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Addressing the "Uncertainty Gap" and Other Audience-Building Strategies16085GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p><em>Two years ago, we kicked off our BAS (Building Audiences for Sustainability) Stories Project with a written and video account of Ballet Austin’s effort </em><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/ballet-austin-building-audiences-for-sustainability.aspx"><em>to expand audiences for unfamiliar works</em></a><em>. To see how the work has been progressing, we asked the company’s executive director Cookie Ruiz to jot down some thoughts. The following is an edited version of our email exchange. </em></p><p><strong>In the original story, the author notes that Ballet Austin was “not considering altering programming to meet audience tastes, but they hoped to understand how audiences were viewing and responding to what the ballet company produced.” Why is it so important to you not to change who you are for the sake of growing your audience, and how do you strike a balance between what audiences expect and what Ballet Austin wants to deliver. </strong></p><p>While we value and respect the restaging of wonderful works that reflect the history of ballet and great classic stories, we cherish the process of bringing new works to the stage. There is simply nothing like it. Today’s artists have much to say and we believe that art is an effective way to share different perspectives. </p><p>So we wonder…why are people so reluctant to try something new when it comes to their entertainment? What is the source of the reluctance? Knowing now that there is an “uncertainty gap,” what does it take to close that gap and trigger a sale for work with which people are less familiar? </p><p>If all we needed to do was change the programming, we would never have needed to ask this question, and we would have missed out on the most fascinating three years of learning. </p><p><strong>Based on market research findings, Ballet Austin adjusted many activities surrounding the performances to help audiences feel more comfortable about attending the ballet. Have you continued growing these programs, and do you have any new findings to share?&#160;</strong></p><p>One of the most valuable disciplines coming from BAS is the importance of the “not to do” list. Many arts organizations offer a veritable plethora of audience engagement opportunities. We all do them because, let’s face it, people keep coming and it’s probably not hurting anything. </p><p>No more.&#160; Even the safe “legacy” strategies we’ve all been doing for years–such as the pre-curtain lecture and the post-performance talk-back–take time and planning that could be used elsewhere, if these strategies are deemed to be ineffective. </p><p>In Round One of BAS we learned that our audience seeks two major connections through the work&#58;&#160; 1) a social connection and/or 2) an emotional/intellectual connection.&#160; We used this information to design an array of pre-sale to post-performance experience paths. </p><p>Last season we had the opportunity to sit down with six groups of audience members; one of those groups was comprised of adult dance students selected from the 35% of our audience that self-reports that they are currently taking dance classes.</p><p>When showed sample digital video content that was used to promote ticket sales to a recent “less familiar work,” this one group skewed dramatically away from the other five groups in their response to the content. What emerged from this research engagement was the realization that we have a third connection…a<strong> </strong>“kinesthetic connection.” These audience members experience the work through their own bodies, with a focus on the choreography itself. Through data mining we learned the happy news that those taking a dance class prior to purchasing their first ticket are more than twice as likely to buy a ticket. </p><p><strong>How does Ballet Austin make decisions on what to continue and what to abandon?</strong> <strong>Can you give an example of something you stopped doing, because the research told you the costs outweighed the benefits?</strong></p><p>When we design a prototype, it has a clearly articulated goal and specific measureable expectations. The Wallace method requires routine evaluation of the prototype. During this process we discuss if there is a variable we might change, followed by a retest. When we realize that the prototype completely failed to meet its goals, then it is out and the prototype is retired.</p><p>An example of this came in year one when we piloted a livestream studio rehearsal, “Ballet Austin Live.” Our team became quite adept at delivering a series of well-produced episodes, but the livestream did not meet its key benchmarks. In fact, during a series of focus groups we learned that we were actually confusing some members of the audience who had no understanding of where the livestream was taking place, or why the dancers weren’t in costume. We made the assumption that viewers would understand the rehearsal process. &#160;</p><p>Ultimately by freeing up the time and considerable dollars, we learned that these “social connectors” preferred for us to send them a “movie trailer” style video with all the pertinent information, helping them to quickly forward to their friends as a suggestion to join them.</p><p><strong>What advice can you offer to organizations who seek to learn from Ballet Austin’s experiences?</strong></p><ul><li>Listen to your audience. We often assume we know what our audiences want, without ever actually asking. At Ballet Austin, we implemented a “Listening Tour” where we conducted calls and in-person sessions to listen to our customers. We found this information essential to help us understand where to focus our efforts.</li><li>You don’t need expensive tools to gather information. The phone calls and in-person sessions were a low-cost way to receive feedback, and Survey Monkey is an easy tool, available to anyone.</li><li>When developing new strategies, articulate and write down a specific goal so that you’re able to accurately measure the outcome.