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What We Need from The Arts Right Now24124GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​As arts organizations around the country plan to reopen, strategists and researchers at LaPlaca Cohen and Slover Linett have teamed up on a research initiative to help arts leaders understand what audiences want and expect from organizations during the pandemic—and how organizations can address the hopes, fears and needs of people as they consider returning. The new study, <a href="https&#58;//culturetrack.com/research/covidstudy/">Culture Track&#58; Culture and Community in a Time of Crisis</a>, based on responses from more than 120,000 survey respondents, sheds light on the current cultural landscape.<u> </u></p><p>We caught up with Jen Benoit-Bryan, vice president &amp; co-director of research at Slover Linett Audience Research and Diane Jean-Mary, partner and chief strategy officer at LaPlaca Cohen, over email to learn more about the implications of the study and how people might look to it for guidance.</p><p> <strong>We know you have been sharing these findings with arts leaders around the country. What has resonated with the field? How are organizations applying this data? </strong></p><p> <strong> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Djm headshot_color.png" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/What-We-Need-from-Arts-and-Culture-Right-Now/Djm%20headshot_color.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;175px;height&#58;175px;" />DJM</strong>&#58; Presenting the findings amidst our placeless, Zoom-fueled, reality has provided space for a truly national conversation surrounding the role of arts and culture in our society. Previously, our Culture Track road shows were highly localized, bringing in audiences from a particular city or region to discuss the latest findings. This year, we were able to have far greater dialogue at the national level as participants tune into our presentations from all around the country. This feels particularly vital in a year when we are all navigating the same global issues of health, a hurting economy, and the fight for racial justice. It’s been pretty incredible to see institutions around the country not just take meaningful insights from the study but also from each other. </p><p> <strong> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Jen6.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/What-We-Need-from-Arts-and-Culture-Right-Now/Jen6.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;175px;height&#58;117px;" />JBB</strong>&#58; One of the most surprising and meaningful insights from the data has been the high level of arts and culture digital participation among the general public during COVID-19, and crucially, the finding that digital offerings seem to be expanding and diversifying participation. It has been fascinating to see that for many segments of the arts and culture sector, a lot of the people using digital content from organizations hadn’t attended that type of organization in person in the previous year—for example, 51 percent of people using digital content from science museums during COVID-19 hadn’t been to a science museum in person in 2019. </p><p>Perhaps even more importantly, those using digital content who hadn’t been in-person were much more likely to be diverse along demographics that we know are underrepresented in arts and cultural organizations, such as people with low incomes, low education levels and Black or African Americans. We have heard from many organizations who are already using these findings to explain why resources for digital engagement are critical now and in the future.</p><p> <strong>You’ve both been doing research on audiences for many years. What is different about these findings? What do audiences continue to value during a pandemic?</strong></p><p> <strong>JBB&#58;</strong> &#160;A central assumption we held when designing this work was the need to understand what communities require and want from cultural organizations during COVID-19. Therefore, it was critical that we hear from a range of audiences and attenders to culture—defined quite broadly—as well as the public with their varied types and degrees of connection to culture. That’s unique. Most studies focus on a single organization’s audiences or perhaps a portion of the cultural landscape like orchestras, but this study goes way beyond those frames of reference. The sheer scale of participation in the study—over 120,000 respondents—allowed us to slice and compare segments of the data in a more granular way, which is extremely powerful for understanding portions of the whole like users of digital arts and culture activities.</p><p> <strong>DJM</strong>&#58; COVID-19, in every fundamental way, has disrupted our sense of what normal looks like, and we’re seeing that bear out in the research. In a time of such great uncertainty, many are turning to creativity, perhaps as a way to regain a sense of agency, expression and enjoyment. It was great to see how many people are leaning into their inner artist and maker&#58; singing, crafting, baking, painting and more. There are also facets of culture that are just as vital now as they were before the pandemic, particularly in the ways that people perceive the value of the arts&#58; a force for connecting us to each other, for understanding the vastness of human experience, and for emotional and intellectual escape.