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Taking Down the Practical Barriers of Arts Participation16088GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>Try taking a youngster to a museum. It’s not easy. Where will you put the stroller? What about the crackers and the Cheerios? It’s even harder to manage a visit to an opera or a dance performance.</p><p>Such practical thoughts, and others like them, run through the minds of people (be they parents, friends, couples, or individuals) who are interested in participating in the arts—but haven’t yet committed. Their decision making isn’t over because they haven’t worked out when, where, and how they might participate. The barriers they face at this stage are largely practical ones, not perceptual ones, where they are unsure about what to expect. People ask questions like&#58; Does this specific arts opportunity fit in my schedule? Can I afford the tickets? Is it worth my time and effort to participate (opportunity cost)? Where is the show, and can I get there easily? Where will I park my car? Whom will I go with? Do I have all the information I need to make a decision?</p><p>In other words, they ask, does it work for me?</p><p>Several arts organizations participating in <a href="/pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">Wallace Foundation</a> initiatives have taken measures to make attendance work for a larger number of people, then tracked the results. In San Francisco, when the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/converting-family-into-fans.aspx" target="_blank">Contemporary Jewish Museum</a> targeted families as a desired audience, it first tried offering discounts. But they didn’t come; something else was needed. So, aside from offering a panoply of family activities, like art packs, the museum has marked off a space in its lobby to park strollers, installed changing tables in every restroom, and added low sinks that children can reach on their own. The museum also created family seating nooks in many exhibitions, including places where children may safely draw or read. As families enter the museum, they are told about areas where children may snack and where they may engage in touchable activities. “We try to be clear about what we can allow in a really friendly way,” said Fraidy Aber, Director of Education and Public Programs.</p><p>As a result, family visits since 2008 have jumped nearly tenfold, to some 13,000 families visiting a year—or 15 percent of total attendance versus 10 percent at the start.</p><p>Several years ago, the <a href="https&#58;//www.opera-stl.org/" target="_blank">Opera Theatre of St. Louis</a> began to hear very clearly that childcare was a practical barrier for many there, too. Now, at select matinees, OTSL offers a half-day “Kids Camp” for $20 per child. “Kids learn all about the performance you are seeing. They hear live music. They learn the story. They make their own little costume and set elements,” said Timothy O’Leary, who was the OTSL’s General Director until July 1 of this year. “And then, when you get your kid at the end of Opera Kids’ Club and you’ve been to the opera, you’ve got a little sheet about what they learned, and you ask them questions on the drive home. This is an incredibly great experience that people responded to really well.” It also exposes a very young generation to the arts, with potential reward in the future.</p><p>Other arts institutions have made different modifications to pull down practical barriers. The <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/can-the-citys-boom-mean-new-audiences-for-seattle-symphony.aspx" target="_blank">Seattle Symphony Orchestra</a>, for example, realized that its two- to three-hour concerts starting at 8 p.m. were inconvenient for some would-be patrons, so it started a new series of one-hour concerts, called “Untuxed,” that begin at 7 p.m. They’ve been very successful, attracting many new attendees.</p><p>Cost may be the biggest practical barrier for some groups—especially millennials, who, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/building-millennial-audiences-barriers-and-opportunities.aspx" target="_blank">surveys show</a>, typically overestimate ticket prices to arts events—though cost issues may also reflect deeper concerns about risking money on events they do not enjoy. Still, communicating actual ticket prices, and sometimes offering discounts, has helped pull in millennials.</p><p>Such practical matters can play a large part in the individual decision making of potential patrons; reducing these barriers can yield measurable results.</p><p><em>This three-post series outlines the Audience Journey, a conceptualization of people's decision-making process when choosing to attend an arts performance, exhibition or event. This post highlights ways to overcome some practical barriers to participating in the arts. Other posts suggest ways organizations might <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/countering-myths-and-misperceptions-of-the-arts.aspx">engage people who are less inclined</a> to attend or visit and how to create a <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Encouraging-Frequent-Attendance-for-the-Arts.aspx">rewarding experience </a>that makes people want to return. All posts originally appeared on the National Arts Marketing Project's&#160;<a href="https&#58;//namp.americansforthearts.org/2018/10/16/taking-down-practical-hurdles">blog</a> and are reprinted here with permission. </em></p><p>&#160;</p> Judith H. Dobrzynski892018-11-02T04:00:00ZSecond in three-post series highlights audiences' practical concerns like cost or venue and how organizations can address them11/9/2018 12:11:54 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Taking Down the Practical Barriers of Arts Participation Second in three-post series highlights audiences' concerns such as 732https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Countering Myths and Misperceptions of Participating in the Arts10323GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>​​“What would I wear?” That age-old question is not simply the whining of a teenager facing a monumental quandary despite a closetful of clothes. It’s one of the many questions that newcomers ask when deciding whether or not to partake of the arts.