&#160; This is important because it reminds you to end a prototype if it is not successful. This also helps prevent “legacy strategies” that remain year after year, without being able to point to the specific outputs that justify the time and budget support. </li></ul><p><strong>In the 2017 video you said, “We’re asking ourselves what we know and what do we need to know?” What do you know now that you didn’t know two years ago? </strong></p><p>We thought we were dealing with an issue of familiarity, a lack of information. If that had been true we could have solved this by simply providing information. We now know we are dealing with something far more nuanced, an “uncertainty gap” that must be closed in order to trigger a sale. We also found that from time to time we were actually inadvertently “widening” the gap rather than closing it. </p><p>Titles matter, too.<strong> </strong>If the title of the work does not resonate,<strong> </strong>we can lose potential audience members, and we don’t get them back. Related, we’ve retired the term “non-narrative<strong>.”&#160; </strong>The attraction and need for a narrative arc is strong among most audience members, but there is room to differentiate between story, plot and inspiration. Audiences are not homogeneous. If we fail to approach our audience members in a highly-segmented way, they simply won’t hear us. </p><p>Young does not necessarily equal open-minded.&#160; Our research shows us that while 70 percent of our audience is under the age of 51, and while our city is filled with young technology-focused professionals, younger audience members tend to select the most familiar work. The audience for less familiar/new work currently relates to educational attainment (the average educational attainment of these audience members is a Master’s degree) and life experience. Also, nearly 60% of our audience members were involved in our art form (dance) as a child; 34% of our audience is taking dance today and 35% of their children are currently taking dance. </p><p>Finally, the magic of number three&#58; we’ve learned that once an audience member attends their third performance, they are more likely to repurchase, becoming our repeat customer with whom we can develop a long relationship.</p>Wallace editorial team792019-01-29T05:00:00ZBallet Austin continues to gather information, listen to its audiences and develop new strategies.1/29/2019 3:00:08 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Addressing the "Uncertainty Gap" and Other Audience-Building Strategies Ballet Austin continues to gather information 434https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Could Federal Funding Help Pay for Arts Education in Your School?16092GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 makes considerable funding available to state and local education agencies for a variety of activities, including arts education. To make use of this funding, however, agencies must show evidence that the activities they propose make—or could reasonably make—a difference in student outcomes. </p><p>Researchers from the American Institutes for Research recently released<a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Review-of-Evidence-Arts-Education-Research-ESSA.aspx"> a detailed Wallace-commissioned report </a>that points to 88 studies of arts education approaches that meet ESSA's standards of evidence. Their report also includes a broader estimate, based on available evidence, of the results policymakers might see when undertaking certain types of arts education activities.</p><p>Wallace's editorial team talked to the authors of the report—Yinmei Wan, Meredith Ludwig and Andrea Boyle—to discuss the funding programs in ESSA, the activities and approaches that qualify for these programs, the results arts-education interventions could yield and how educators could use their report to improve arts education in their schools.</p><p>The report identifies 12 ESSA funding programs that agencies could use for arts education. &quot;Some funding programs are particular to specific activities,&quot; said Boyle. &quot;For example, if you want to open an arts-focused magnet school, there is a program specifically for that.&quot;</p><p>Others such as the Title I program, which offers funds to help improve certain schools, can be used to support a range of activities, Boyle added. &quot;But they might focus on specific populations, such as English learners or students of low income backgrounds, or on certain types of settings, such as extended days or afterschool programs,&quot; she said. &quot;If you focus on those student groups or activities, then that might be the sort of program you would want to pursue.&quot;</p><p>Approaches that meet the evidence requirements for these funding programs cover a range of art forms, including dance, drama, and media arts. Most, however, focus on music and visual arts. “There is a lot more research literature about music and visual arts”, said Meredith Ludwig, &quot;because those are the dominant programs available to students in schools.&quot;</p><p>ESSA splits evidence into four tiers. Tiers I, II and III require positive, statistically significant results for an arts education intervention to qualify for ESSA. Most of the eligible approaches mentioned in the report fall under Tier IV, which requires a theoretical or research-based rationale suggesting that an intervention islikely todeliver a positive result. </p><p>&quot;The Tier IV evidence category allows for opportunities to innovate with new interventions or new approaches that don't quite have a research base yet,&quot; said Boyle. &quot;It requires an intervention to have a rationale or logic model explaining how the intervention is expected to work, paired with efforts to evaluate what effects the intervention actually has once it is put into practice. To come up with a logic model, you can look at interventions that <em>do</em> have evidence behind them, what their logic model might be, and develop a rationale informed by that.&quot; </p><p>A previous ESSA study could help inform such efforts, Ludwig said. &quot;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/sel-interventions-under-essa-evidence-review.aspx">The RAND report on social and emotional learning</a> did a good job describing how Tier IV is a good jumping off point for further research,&quot; she said. &quot;It's important to explore what you know about a Tier IV intervention, whether you need to make changes to it and how you might bring the level of evidence up.&quot;</p><p>Different ESSA funding programs have different requirements, however. When matching a desired activity to a potential funding program, educators must ensure that the activity meets the evidence standards for that program. &quot;Read the fine print of the specific funding program you're going after,&quot; said Boyle. &quot;And make sure that the evidence aligns with those requirements.