&#160;</p><p> <strong>Was there anything that surprised you about these findings?</strong> </p><p> <strong>JBB&#58;</strong> I was surprised by the proportion of the public—96 percent—that sees a role for arts and culture organizations during a crisis like COVID-19. When we wrote this question, we thought many people might tell us that arts and culture should just “get out of the way” during a crisis, but people are looking to arts and culture for four main kinds of help&#58; support staying connected with others and educating kids; emotional support; practical support and opportunities for distraction and escape.<br><br><strong>What is one key finding you hope organizations will take away from the study?</strong></p><p> <strong>DJM</strong>&#58; The single most revealing finding was just how big the racial inclusion problem is in our sector. Anecdotally, the field understands that it has failed to welcome and serve communities of color and has made strides to confront diversity, but there’s still a long way to go to achieve equity and inclusion, and this is reflected in the data. Our survey reached 122,000 respondents, largely pulled from lists provided by over 650 cultural organizations around the nation. The overwhelming majority of those audiences are white, 85 percent of the audiences surveyed through their lists to be exact. Of those surveyed through cultural organizations’ lists, just three percent are Black, five percent are Hispanix/Latinx and four percent are Asian/Pacific Islander. Less than one percent is Native American. Every organization should reflect on this data, unpacking the barriers that have signaled to BIPOC audiences that we do not belong. </p><p>For the future relevance of the arts, cultural organizations will have to change alongside our society. And that change cannot be limited to the visitor-facing channels at their disposal. Audiences can see through the optics of superficial inclusion, they can feel when diversity is a mere checkbox. Cultural organizations should instead focus on building trust, relevance and connection with their audiences of color.&#160; </p><p> <strong>JBB&#58;</strong> &#160; The research also provides some clear evidence about the changes that would make arts and culture organizations better for Black or African American respondents and Hispanic or Latinx respondents. Almost three-quarters of Black or African American respondents, two-thirds of Hispanic or Latinx respondents and about half of the public want arts and culture organizations to become more centered on their communities and the people in them. This includes changes such as greater diversity; a focus on local artists, nonprofits and community; deepening engagement with young people; treating employees fairly; and being friendlier to all kinds of people. There’s more to unpack and explore here, particularly through the upcoming qualitative research coming next. </p><p> <strong>Did the data give any clues as to the future of organizations using digital content going forward?</strong></p><p> <strong>DJM</strong>&#58; With increasing financial pressure placed on cultural organizations to recoup revenue lost to COVID-19 closures, many institutions are assessing how best to monetize their virtual content. It is important as they examine all the options on the table, not to regard digital as a substitute for prior onsite revenues. The data suggests that the audience’s appetite for paid digital content is quite low. Instead, digital offerings present an opportunity for broadening audiences beyond the typical visitor. We’re seeing greater engagement particularly amongst people of color and lower income families.&#160;Digital is a great tool that institutions should deploy in service to bettering the lives of their communities, rather than as a driver of revenue.</p><p> <strong>What is the level of confidence on these findings? Do you feel they are broadly applicable?</strong></p><p> <strong>JBB&#58; </strong>As we designed the study, we made a few decisions with the goal of creating a broadly applicable and useful dataset. First, we defined “arts and culture” quite widely and worked to recruit participating organizations across the sector. We also worked with NORC [National Opinion Research Center] at the University of Chicago to draw an extremely rigorous and representative sample of the public with a margin of error of 2.88 percentage points. In survey design, we made the strategic decision not to ask any questions that were focused just on the organization distributing the survey—although we considered it—because we wanted these findings to be broadly useful to the arts and culture sector.&#160;</p><p> <strong>Given the findings, what kind of an arts experience would people be responsive to over the next six to 12 months?