</p><p>Among the others&#58; Will I know what to do? Will I see members of my peer group there? Will I feel included? Will I like it? Is it for me?</p><p>Over the last few decades, in the deep belief that the arts belong to everyone, The Wallace ​Foundation has funded audience-building initiatives at many arts organizations; it’s now in the middle of a six-year, $61.5 million <a href="/knowledge-center/building-audiences-for-the-arts/pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">“Building Audiences for Sustainability”</a> program. Reviewing theoretical and data-driven research, along with practical experiences from arts organizations over the past 10 years, Wallace and its partners have developed a much better understanding of the reasons people choose to go, or not to go, to an arts performance or exhibition.</p><p>The decision is not a simple case of yes or no. It’s a series of decisions that could be construed as a journey with gates set up along the way. At each one, some people will choose to continue on, while others will drop out. At the first juncture, people tend to consider, usually subconsciously, many questions about their expectations of an arts opportunity—with answers that can be influenced by arts organizations intent on building their audiences.</p><p>Sometimes all it takes is a small gesture or more information; sometimes, more.</p><p>For example, because young people had told the Opera Theatre of St. Louis in focus groups that they didn’t know what to wear to an opera, OTSL posted pictures of audience members in all manner of dress, casual and fancy, on its Facebook and Instagram pages. That was one question taken care of, with a reassuring answer—wear what you want.</p><p>When <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/ballet-austin-building-audiences-for-sustainability.aspx" target="_blank">Ballet Austin</a> discovered that potential audience members were turned off by its promotional materials for contemporary works—and didn’t know what to expect, let alone if they would like it—the company changed tactics. It discontinued traditional open rehearsals, popular with regular attendees but not new people, and instead started Ballet Austin Live! That’s a 30-minute livestream of a rehearsal that allowed more, and different, people to see what a production might be like before they bought tickets.</p><p>To make sure that millennial visitors to the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/isabella-stewart-gardner-museum-case-study-update.aspx" target="_blank">Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum</a> felt comfortable at its “Third Thursdays” evenings—which feature gallery games, music, hands-on artmaking, food, and drinks—the museum recruited volunteers from the same generation. They provide a welcoming, unintimidating presence, answer questions about the art on view, and sometimes even join in the games by offering helpful hints.</p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences-getting-past-its-not-for-people-like-us.aspx" target="_blank">Pacific Northwest Ballet</a>, which once was viewed by teens as boring and stuffy, conquered the “it’s not for me” syndrome with a raft of measures including teen-only previews of PNB’s annual choreographers showcase, increased Facebook activity about the company’s performances, and behind-the-scenes videos.</p><p>Changing attitudes—which is what these measures aim to do—isn’t always easy, especially if they were formed by a negative previous arts experience or are ingrained within a person’s social group. But with specific overtures to hesitant individuals or reluctant groups, some arts organizations are countering misperceptions that may prevent some people from attending an arts experience and attracting new audiences.</p><p><em>This three-post series outlines the Audience Journey, a conceptualization of people's decision-making process when choosing to attend an arts performance, exhibition or event. This post suggests ways organizations might engage people who are less inclined to attend or visit. The next two posts cover how to combat the <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/breaking-the-practical-barriers-of-arts-participation.aspx">practical barriers </a>of attending and how to create a <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Encouraging-Frequent-Attendance-for-the-Arts.aspx">rewarding experience</a> that makes people want to return. All posts originally appeared on the National Arts Marketing Project's <a href="https&#58;//namp.americansforthearts.org/2018/10/16/the-road-to-participation-countering-misperceptions" target="_blank">blog</a> and are reprinted here with permission.</em></p>Judith H. Dobrzynski892018-10-26T04:00:00ZFirst in three-post series examines people's questions about arts experiences and how organizations can help answer them to build audiences11/9/2018 12:11:56 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Countering Myths and Misperceptions of Participating in the Arts The first in a three-post series examines people's 525https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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