&quot;</p><p>Ultimately, the authors suggest, educators must ensure that the interventions they choose fit their broader goals for their schools. &quot;Think about where an arts program would stand in relation to other things the school might be doing,&quot; Boyle said. &quot;Look at the other types of funding available, what your priorities might be and how arts education might fit into those priorities.&quot; </p><p>The report's authors also explored the potential efficacy of arts education efforts beyond ESSA's evidence requirements. The final chapter of the report is a meta-analysis of all empirical studies the researchers found, regardless of whether they found the positive results that would make activities eligible for ESSA. </p><p>“We examined all of the effects produced from well-designed and well-implemented studies, regardless of whether they provide positive or negative findings, or whether the findings are statistically significant or not,” said Yinmei Wan, lead author of the report. “We think it can provide more important information for policymakers that takes account of the magnitude and direction of the effects in all the studies.”</p><p>The meta-analysis found that arts education produces a moderate, statistically significant, positive effect on student outcomes. But Wan urges caution when interpreting its results, largely because of the dearth of empirical research about arts education.“For some art types and outcome domains, there is only one single study,” she said. </p><p>She also points to the difficulties inherent in measuring the entirety of the arts experience. “Researchers are trying to find ways to better measure features of the arts experience,&quot; she said. </p><p>Still, there are many studies that could help point educators in the right direction. &quot;Our review has limited scope,&quot; Wan said. &quot;We don't review international studies or studies about afterschool programs. But there are other resources available like the <a href="https&#58;//ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/">What Works Clearinghouse</a> or <a href="https&#58;//www.artsedsearch.org/">artsedsearch.org</a> that have more information about interventions that are not covered in the report.&quot;</p>Wallace editorial team792019-01-23T05:00:00ZAuthors of a new report discuss ways in which schools could get federal support for arts education and the results they could expect from it.1/23/2019 2:51:30 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Could Federal Funding Help Pay for Arts Education in Your School Authors of a new report discuss ways in which schools 1044https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Encouraging Frequent Attendance for the Arts13010GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>If you could attract neophyte audience members and get them to return by buying them a glass of wine, wouldn’t you do it? And if it was even easier to get them to the next step, becoming regulars—say, all it took was greeting them by name—wouldn’t you do that?</p><p>At the third gate in the decision-making journey potential audience members navigate, they are looking to have compelling, rewarding experiences, while arts organizations are hoping to not only meet those expectations but also exceed them. For it’s a truth readily acknowledged that getting new audience members through the door once is easier—but also more costly—than getting them to return. With attendees who have come at least once before, arts organizations are not starting their overtures on the first note.</p><p><a href="http&#58;//2017study.culturetrack.com/home" target="_blank">Recent research</a> shows that, aside from seeking emotional, mental, and social engagement with the arts, potential attendees—especially members of the millennial generation—are increasingly seeking a “total experience.” They want to have fun and connect with others just as much as they want to be enlightened or entertained by the art they are seeing.</p><p>That’s why the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/denver-center-for-the-performing-arts-is-cracking-the-millennial-code.aspx" target="_blank">Denver Center Theatre Company</a> staged a large-scale immersive production called “Sweet &amp; Lucky” at an offshoot called Off-Center. These interactive performances, designed to engage a generation that is used to immersive, participatory experiences, sold out to attendees with an average age of 41 (vs. 53 for traditional productions). In post-performance surveys, 94 percent of that group rated the play “very rewarding” or “extremely rewarding.” Another key component of the evenings was a purpose-built bar where audience members could socialize before and after the show—meeting another demand of a generation that likes to network.</p><p>The <a href="https&#58;//www.opera-stl.org/" target="_blank">Opera Theatre of St. Louis</a>, another participant in <a href="/pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">The Wallace Foundation’s</a> six-year, $61.5 million “Building Audiences for Sustainability” initiative, didn’t modify its opera offerings, but it too discovered that the opportunity to socialize was crucial to a better return on its outreach initiatives. In 2016, OTSL invited newcomers to attend a pre-performance wine reception, then measured its success. It discovered that 21 percent of the new-to-file audience members who attended the wine welcome returned in 2017 vs. only 17 percent of those who had not attended the wine reception. Joe Gfaller, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, said that OTSL will continue the wine receptions&#58; “It’s a very low-cost, worthy investment.”</p><p>Further on the continuum of reducing audience churn, the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/can-the-citys-boom-mean-new-audiences-for-seattle-symphony.aspx" target="_blank">Seattle Symphony</a> has been successful, with even less expense, at keeping new subscribers. The orchestra simply assigned staff members to greet them by name (learned as their tickets were scanned) when they arrived at Benaroya Hall and to say that the Symphony was happy that they’d come for the performance. “What we found,” said Charlie Wade, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Business Operations, “is that, in fact, the people that we greet renew at a significantly higher rate than people that we don’t greet.” In the 2016-17 season, that tally was 41 percent versus 29 percent.