</strong></p><p> <strong>DJM</strong>&#58; Based on what we’re seeing from the data and hearing from the field, the most successful arts experiences of the future will be designed around what audiences are so desperately missing in their lives—connection, novelty and adventure. We’re in the wild west of creativity and invention, and people seem more willing to experiment with activities that help them reconnect with the parts of life we’ve lost. We are all craving connection with our loved ones and that will only grow in intensity as we move from one year in quarantine to the next. I bet that any arts organization that provides a way for friends and families to connect through shared, novel experiences will be a major hit with audiences. This is especially true if the experience embraces a participatory approach that invites the audience to be the engineers of the adventure, fun and sense of togetherness. Bonus points for experiences that get us off Zoom and into the world (safely, of course), and also for experiences that help parents and caregivers educate children in a fun and interactive way.&#160; </p><p> <em> <span> <span> <strong> </strong></span></span>Diane Jean-Mary is a global strategy consultant with expertise in organizational change and transformation for the field of arts and entertainment. As Partner and Chief Strategy Officer at LaPlaca Cohen, Diane oversees a dynamic range of projects, nationally and internationally, on cultural entrepreneurship, mission and purpose development, brand strategy, strategic visioning, and audience development across non-profit and corporate creative institutions. She also leads the firm's ongoing Culture Track study, an insights and innovation platform dedicated to addressing the most pressing challenges in the cultural sector. <br></em></p><p> <em><span><span><strong></strong></span></span>Jen Benoit-Bryan is the Vice President &amp; Co-director of Research at Slover Linett, a firm that uses the tools of research and evaluation to help the cultural sector understand its participants and communities, experiment with new strategies for engagement, and connect more deeply to more people. Jen has overseen a portfolio of over sixty complex client engagements over the past six years at Slover Linett, using the tools of research and evaluation to help organizations meet their goals. Since coming to Slover Linett in 2014, she has worked on wide-ranging, often multi-year projects with the National Academy of Sciences, Central Park Conservancy, the Kennedy Center, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Carnegie Hall, Washington National Opera, Ballet Austin, the High Line, Dallas Zoo, and SFMOMA, among many other arts, culture, and informal learning organizations. Jen serves as the Principal Investigator &amp; Slover Linett Team Director for the Culture &amp; Community in a Time of Crisis (CCTC) study conducted in 2020 in partnership with LaPlaca Cohen. Jen earned her Ph.D. in public administration &amp; research methodology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. </em></p><em> </em>Wallace editorial team792020-09-09T04:00:00ZNew large-scale survey on cultural sector in the pandemic finds audiences crave meaningful digital experiences, more racial inclusion and connection with others9/11/2020 3:26:35 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / What We Need from The Arts Right Now New large-scale survey on cultural sector in the pandemic finds audiences crave more 170https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Can Artists Help Reimagine Our Future Post-COVID?24344GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>As society looks to address the ravaging effects of both COVID-19 and systemic racism, artists and arts organizations have an essential role in reimagining the future. In an Op-Ed for <em>KCET’s Southland Sessions</em>, Kristy Edmunds, Executive and Artistic Director for UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, argues that while the products of the creative sector will undoubtedly continue as indispensable contributions for a thriving society moving forward, it is artistic process and creative problem solving that are most crucial to paving the way towards a vital and inclusive future. Edmunds argues that these intrinsic benefits of the arts are often overlooked, particularly in discussions about post-pandemic recovery. </p><p>To nurture this philosophy, arts organizations can and must help get artists to the recovery table. It starts with a commitment to what Edmunds calls “duty of care.” For Edmunds, what this looks like is maintaining transparency and cultivating pathways of information&#58; “We have to provide as much information as possible to artists. We’re saying here’s what we’re seeing, here’s what we’re learning from various organizational/institutional vantage points, so that knowledge is transferred and shared rather than left dangling in the air. Artists will know what to do for their work and process and decision-making. The most important thing for them to know is that they’re not being abandoned—they are being sought.” </p><p>In addition, Edmunds says, arts organizations can proactively work to ensure that artists