a similar partner who shares a love of opera, a large audience and a relatable personality—critical factors that drove the program's success—but was unable to find one. The staff therefore tried to deputize different groups within its audience base. “When a friend recommends going to the opera, it’s very different than being served a marketing message,&quot; says Marketing Director Katherine Castille.</p><p>The company still runs its Bring-A-Friend program but has had to pare it back as its popularity has grown. Minnesota Opera has approximately 3,000 subscribers, and an open offer to all of them meant that the company could potentially hand out more than 500 tickets per production. It therefore offers Bring-a-Friend tickets for just one production each year to the approximately 200 subscribers who automatically renew their subscriptions before the next season’s titles are revealed. The approach provides an incentive to auto-renew while also attracting a small number of newcomers to the performance hall. </p><p>Bring-a-Friend<em> Redemptions and Returning Households<br></em></p><p> <em><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ambassadors-Advice-and-Strategic-Discounts-Bring-Newcomers-to-Minnesota-Opera/bring-a-friend-chart.jpg" alt="bring-a-friend-chart.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></em><br> </p><p>Beginning in the 2016–2017 season, Minnesota Opera also began offering complimentary 'loyalty tickets' to some subscribers, not just to show appreciation but also to help introduce their friends to the company. The group that receives the offer varies. That way, no one gets used to relying on free tickets and the marketing team can target larger or smaller groups depending on the number of seats available. For one show, free tickets might be offered to weekend subscribers; for another, they could go to new subscribers or those who have subscribed for more than ten years. Unlike Bring-A-Friend, these tickets do not need to be given to someone new to the company, but many are. Some preliminary results (below) show that the program is providing a very low-cost way to bring in new audiences; 183 (25 percent) of the 720 new households that came through the program purchased tickets themselves afterwards. </p><p> <em>Loyalty Ticket Redemptions and Returning Households<br></em></p><p> <em><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ambassadors-Advice-and-Strategic-Discounts-Bring-Newcomers-to-Minnesota-Opera/loyalty-ticket-chart.jpg" alt="loyalty-ticket-chart.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></em><br> </p><p>The staff is aware of the arguments against offering free tickets&#58; They can deflate perceptions of the operas’ value and, if used too liberally, teach people to expect them. For that reason, it distributes loyalty tickets in a highly targeted way. For starters, the company offers at most one free ticket to each patron each year and, to capitalize on patrons’ social connections, asks the recipient to invite a friend. The company typically makes these tickets available only in circumstances where sales are likely to need a lift—e.g., less popular showtimes, hard-to-fill seats, less familiar titles and shows early in the season that don't have much time for advance sales. </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Offers and Messages to Encourage Ticket Purchases</h3><p> Relying on insights from its research with first-time attendees, the company still offers impulse-buy subscriptions following certain performances. It provides a discount of between 30 and 50 percent to single-ticket buyers who opt for these offers. The company targets well-known titles and performances outside of the subscription series, because those evenings are likely to have the most non-subscribers in attendance. Over three nights at the end of a run of <em>La Traviata</em> in May 2019<em>, </em>the company sold 160 new subscriptions, together worth approximately $25,000. The year prior, it ran the offer at two performances of <em>Rigoletto, </em>bringing in approximately $14,000 through 90 new subscribers. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ambassadors-Advice-and-Strategic-Discounts-Bring-Newcomers-to-Minnesota-Opera/Traviata.jpg.jpg" alt="Traviata.jpg.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p>The company also tries to point newcomers in the direction of operas they might like, much as Punnett did on his radio show. The practice began when the staff heard in focus groups that people who had not returned to the opera missed Punnett’s guidance. Staffers initially responded by rewriting season brochures to signal which works were “perfect for an opera newbie” or “perfect for an opera buff.” But they nixed the strategy after one season; staffers became concerned that the phrasing might sound as if they were suggesting “opera smart” or “opera dumb.” </p><p>The need to help newcomers pick an opera was still there, however. “We have to find new ways to help people relate,” says Castille. “The seemingly natural reaction seems to be, ‘It’s not for me,’ and we need to make it more approachable.” </p><p>Now, communications targeting single-ticket buyers, who are more likely to be newer to opera, provide guidance on who should