</p><p>During the 2017-18 season, the Symphony greeted more than 900 subscribers, nearly double the first year’s number, and the rate of renewal among them remained significantly higher, too. “It earned us on the order of $60,000 more” in subscription sales, Wade said.</p><p>These initiatives are elements of what has become known as the “surprise and delight” approach to enhancing the total customer experience&#58; it involves giving attendees an unexpected reward that cultivates a bond with them and therefore fosters loyalty. These gestures often turn people into frequent attendees.</p><p>Taking this idea a step further, the Seattle Symphony has for the last two years provided customer experience training to all employees who interact with the public, from parking attendants to food and beverage servers to box office staff. They learn to greet all guests with a smile, eye contact, and a welcome (though they do not have access to names); to listen, care about, and anticipate rather than react to customer desires; and to end each interaction effectively, perhaps inviting audience members to return. As a result, Wade says that customer satisfaction, measured in surveys, has climbed in each of the last three years, undoubtedly helping with customer retention.</p><p>Younger audiences in particular say in surveys that it’s not quite enough for an arts experience to be engaging; they are looking to go to places where they feel an emotional tie, have positive interactions, and experience a sense of community. Efforts like these examples may well help turn first-timers into multi-timers.</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 focuses on how to create a rewarding experience that makes people want to return. 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 participate in the arts and how to combat <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/breaking-the-practical-barriers-of-arts-participation.aspx">the practical barriers</a> of participation. All posts originally appeared on the National Arts Marketing Project's&#160;<a href="https&#58;//namp.americansforthearts.org/2018/10/16/the-arts-experience-and-reducing-audience-churn">blog</a> and are reprinted here with permission. </em></p><p>&#160;</p> Judith H. Dobrzynski892018-11-09T05:00:00ZThird in three-post series examines how to create a rewarding arts experience that makes people want to return11/9/2018 3:31:39 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Encouraging Frequent Attendance for the Arts Third in three-post series examines how to create a rewarding arts experience 247https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
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 257https://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 253https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Research and Self-Reflection Help Strengthen Community Ties16114GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​About 10 years ago, staff at Fleisher Art Memorial recognized that the organization was not keeping pace with demographic changes in its Southeast Philadelphia neighborhood. Although Fleisher had off-site community and school programs that served the neighborhood’s growing number of residents of Latin American and Southeast Asian descent, this population was not well represented among the approximately 4,000 students taking on-site classes. In 2008, Fleisher received a Wallace Excellence Award to identify barriers to their attendance and launch programs to eliminate them. The school then saw a subsequent increase in the perception of Fleisher as an inclusive organization and experienced an uptick in enrollment of area youth in its classes. That effort is described in <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Wallace-Studies-in-Building-Arts-Audiences-Staying-Relevant-in-a-Changing-Neighborhood.aspx">a 2015 case study</a>.</p><p>Because audience diversification can take many years to accomplish, we were eager to revisit Fleisher and see how things now stand. We found an organization that is not only attracting an increasingly diverse audience but is also asking more questions about itself and inviting its community to help provide answers.</p><p> <strong>Engaging the Community</strong></p><p>Fleisher Art Memorial was founded in 1898 in Southeast Philadelphia, which has been an entry point for newly arrived immigrants throughout its history. For most of the 20th century, Fleisher students came from a patchwork of nearby communities of European heritage. In recent decades, however, those populations have been replaced by newcomers from Latin America (mostly Mexico) and Southeast Asia, groups that Fleisher staff came to realize were not signing up for classes. </p><p>Though many of newly arrived immigrants had practiced art in their home countries—and it continued to be an important part of their lives—they did not know that Fleisher could provide them with art-making opportunities. Fleisher’s research revealed that even though the institution was committed to making art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, many of the new immigrants believed the school was for wealthier people of European descent, and in the absence of other information, they assumed they would not be welcome. Therefore, the staff put aside their original aim to engage community residents by offering new programs and instead focused on the need to challenge an inaccurate perception. </p><p>With that in mind, the school launched a community engagement initiative that integrated Fleisher activities into neighborhood daily life. New programs included&#58;</p><ul><li> <a href="http&#58;//fleisher.community/programs/color-wheels/">ColorWheels</a>, a van serving as a mobile art studio that allowed the school to bring art-making to dozens of neighborhood parks, festivals and schools; </li><li>“FAMbassadors,” two local residents who joined the staff to raise awareness of Fleisher and notify the institution of areas where its programs could complement and enrich celebrations and other happenings; and </li><li>Expansion of ARTspiration, its annual day-long street festival, to make it more inclusive of various community groups.