have a prominent voice in post-pandemic recovery conversations. She observes that it tends to be the most visible leader who is invited to the policy roundtable, but that person may not necessarily be best suited for the task at hand. To address this, she offers, “It’s incumbent upon us, as leaders, to understand the dynamic of what’s being sought, and to bring artists into the room with us.” </p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.kcet.org/shows/southland-sessions/kristy-edmunds-public-care-is-our-most-durable-good">Read Edmunds’ Op-Ed on the KCET website</a>. </p> Wallace editorial team792020-08-11T04:00:00ZOp-Ed for KCET argues that artists—and the organizations that support them—can play a vital role in post-pandemic problem solving8/11/2020 6:17:51 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Can Artists Help Reimagine Our Future Post-COVID Op-Ed for KCET argues that artists—and the organizations that support 466https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
6 Data-Tested Approaches to Building New Audiences24055GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>It’s safe to say that most museums would like new visitors. Visitors actualize museums’ missions, give them vibrancy as places of insight and connection, and contribute to their financial welfare. Even for museums that receive plenty of visitors in number, there may be interest in seeing <em>different</em> ones, from backgrounds and identity groups outside of the usual audience makeup.</p><p>But though the <em>why </em>is clear, the <em>how </em>can be elusive. There is no shortage of ideas about how to attract newcomers, and it’s hard to know which are worth the investment of time and money to implement. Thankfully, The Wallace Foundation has made it a mission to partner with cultural organizations and help them address this question with research rather than guesswork, publishing the results in a series of detailed and candid <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences.aspx">reports</a>. AAM has summarized the findings from these case studies in <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/programs/building-audiences/resources/">fact sheets</a>, with key insights and thought-provoking discussion questions tailored to the museum field.</p><p>Though the institutions profiled are an assorted bunch—spanning museums, performing arts organizations, and art studios around the country—many of the lessons they learned overlap. Here are some tips that recurred throughout their experiments.</p><h2>1. Identify a target audience and get to know them well.<img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/6-Data-Tested-Approaches-to-Building-New-Audiences/Omar-Lopez-on-Unsplash.jpg" alt="Omar-Lopez-on-Unsplash.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></h2><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <em>Photo credit&#58; Omar Lopez on Unsplash</em><br></p><p>It’s not enough to want “new visitors” in general. Different visitors want different things, and a strategy aimed at everyone is likely to please few. Instead, you need to get specific about who you want to come, so you can identify precisely what they want and why they aren’t already coming.</p><p>Your target audience might be young professionals, teenagers, parents with children, or recent immigrants from Latin America and Asia—to name some of the examples from the Wallace studies. Choose one that makes sense for the type of museum you are and the area you’re located in.</p><p>Once you’ve identified this target audience, start by getting to know them well—ideally by listening to them directly, as Wallace participants did in focus groups and other market research. That way, you can test your assumptions about how they feel and what they want, which are likely to be wrong by instinct. Research can reveal surprising, overlooked, and even radically simple barriers to attendance, <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Fleisher.pdf" target="_blank">like the Fleisher Art Memorial’s revelation</a> that its building was intimidating to people who had never been inside.</p><h2>2. Get the whole organization on board.<img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/6-Data-Tested-Approaches-to-Building-New-Audiences/airfocus-on-Unsplash.jpg" alt="airfocus-on-Unsplash.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></h2><p></p><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <em>Photo credit&#58; airfocus on Unsplash</em></p><p>Before you proceed with an audience-building initiative, make sure to discuss the plans with the entire organization. Cultivating a new audience has real impacts on how you operate, and without sufficient dialogue, staff and board members may feel blindsided or undermined by these changes.</p><p>But this emphasis on transparency and collaboration is not only to preserve morale. Letting staff or leadership express their concerns about your ideas can strengthen them, accounting for wrinkles you didn’t consider and pushing you toward creative compromises to retain existing audiences.