see what opera by including references to similar works and pop-culture. For a recent production of <em>Marriage of Figaro, </em>for example, audiences were told that it would be perfect for people who like <em>Downton Abbey, Amadeus </em>and <em>Cosí Fan Tutte. </em></p><p>In all communications Minnesota Opera also targets misperceptions about opera more directly. The company always promotes the fact that tickets start at $25, as it has done for the past ten years, because people assume opera is expensive. It also shows simultaneous English translation during performances, and has consistently communicated that point in print, TV and radio advertising for more than a decade. Even so, misconceptions have proven to be resistant to change (that’s true for other art forms as well). The company recently completed focus-group research and, Castille says, “Those perceptions are still out there—that opera is super expensive, it’s stuffy, it’s exclusively for much older people, I have to know a different language. The work is never done.&quot;</p><p><em>La Traviata, 2019. Photos by Dan Norman courtesy of Minnesota Opera.</em></p> <strong></strong><p></p>Bob Harlow822020-01-21T05:00:00ZA midwestern company taps its networks and carefully crafts promotions to introduce new audiences to opera.1/29/2020 2:35:54 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Ambassadors, Advice and Strategic Discounts Bring Newcomers to Minnesota Opera A midwestern company taps its networks and 520https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
The Contemporary Jewish Museum Is Now (Also) a Family Destination15701GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p><em>​​​This post is an update of a </em><em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/converting-family-into-fans.aspx">2016 case study</a></em><em> of The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Wallace-funded efforts to attract larger numbers of families with young children. It is one of a series of bl​​og posts exploring how organizations' audience-development efforts fare once Wallace funds run out. It does not include a thorough analysis to determine whether the financial benefits of the efforts described are commensurate to their costs.</em></p><p>San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) presents a continuously changing program of exhibitions about Jewish art and culture to a diverse audience, approximately half of which does not identify as Jewish. In 2008, it moved from a 2,500-square-foot, single-gallery exhibition space to a 63,000-square-foot facility with room for multiple exhibitions shown simultaneously. Leaders of The CJM believed the expansion opened up a promising opportunity&#58; to attract more parents visiting with children, who could fill the space with intergenerational conversations and vitality. To that end, the museum set out to engage this audience in large numbers. </p><p>That aspiration brought The CJM into largely unfamiliar territory. The museum had not previously targeted families, who made up about 10 percent of the museum’s 10,000 to 13,000 annual visitors in the two years preceding the move. What’s more, more than half of family visits occurred on just two free days each year during Christmas and Purim. As described in <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/converting-family-into-fans.aspx">a 2016 case study</a>, a four-year Wallace Excellence Award helped change this picture. Between 2008 and 2011, the museum developed programs and partnerships that bring in more than 12,000, sometimes as many as 20,000, family visitors each year. </p><p>Eight years after that grant ended, the museum continues to draw large numbers of families. While The CJM no longer sees the runaway success of the early years, visitor response has been enthusiastic enough to build a stable base of family patrons, even as kids age out of the target audience each year.</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">The CJM Builds a Family Audience </h3><p> The original family initiative included several elements&#58;<u></u></p><ul><li>Exhibitions of work by well-known Jewish authors and illustrators, such as Maurice Sendak (<em>Where the Wild Things Are</em>), and Margret and H.A. Rey (<em>Curious George</em>), designed to appeal both to adults and children;<br><br></li><li>Year-round programs every Sunday, including (1) “Drop-In Artmaking” for parents and children every Sunday and (2) special family programming on the second Sunday of each month during the school year, consisting of a “Preschool Gallery Hour” in the mornings for preschoolers and their families and tours later in the day for families with older children; <br><br></li><li>“ArtPacks,” kits with activities connected to exhibitions on display and available to check out anytime, to help families explore on their own schedules;<br><br></li><li>Free admission to all visitors under age 18;<br><br></li><li>Several family days with special activities;<br><br></li><li>Partnerships with local libraries, including educator-led art-making in public libraries and a “Library Day” where library-card holders were allowed free admission; and <br><br></li><li>Partnerships with a small but diverse group of public schools, which