</li></ul><p>At the same time, staff members underwent cultural competency training to create a more welcoming environment on-site. They also participated in workshops on topics such as&#58; building relationships, collaborations and partnerships; marketing and messaging in the community; and developing strategies to work with local agencies. After the staff did this groundwork, the neighborhood’s impression of Fleisher as elitist softened considerably, with visitor surveys showing a sharp increase in the perception of Fleisher as committed to serving non-English speakers and people born outside the United States. Moreover, the school began to serve more students from the neighborhoods immediately surrounding it.</p><p> <strong>Continuing Existing Programs and Creating New Ones</strong></p><p>Since the 2015 case study, Fleisher has continued, and in some cases expanded, its engagement programs in these ways&#58;<u></u></p><ul><li>The ColorWheels van still brings art-making throughout the neighborhood, with funding in part from the <a href="https&#58;//www.pnc.com/en/about-pnc/corporate-responsibility/philanthropy/pnc-foundation.html">PNC Foundation</a>. </li><li>ARTspiration has grown and become more of a family festival. Last year, more than 7,000 people visited, a far cry from the less than 2,000 who came just five years ago. The organization still invites vendors and performers who reflect the community’s diversity. According to former director of programs Magda Martinez, ARTspiration has been one of the most effective ways of introducing large numbers of people to Fleisher. </li><li>As part of their orientation, new staff and board members learn about the community research and engagement work to help them understand its objectives and how they link to Fleisher’s mission.</li><li>Fleisher has hired its first communications director, translated promotional and registration materials into multiple languages and hired bilingual staff and faculty.</li><li>A new video-rich website, <a href="http&#58;//fleisher.community/">Fleisher.community</a>, highlights Fleisher’s activities throughout the neighborhood.</li><li>With the departure of one of the original FAMbassadors and the organization’s changing relationship with the communities, staff members are rethinking what role these liaisons will play in the future. </li></ul><p>The following charts show youth- and adult-program enrollments and the percentage of those enrollments that draw from Southeast Philadelphia (defined as zip codes 19147 and 19148). The greatest growth has been in youth programs, with young people from the neighborhood now making up 38 percent of total enrollment, confirming research findings that suggested that residents wanted art for their children. While growth in adult programs has been slower, neighborhood residents now make up a larger percentage of such enrollment than in the past. </p><p> <em>Youth Class and Workshop Enrollment</em><br><img alt="Fleisher-Youth-Enrollment.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-and-Self-Reflection-Help-Strengthen-Community-Ties/Fleisher-Youth-Enrollment.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></p><p> <em>Adult Class and Workshop Enrollment (incomplete data from 2013 and 2014 not shown)</em><br><img alt="Fleisher-Adult-Enrollment.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-and-Self-Reflection-Help-Strengthen-Community-Ties/Fleisher-Adult-Enrollment.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></p><p>One new program forging relationships with neighborhood residents is the celebration of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos at Fleisher. Over several weeks each fall, a working artist and community members gather to create the art used for the festivities at Fleisher, including a large thematic altar (an “ofrenda”) that honors those who have passed away. There are also workshops to make papier-mâché sculptures and paper marigolds. The celebration culminates with face painting and a parade in the streets surrounding Fleisher (with music from community artists) and a gathering at the school. </p><p> <em>Altar Created for Día de los Muertos at Fleisher</em><br><img alt="Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-and-Self-Reflection-Help-Strengthen-Community-Ties/Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></p><p> <em>Día de los Muertos Parade and Celebration at Fleisher<br><img alt="Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos3.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-and-Self-Reflection-Help-Strengthen-Community-Ties/Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></em></p><p> <em> <br> <img alt="Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Research-and-Self-Reflection-Help-Strengthen-Community-Ties/Fleisher-altar-dia-de-los-muertos2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></em>&#160;</p><p>Images by Gustavo Garcia, Colibri Workshop </p><p>The Día de los Muertos celebration began six years ago when Fleisher FAMbassador Carlos Pascual Sanchez connected Exhibitions Manager José Ortiz-Pagán with a local merchant hosting an ofrenda. The merchant, in turn, connected Ortiz-Pagán to local artists, dancers and community leaders involved with other Día de los Muertos festivities around the city. They formed a volunteer committee to create a large-scale ofrendaat Fleisher, inviting the local Mexican community and others. Ortiz-Pagán notes that the school did not invite an artist to come in for just one weekend and build an ofrenda. Instead, it asked the community to inform every step of the process, start to finish, in order to better nurture a long-term relationship. </p><p>Run by an autonomous committee of eight community members who create the budget and plans, the festivities have grown to become one of the largestDía de los Muertos celebrations in the Northeast. Fleisher provides space, materials and expertise such as fundraising and grant-writing support. Last year the observance also included a community fundraiser. Staff members say it was welcomed by neighborhood residents, who wanted to play a larger role in supporting the effort, and by Fleisher’s board and donors, who appreciated the event as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding about the cultural tradition of Día de los Muertos.