</p><p>For many in the organization, a sticking point might be how a plan adheres to the museum’s mission. They may think the museum will lose its focus and change for the worse if it tries to pursue a new audience. For that reason, it’s important to keep your mission statement close at hand while you’re working on audience-building strategies, to think about how they will tie into rather than deviate from those goals.</p><p>Another possibility is that your audience-building work will <em>reconnect </em>you to your mission. In the process of figuring out why a target audience isn’t visiting, you may realize you’ve been falling short of the purpose your museum was created for to begin with. That was the case for the <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.San-Fran-Girls-Chorus.pdf" target="_blank">San Francisco Girls Chorus</a>, which realized it had lost focus on performance in favor of other aspects of its operations, and ended up following its rebrand into a refocused culture and board composition. </p><h2>3. Revamp your marketing.<img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/6-Data-Tested-Approaches-to-Building-New-Audiences/Yitzhak-Rodriguez-on-Unsplash.jpg" alt="Yitzhak-Rodriguez-on-Unsplash.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></h2><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <em>Photo credit&#58; Yitzhak Rodriguez on Unsplash</em><br></p><p>If there is one throughline from the focus groups in the Wallace studies, it is that participants expected the cultural organizations’ offerings to be boring, old-fashioned, and intimidating for people inexperienced with the medium or focus area. If you think this is untrue for your museum, your marketing and communications are the place to bust these stereotypes.</p><p>In many of the studies, target audiences were put off by the organization’s existing marketing, reading it as flat, esoteric, and uninspiring. It came from and spoke to an in-group of enthusiasts, or was lacking in intention and flair altogether. Several of the organizations found success by using more dynamic visuals, like emotive close-ups of ballerinas or choral singers, and letting these do most of the talking rather than text.</p><p>But don’t neglect the text in your communications, either. Simple, short, and approachable information was important to many focus group participants, who found existing materials dense and confusing. Based on this feedback, <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Fleisher.pdf" target="_blank">Fleisher Art Memorial</a> redesigned its course catalog to be simpler and more scannable. The <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Minnesota-Opera.pdf" target="_blank">Minnesota Opera</a>, accustomed to marketing its performances with information on composers and historical contexts, tried to speak in terms of storylines and spectacle instead.</p><p>Both in images and words, it helps to emphasize the universal themes and benefits of your experience, those at the root of what you offer. This could be the joy of creating something with your own two hands, as <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Clay-Studio.pdf" target="_blank">The Clay Studio</a> emphasized, or the excitement of watching interpersonal dramas unfold, as the <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Minnesota-Opera.pdf" target="_blank">Minnesota Opera</a> did. You likely already know why your museum is worth visiting—why the subject it explores is fascinating—but for people who don’t, you need to spell it out.</p><h2>4. Roll out the welcome mat.<img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/6-Data-Tested-Approaches-to-Building-New-Audiences/Russ-Martin-on-Unsplash.jpg" alt="Russ-Martin-on-Unsplash.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></h2><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <em>Photo credit&#58; Russ Martin on Unsplash</em><br></p><p>As powerful as marketing and communications can be, they aren’t everything. Ideally, they should illuminate an experience that is <em>actually</em> engaging and welcoming, not misrepresent it as such—which won’t go far in cultivating visitors in the long run.</p><p>Ask yourself whether you can offer exhibitions and programs relevant to the target audience. (If not, you probably have the wrong target audience.) Then work to create them, if they don’t already exist. When the <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Jewish-Museum.pdf" target="_blank">Contemporary Jewish Museum</a> wanted to reach parents with children, for instance, it mounted exhibitions exploring the work of famous Jewish children’s book authors, and began a series of special programs designed for parents and children to mingle. When <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Clay-Studio.pdf" target="_blank">The Clay Studio</a> wanted to reach a millennial audience, it adapted to their preferences with relaxed, social alternatives to its normally intensive sculpture classes.