included both classroom instruction and parent/child art-making, with 300 to 400 children and families taking part each year. </li></ul><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Marquee Exhibitions Bring in Large Audiences </h3><p> With the opening of the new building, total attendance grew more than tenfold, with considerable variation each year (largely driven by blockbuster exhibitions featuring work by household names such Maurice Sendak and the Reys). Family attendance increased as well, and at a faster clip. As shown in the table below, families visiting with children made up about 10 percent of the visitors in the years leading to the move. In the first years of the initiative, they made up between 13 and 19 percent of general admission visits. Additional programs outside general admission brought in between 1,000 and 3,000 more family visitors each year. </p><p>The exhibitions of well-known children’s book authors were the biggest draw. In the first six years in the new space, families made up a larger proportion of visitors (18 percent) when those exhibits were on view compared to times when they were not (8 percent). Family visitors also made up 15 percent of all attendees on Sundays throughout the year, with especially large numbers visiting on second Sundays. <br> <u> </u><u> </u></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/CJM-attendance-wallace-funded-years.jpg" alt="CJM-attendance-wallace-funded-years.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">New Gateways into the Museum</h3><p> Wallace funding ended at the close of 2011, but according to Fraidy Aber, who is Constance Wolf director of education and civic engagement, the museum remains committed to continuous innovation to build on its success. “Families have changing habits and needs,” she says. So The CJM’s staff continuously experiments with more efficient and effective ways to attract new families and create experiences that bring them back. </p><p>One opportunity came in 2013, when The CJM built on the popularity of an exhibition of the work of author-illustrator Ezra Jack Keats by launching what would become an annual “Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition.” Children from public schools across the city design and write their own books in a competition juried by a panel of illustrators, curators, librarians and writers. The competition, now in its seventh year, is a less costly alternative to the museum’s previous school-outreach program, in which CJM educators traveled to area schools to lead artmaking sessions. &#160;Activities for the new program are now largely managed by the schools, which submit student-made books to the museum. More than 800 children from 19 public schools participate. The competition culminates with a showcase of the children's books, attended by more than 400 students and their families (visitor surveys show that 45 percent are first-timers). The museum has recently begun a separate program for Jewish schools, hoping to recreate the culminating showcase with the Jewish community. </p><p>The CJM has largely shifted away from presenting exhibitions of children’s book authors and illustrators to focus more on contemporary art, though it still schedules a show every fall with content designed to appeal to both children and adults (including, for example, a 2018 exhibition exploring the work of Rube Goldberg). </p><p>Even so, these exhibits do not bring in the large numbers of family visitors attracted by those earlier exhibitions of authors with household names, and the staff is using other programming to attract new family audiences. For example, in 2016 it broadened the audience for the second-Sunday programming beyond families with preschoolers. The museum invited older children and their accompanying adults to attend and added age-appropriate art-making, storytelling, and entertainment to the day’s programs. Visitor surveys in 2017 revealed that second Sundays had built an audience of repeat visitors; up to 95 percent of attendees on those days had visited previously. The strong repeat attendance signaled to the staff that it was satisfying those who came, and also had considerable potential to expand its audience. </p><p>With that potential in mind, The CJM introduced a bigger, more highly promoted event in 2018. The new “Sunday Family Artbash” offers five hours of art-making, story-telling, music, entertainment, tours and dance movement connected to the exhibitions. The museum boosted advertising and publicity for those days and offered free admission for up to two adults accompanied by a child. That larger scope has required a reduction in frequency—four times a year instead of eight—but early results suggest the strategy is delivering. Family attendance regularly reaches 400 visitors and beyond (compared to 100 to 200 for the original second-Sunday program), and surveys show that 40 percent are first-timers. </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/CJM-photo.jpg" alt="CJM-photo.