</p><p>Ortiz-Pagán sees the commemoration as emblematic of Fleisher’s commitment to being an integral part of Southeast Philadelphia by supporting communities to manifest their cultures, a mission reflected in other art-based partnerships as well. Such partnerships include a new Bring Your Own Project initiative funded by the <a href="http&#58;//www.pewtrusts.org/en">Pew Charitable Trusts</a>, which invites artists to Fleisher to work with surrounding communities and the social service organizations that represent them. Says Martinez, “Instead of the artist coming in with a project already set, the artist spends time meeting the community, and we prepare participants to talk about what’s important to them and if they see art playing a role for their concerns in their community and if so, how?”</p><p> <strong>Working as Part of the Community</strong></p><p>Stemming from the first period of research and program development, programs like Bring Your Own Project represent a rethinking of the institution’s approach to engaging with the community. In reaching out to the people they hope will be involved, staff members pose questions and try to learn about neighborhood needs before acting. They also constantly ask themselves why they want to take on a particular initiative and how it will have an impact on the community.</p><p>Martinez notes that the questions are the same regardless of whether the work involves community engagement or other Fleisher programming. In thinking through a new program for older adults, for example, Fleisher has reached out to a predominantly Latino immigrant–serving health agency to identify what art forms most interest its older clients, what kind of engagement would be best for them and what Fleisher can provide that would enrich their lives and is not available elsewhere. This inquiry has led to a new ceramics curriculum designed to promote story sharing and reduce social isolation among the elderly in immigrant communities. </p><p>This way of developing programs is a significant shift for the institution. “Questioning is now an intrinsic part of Fleisher’s culture. I’m not so sure we were good at that ten years ago,” says Martinez. “We now question ourselves, what we’re doing and why. We’re more aware of what’s happening in the city and on a national level.” </p>Bob Harlow822018-08-22T04:00:00ZThe Fleisher Art Memorial builds on its success in connecting with newly arrived immigrants in South Philadelphia8/30/2018 7:20:48 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Research and Self-Reflection Help Strengthen Community Ties The Fleisher Art Memorial builds on its success in connecting 4826https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Want Stronger Communities? Create a Bridge to the Arts.16127GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Over the past decade and a half, The Wallace Foundation has worked with dozens of arts organizations and experienced researchers&#160;to better <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/the-road-to-results-effective-practices-for-building-arts-audiences.aspx">understand effective strategies</a> arts organizations can use to build audiences. We've also sought to understand how government<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/arts-learning-and-arts-engagement.aspx"> policies</a> can support these efforts.</p><p>Underlying this work is a firm belief in the benefits of the arts. As described by RAND's <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/gifts-of-the-muse.aspx"> <em>Gifts of the Muse</em></a><em>, </em>which was commissioned by Wallace, the arts can&#160;confer benefits&#160;for individuals, such as enjoyment, learning&#160;and new perspectives, as well as community-level benefits like social capital, community identity, and new relationships among people.</p><p>Of course, Wallace is hardly the only philanthropy supporting the arts.&#160;</p><p>In a recent speech at the National Museum of American History, Alberto Ibarguen, president and chief executive officer of the Knight Foundation, offered another community-level perspective on why the arts are important in American life.&#160;His speech draws on a new report (<a href="https&#58;//knightfoundation.org/sotc/overall-findings/" target="_blank"><em>Knight Soul of the Community&#58;</em></a><em>Why People Love Where They Live and Why It Matters&#58; A National Perspective</em>) that contains findings highly consistent with those in <em>Gifts</em>. </p><p>Here's some of what Ibarguen said&#58; </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">Over the course of three years—from 2009 to 2011—Knight and Gallup spoke with 43,000 people in 26 communities around the country. Our question was simple&#58; What attaches people to the place where they live? The study was called ‘Soul of the Community’ and we found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, social offerings and aesthetics bind people to place and to each other even more than what we had expected&#58; education or jobs.<br><br>Art binds. Culture generates social capital and strengthens a community’s character. Art brings people together physically—at galleries, museums, performance spaces—and culturally, through its capacity to tell a community’s shared story, to inspire reflection, and form connections that transcend differences. <br> <br>The insight that art and culture bind people to place has animated our work ever since the Gallup study. It inspired the launch of the Knight Arts Program, which, over the last 10 years, has awarded more than $270 million to artists and art institutions in eight cities across the country. That includes $125 million in Miami, which has been ground-zero for our efforts.<br></p><p>In the study, the Gallup organization asked people how attached they were to their communities. They then asked about residents' perceptions of various community attributes and analyzed the correlation between those perceptions and the level of community attachment.</p><p>While the findings don't prove causality, they suggest, as the report notes that &quot;other factors, beyond basic needs, should be included when thinking about economic growth and development. These seemingly softer needs have an even larger effect than previously thought when it comes to residents' attachment to their communities.&quot;</p><p>The 10 top correlations between offering and attachment are ranked below, with social offerings topping the list, followed by&#160;openness,&#160;aesthetics (including architecture and parks), education and basic services.</p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/knight-foundation-correlations.jpg" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;</p><p>In 2010, the most recent year of the study, Gallup probed more deeply into what was behind &quot;social offerings&quot; and expanded the list to include &quot;arts and cultural opportunities&quot; and &quot;social community events.