</p><p>With a relevant experience in place, you should figure out how to make your welcome loud and clear, especially if your target audience is one used to feeling out of place in your setting. The <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Pacific-Northwest-Ballet.pdf" target="_blank">Pacific Northwest Ballet</a>, for instance, made a special announcement before performances to thank teenagers attending through a special ticket program. The <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Jewish-Museum.pdf" target="_blank">Contemporary Jewish Museum</a> designed its lobby to be inviting to children, with trained staff available to guide them. <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Fleisher.pdf" target="_blank">Fleisher Art Memorial</a> created its first paid visitor services positions and trained staff in cultural competency, to address the unwelcoming atmosphere its immigrant target audience reported.</p><p>In the focus groups, intimidation was a recurring barrier to attending. Rightly or wrongly, many people expect elitism from cultural institutions—that they will be shamed or embarrassed for not already knowing a topic well, or otherwise not “fitting in.” Though it may be hard to perceive from the inside, inviting newcomers to visit your museum can feel like inviting them to a party where they don’t know anyone and won’t be able to follow the conversation. So, just like a good party host, you need to look for ways to make them feel comfortable and bring them into the fold.</p><h2>5. Partner with organizations already serving your target audience.<img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/6-Data-Tested-Approaches-to-Building-New-Audiences/My-life-Through-a-Lens-on-Unsplash.jpg" alt="My-life-Through-a-Lens-on-Unsplash.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></h2><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <em>Photo credit&#58; “My Life Through a Lens” on Unsplash</em><br></p><p>Like transparency, partnerships are more than a feel-good buzzword. They can make your job easier, drawing on existing expertise rather than reproducing it from scratch. This is especially true with reaching new audiences—surely there are organizations in your area already reaching the audience you want, and working with them can bring mutual benefit.</p><p>Several of the Wallace participants found luck through partnerships like these. For example, the <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Boston-Lyric.pdf" target="_blank">Boston Lyric Opera</a> went to elaborate lengths to bring full-scale performances to new neighborhoods, but only succeeded in attracting newcomers when it hosted “previews” with local libraries. The <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Minnesota-Opera.pdf" target="_blank">Minnesota Opera</a> partnered with a local celebrity news radio host who effused on-air about the spectacle of its performances, speaking in terms he knew his audience would relate to.</p><p>But not all partnerships are created equal. Don’t just look at them as a means to an end to promote your offerings. For best results, you need your partners to be actively engaged, and the best way to ensure that is to collaborate on a strategy that also meets their needs and abilities. <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Fleisher.pdf" target="_blank">Fleisher Art Memorial</a> stressed this in its work with community organizations serving local immigrants, calling it a “give and take” that required active listening to understand the constraints of its partners.</p><h2>6. Stay agile.<img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/6-Data-Tested-Approaches-to-Building-New-Audiences/Fores-Simon-on-Unsplash.jpg" alt="Fores-Simon-on-Unsplash.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></h2><p class="wf-Element-ImageCaption"> <em>Photo credit&#58; Forest Simon on Unsplash</em><br></p><p>Your work on audience-building strategies doesn’t stop after you begin deploying them. On the contrary, you should be vigilant of the data on how they perform, so you can tweak ideas that fall behind and boost those that excel. In the process of refining a lagging strategy, you might discover an important variable you hadn’t thought of, which can then be applied to future endeavors. If nothing will turn it around, you have the freedom to stop doing it and shift resources to successful ideas—a blessing in resource-strapped non-profits.</p><p>At the <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fact-Sheet.Seattle-Opera.pdf" target="_blank">Seattle Opera</a>, staff organized their multi-year digital outreach initiative into phases, sourcing audience evaluations in between each phase. From these evaluations, they learned that certain of their early strategies—like podcasts, blog content, and interactives—did not appeal to audiences as much as behind-the-scenes videos. So they dropped the content that was least appealing and channeled their resources into more ambitious video concepts, going with the flow of what audiences were responding to.</p><p>Think of your strategies as experiments. It’s okay—and likely—that some of them will fail. Not even the <a href="https&#58;//www.vulture.com/2020/07/is-anyone-watching-quibi.html" target="_blank">best-resourced company</a> is immune to this. But if you commit to trying, and staying open-eyed about what is and isn’t working, your successes just might revitalize and sustain your museum.