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><span style="color&#58;#666666;font-size&#58;16px;text-align&#58;center;">Multiple generations p</span><span style="color&#58;#666666;font-size&#58;16px;text-align&#58;center;">articipate in Drop-in Artmaking at The CJM's Family Artbash; photo by Andria Lo​</span><br></p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">“Hands-On” Visits Create Positive Experiences<br></h3><p> In 2014, The CJM opened the Zim Zoom Family Room, an interactive, activity-filled space housing artist installations, artmaking facilities, a screening booth and more, accessible any time. Focus groups in 2016 showed that attendees enjoy visits more when they include hands-on activities involving parents with their children, so the museum continually refreshes the Zim Zoom Room with new installations and activities. A major section of the space is devoted to an interactive artist exhibit, which changes each year. Past installations included interactive digital projections, an infinity room of mirrors that changed as children added objects to it and a piano that added paint to a canvas whenever anyone pressed a key. Visitor research shows the typical family visits the galleries for half an hour, then goes to Zim Zoom to play for an hour and finishes with lunch in The CJM’s café. Aber believes the Zim Zoom Room and regular family Sundays are cementing The CJM’s reputation as a family-friendly art museum. Visitor data show the institution attracts a consistent family audience year-round, not just when certain exhibitions are on view. </p><p>The CJM’s research revealing the importance of hands-on activities has also reaffirmed the museum’s commitment to offering Drop-In Artmaking for families every Sunday in the education center. When that research also suggested that families appreciate having educators in the gallery near the art itself, The CJM introduced a mobile “Art PushCart” with activities suitable for galleries (i.e., without markers, glue or other wet materials used in Drop-In Artmaking). That immediacy allows educators to help families connect more directly with works on display. Artists featured in exhibitions have even donated in-progress pieces to the Art PushCart that children can explore in the galleries. Drop-In Artmaking still happens on the first and second Sundays of each month; the Art PushCart is offered in galleries on Sundays later in the month. </p><p>Space and material constraints limit Art PushCart activities, and families spend less time with that program than they do with Drop-in Artmaking. But staff observations suggest that the Art PushCart serves more people, because families don’t need to make a special trip to the education center. </p><p>The museum has settled into an annual family attendance of between 10,000 and 12,000 since the Wallace-funded learning period ended. Approaching its eleventh year targeting families, the staff is starting to see signs of a generational cycle of participation. “We’re now part of the lifetime of people’s connections,” says Aber. “We’re beginning to have museumgoers who came as young adults through our teen programs now attending with their own kids, continuing on that life journey.”<br></p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/CJM-attendance-post-wallace-funded-years.jpg" alt="CJM-attendance-post-wallace-funded-years.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><br></p>Bob Harlow822020-01-07T05:00:00ZNew strategies and a new space have helped the museum welcome young visitors and sow the seeds for future growth1/7/2020 2:58:48 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / The Contemporary Jewish Museum Is Now (Also) a Family Destination New strategies and a new space have helped the museum 429https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Year’s Top Blog Posts Signal Interest in SEL, School Leadership326GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning;GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts<p>​​​​I​f we can glean any trends from our list of most popular posts published on the Wallace Blog this year, it might be&#58; Everything is connected. From arts education programs focused on urban tweens to performing arts organizations with varied audiences, the question seems to be how to get people in the door. Then once there, how to keep them…just as school districts are struggling to retain principals and might find support in RAND’s groundbreaking principal pipeline research. And speaking of school leaders, their growing concern for children’s social and emotional learning (SEL) is more evident than ever.&#160;<br></p><p>We’ve got all that and more in our Top 10 list this year, so go ahead and get connected&#58;&#160;<br></p><p> 10)&#160;<strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/the-benefits-of-arts-education-for-urban-tweens.aspx">The Benefits of Arts Education for Urban Tweens</a></strong><strong>&#58;</strong> Does high-quality arts programming benefit urban tweens? What does it take to recruit young people to these programs—and keep them coming back? Read highlights from this webinar hosted by The National Guild for Community Arts Education and drawn from research and practice in our Youth Arts Initiative. <br><br> 9<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/principal-retention-findings-from-ppi-report.aspx"><strong>Systematic Approach to Developing School Leaders Pays Off for Principal Retention</strong></a><strong>&#58;</strong> Principal turnover