&quot;&#160;The results are below, suggesting that &quot;arts and cultural opportunities&quot; matter a great deal.</p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="social-offerings.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/social-offerings.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;</p><p>This is a far cry from the commonly heard idea that the arts are elitist, and it suggests, at a minimum, that residents’ perception of a community’s arts and culture offerings correlates with their sense of connection to that community. Put another way, the arts may be an important way (though probably not the only one) for people in communities to come together through shared, meaningful experiences. It also underscores the value of finding ways for arts organizations to expand their audiences, and connect with their communities.</p><p>You&#160;can&#160;read or listen to Ibarguen's full talk <a href="https&#58;//knightfoundation.org/speeches/art-binds-people-to-place-and-to-each-other" target="_blank">here</a>. </p> And to read more about how arts organizations can engage more people in the arts, visit our <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences.aspx">Building Audiences for Sustainability</a> page. &#160; Lucas Bernays Held182018-06-27T04:00:00ZNew Knight Foundation report suggests arts and cultural opportunities can increase8/21/2018 3:29:58 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Want Stronger Communities New Knight Foundation report suggests arts and cultural opportunities can increase community 19746https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
High-Quality “Arts Integration” Programs Can Benefit Learning in Core Subjects10273GP0|#d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8;L0|#0d2020f9f-c87c-4828-b93b-572786ae94a8|Arts Education;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>“Arts integration” is a mouthful of a term for a simple idea&#58; using the arts to help students learn about other subjects. Now, a study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) quantifies the effects. It finds that high-quality programs that incorporate music, theater or other arts into core subjects such as English and math can make a difference in learning.</p><p>What’s more, the study describes how arts integration programming that has research-based evidence of effectiveness may be eligible for funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act, one of the leading sources of federal support for public school education. </p><p>AIR researchers scoured studies of arts-integration programs and found 44—a substantial number—that meet the standards of evidence the law requires. Programs that fit the bill incorporate a range of activities, including teacher professional development, school improvement efforts, procurement of instructional materials and supports for English learners.</p><p>Meredith Ludwig, who led the study, presented its findings at the Arts Education Partnership’s State Policy Symposium in March. You can check out her presentation&#160;<a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages">here,</a> or download AIR’s complete report <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/essa-arts-evidence-review-report.aspx">here</a>.</p><p>&#160;</p>Wallace editorial team792018-05-24T04:00:00ZYour 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.5/30/2018 6:29:44 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / High-Quality “Arts Integration” Programs Can Benefit Learning in Core Subjects “Arts integration” is a mouthful of a term 3606https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
The Emergence of The Wallace Foundation16084GP0|#6b3d2eef-1f47-4b7e-b105-bd18b7e1c384;L0|#06b3d2eef-1f47-4b7e-b105-bd18b7e1c384|News;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>As 2017 comes to a close, we are celebrating an anniversary this month. Fifteen years ago today, on December 11, 2002, The Wallace Foundation was launched through the merger of two separate foundations that originated with the philanthropy of DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace. </p><p>Founders of the quintessential American family magazine, Reader’s Digest, the Wallaces began their charitable endeavors with a small, expanding collection of family foundations. After the Wallaces died the mid-1980s, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and the Dewitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund were formed. By the time of the 2002 merger authorized unanimously by the Funds’ boards, the two organizations had supported more than 100 different program initiatives, ranging from teacher recruitment to adult literacy. </p><p>“The merger of the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund united the two passions that motivated our founders—DeWitt's interest in youth development and education, and Lila's in the arts,” says Lucas Held, Wallace’s director of communications. Held, along with senior research and evaluation officer Ann Stone and under the leadership of then-president M. Christine DeVita, helped forge the effort to develop Wallace into a unified brand. “The combining of the two into a single entity known as The Wallace Foundation acknowledged what was already the case at the time of the merger&#58; that both entities were employing a common strategy to achieve philanthropic benefits—working with a small number of grantees to find better ways to solve public problems, and then benefiting other organizations through the power of credible knowledge,” Held says.&#160; </p><p>Leading up to the merger, Wallace had already developed multi-disciplinary staff teams, enabling us to better work with our partners to foster innovation and share knowledge gleaned with the field—a&#160; process that defines our work to this day.</p><p>At the time, we focused the combined weight of the newly formed foundation on three issues&#58;</p><ol><li> <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/Pages/default.aspx">Education Leadership</a>&#58; The initiative launched in 2000 to strengthen the ability of principals and superintendents to improve student learning.</li><li> <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/Pages/default.aspx">After-School Systems</a>&#58; Support for and research into effective after-school programs.</li><li> <a href="/knowledge-center/building-audiences-for-the-arts/Pages/default.aspx">The Arts</a>&#58; To inform the policies and practices of cultural institutions and funders interested in building public participation in the arts.</li></ol><p>These issues resonate in our work as it has evolved over the past 15 years. Our efforts in afterschool, for example, helped pave the way for an initiative launched in 2016 to promote children’s social and emotional learning. All of our work is emblematic of our longer journey from a philanthropy that was structured to create direct benefits by funding good organizations to a national foundation equally committed to helping catalyze social benefits beyond the reach of our limited dollars. As DeVita said at the time&#58; “In everything we do, we strive to be a resource dedicated to helping create, support and share ideas and insights, tools and effective practices. Through that we aim to have a transformative effect on major public systems and, ultimately, on people's lives.”</p>Wallace editorial team792017-12-11T05:00:00Z2017: 15th Anniversary of Merger That Led to The Wallace Foundation12/11/2017 8:45:27 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / The Emergence of The Wallace Foundation Posted: 12/11/2017 Author: Wallace editorial team 245https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Building Arts Audiences: Act on Facts, Not on Hunches16089GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Arts audiences are declining, but arts organizations are proliferating. You don’t have to be an economist to see a system in distress. Arts communities convened in two Texas cities—Austin and Dallas—to address this central mismatch. </p><p>Sponsored by The Wallace Foundation, “Road on the Road&#58; Texas” offered local arts leaders an opportunity to learn about and discuss nine audience-building practices, analyzed and illuminated in Bob Harlow’s <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/The-Road-to-Results-Effective-Practices-for-Building-Arts-Audiences.aspx"> <em>The Road to Results&#58; Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences.</em></a> Harlow, an expert in market research, &#160;studied 10 Wallace-supported &#160;arts organizations that had achieved striking results in audience-building efforts, and this volume, commissioned by the foundation, was a look across what they did to get those results.* </p><p>“It doesn’t have to be an unsolved problem,” &#160;moderator Daniel Windham, Wallace’s director of arts, said of the difficulty that audience-building presents. “It’s not about money or size or even time. It’s about commitment.” He wondered aloud whether arts leaders were willing to make the tough programming and structural changes necessary to attract and retain desired audiences over the long haul. </p><p>Keynoter Harlow brought great enthusiasm and data-laced storytelling to his gentle admonition that hunches about audiences will take arts organizations down the wrong path.&#160; His message? You might think you know enough about audiences not coming or returning, but you’d be wrong and you’d make costly mistakes as a result. Instead, he advised organizations to develop a strategy, determine what motivates them, and make audience building, including audience research, a part of everything they do. </p><p>Engaging audiences starts with defining your &quot;mission-critical&quot; problem, Harlow said. He described this as the understanding that change is needed, creating a sense of urgency in the organization. </p><p>In Dallas, Neil Barkley, director and CEO of the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, asked the audience, “When you think of New Orleans, what comes to mind?” Out came shouts of&#58; jazz, Mardi Gras, Katrina.&#160; He nodded and said, “Our mission-critical problem was, people coming through the door didn’t reflect the community we lived in.” </p><p>Austin's Prakash Mohandas, founder of Agni Dance, said the organizaton’s audience was “anyone interested in learning about dance inspired by Bollywood, or dancing or fitness with a Bollywood flavor to it.” He defined Agni Dance's mission-critical problem as enabling a community to come together, with a special interest in attracting more children, more diversity and, for survival, just more people. </p><p>Cookie Ruiz, executive director of Ballet Austin, said that her company wants to build a following among people unfamiliar with the organization or the work it presents.&#160; She noted that people won’t get excited by what they don’t understand, so Ballet Austin needs to find ways to “make ourselves easy to get to know.”&#160; She added, “This process naturally takes years.&#160; Engagement is more than one-time attendance, but the good news is that it can be done.” </p><p>You can see some of the early results of Ballet Austin’s audience-building efforts <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Ballet-Austin-Building-Audiences-for-Sustainability.aspx">here</a>. </p><p>Harlow wrapped up his Austin and Dallas presentations by summarizing two essentials of the nine practices&#58; </p><ol><li>Successful initiatives made building relationships a sustained priority, so get to know your audiences and help them know you; and</li><li>Keep audience-building issues on the front burner, at the forefront of what you do.</li></ol><p>&#160;</p><p>*The organizations had all been participants in the foundation’s Wallace Excellence Awards initiative, which ended in &#160;2014 after having provided audience-building grants of up to $750,000 to 54 arts organizations in six cities.&#160; Across the 46 WEA recipients that provided reliable data, the results were promising. Over a period that averaged three years, the organizations seeking an increase in the size of their overall audience saw median gains of 27 percent, while those targeting growth of a specific segment, such as teens or families, saw median gains of 60 percent. </p><div><div>&#160;</div>&#160;</div>Jessica Schwartz482017-11-03T04:00:00ZA Report from Wallace’s “Road on the Road” Convening to Illuminate Effective Audience-Building Practices8/21/2018 3:31:52 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Building Arts Audiences: Act on Facts, Not on Hunches A Report from Wallace’s “Road on the Road” Convening to Illuminate 295https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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