disrupts schools, teachers and students, and the cost to replace a principal is about $75,000. This blog post investigates the principal retention finding of &#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">RAND’s groundbreaking report</a> on building principal pipelines. <br><br> 8<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-if-districts-focused-not-just-on-preparing-and-hiring-principals-but-also-retaining-them.aspx"><strong>What If Districts Focused Not Just on Preparing and Hiring Principals But Also Retaining Them</strong></a><strong>&#58;</strong> For more on principal retention, Marina Cofield, then the senior executive director of the Office of Leadership at the New York Department of Education, discusses why the nation’s largest school system decided that school leader retention mattered—and what the district did about it.<br><br> 7<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/could-federal-funding-help-pay-for-arts-ed-in-your-school.aspx">Could Federal Funding Help Pay for Arts Education in Your School?</a></strong> The authors of <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/review-of-evidence-arts-education-research-essa.aspx">a report exploring research on approaches to arts education</a> under the Every Student Succeeds Act discuss the types of activities and approaches that qualify for funding, the results arts-education interventions could yield and how educators might use their report to improve arts education in their schools.<br><br> 6<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/five-organizations-five-different-strategies-to-build-arts-audiences.aspx">Five Organizations, Five Different Strategies to Build Arts Audiences</a></strong><strong>&#58;&#160; </strong>Organizations&#160;from our Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS) initiative share early results from their efforts to tap new audiences while continuing to engage current attendees. As detailed in accounts from our BAS Stories Project, the work of the five varies&#160;widely;&#160;some strategies show&#160;success, some falter&#160;and many fall somewhere in between.<br><br> 5<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong> </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/implementation-gets-the-job-done-benefiting-kids-by-strengthening-practices.aspx"><strong>Implementation Gets the Job Done, Benefitting Kids by Strengthening Practices</strong></a><strong>&#58; </strong>Wallace’s recently retired director of research, Ed Pauly, shares insights from his decades-long career into why implementation studies matter, highlighting examples from recent Wallace work.<br><br> 4<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/looking-toward-a-nation-at-hope.aspx">Looking Toward a Nation at Hope&#58;</a></strong><strong> </strong>Rooted in findings that academic learning and social and emotional learning are intertwined, <a href="http&#58;//nationathope.org/report-from-the-nation/">a report released earlier this year by The Aspen Institute</a> shares recommendations and next steps for supporting a more holistic learning approach.<br><br> 3<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span> <strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/choosing-the-right-social-and-emotional-learning-programs-and-practices.aspx">Choosing the Right Social and Emotional Learning Programs and Practices</a></strong><strong>&#58; </strong>More from the SEL front&#58; RAND researchers discuss the importance of social and emotional learning and their new guide meant to help educators adopt evidence-based programs that fit needs of students and communities.<br><br> 2<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span>&#160;<strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/what-leading-for-equity-can-look-like-paul-fleming.aspx">What Leading for Equity Can Look Like</a></strong><strong>&#58; </strong>Paul Fleming, assistant commissioner for the teachers and Leaders Division at the Tennessee Department of Education, discusses the importance of equity and how a publication on the subject by a statewide team seeks to help schools and districts in Tennessee better support all students.<br><br> 1<span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;">)</span><strong>​ </strong><a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/helping-principals-support-social-and-emotional-learning.aspx"><strong>Helping Principals Support Social and Emotional Learning</strong></a><strong>&#58; </strong>It’s no surprise that our top post of 2019 falls at the crossroads of school leadership and SEL&#58; Here, guest author Eric Cardwell, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, tells of his conversations with educators around the country and the guide for SEL implementation that came out of them. </p> <br>Wallace editorial team792019-12-04T05:00:00ZRead the most popular stories we published this year and the research that inspired them.12/4/2019 5:57:28 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Year’s Top Blog Posts Signal Interest in SEL, School Leadership Read the most popular stories we published this year and 1481https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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