</p><p><em>This post was originally published on the <a href="https&#58;//www.aam-us.org/" target="_blank">American Alliance for Museums</a> website and is reprinted here with permission. </em></p> Joseph O’Neill1102020-07-22T04:00:00ZYour 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.7/22/2020 5:01:23 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / 6 Data-Tested Approaches to Building New Audiences Most museums would like new visitors, but pursuing them can be a 739https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Data and Deliberation: A Dynamic Duo for Arts Organizations24065GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>Even before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered performances, many performing arts organizations faced challenges. National statistics have shown stagnant or declining attendance across many art forms associated with the nonprofit performing arts (see <a href="https&#58;//www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/2012-sppa-jan2015-rev.pdf">2015</a> and <a href="https&#58;//www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/2017-sppapreviewREV-sept2018.pdf">2018</a> National Endowment reports, for example). While the problem is widely acknowledged, there is less consensus or confidence about how organizations can respond. </p><p>Can data and market research help? </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Data-and-Deliberation-A-Dynamic-Duo-for-Arts-Organizations/francie-headshot.jpg" alt="francie-headshot.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;152px;height&#58;218px;" />The experiences of 25 performing arts organizations in The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS) initiative offer helpful insights. Organizations in the multi-year initiative, which recently came to a close, received grants to try and enlarge and engage their audiences. While their specific projects differed, all the organizations made use of data collection and market research, generally through a mix of focus groups, ticketing database analyses and post-performance audience surveys. </p><p>The emphasis on data and market research was part of the initiative’s continuous learning approach, characterized by an iterative process of design, implementation, analysis and determination of changes needed for improvement. My team and I have been studying the experiences of the organizations in the initiative.&#160;Interim findings about this key part of the initiative are presented in a new report, <a name="_Hlk43134477"></a> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/data-and-deliberation-how-some-arts-organizations-are-using-data-to-understand-their-audiences.aspx"> <em>Data and Deliberation&#58; How Some Arts Organizations Are Using Data to Understand their Audiences</em></a><em>.</em></p><p>The findings underscore that data is not a magic bullet. To the contrary, engaging with data is a complex and challenging undertaking. Despite the challenges, virtually everyone at the participating arts organizations found engaging with data helpful. Our findings, along with examples from participants’ experiences, are presented in full in the report. To briefly summarize here&#58;</p><ul><li> <strong>Engaging with data appeared most productive when embedded in a larger deliberative process.</strong> Here, data becomes an input into a broader process of reflection and assessment about whether organizational goals are being pursued. <br> <br></li><li> <strong>Data can yield useful insights beyond organizations’ immediate and planned purposes.</strong> We repeatedly found instances where engagement with data prompted organizations to become aware of unexamined assumptions they held about their intended audience. <br> <br></li><li> <strong>Productive data engagement can be complex and costly.</strong> While organizations expressed enthusiasm for taking a data-based approach, they also said that they rarely have adequate funds to do so.<br><br></li><li> <strong>Recognizing the rewards and challenges in advance can help organizations more effectively plan for data engagement.</strong> Key issues to consider are what type of data are most relevant and what resources will be needed to support data collection and analysis<br><br></li></ul><ul><li> <strong>Effectively using data requires that </strong> <strong>organizational participants be able to frankly acknowledge what the data say about what is working and what is not working, in a fruitful rather than punitive fashion. </strong>Productive data engagement is not just about the data—but about how data are approached, the questions asked and a willingness to revise preconceptions.&#160; </li></ul><p>In a <a href="/knowledge-center/Documents/Audience-Building-Financial-Health-Nonprofit-Performing-Arts.pdf">review of the audience-building literature</a> we conducted earlier in our study, we found a dichotomy&#160; between those who value market research as a key tool and others who regard it as a somewhat manipulative sales effort rather than meaningful engagement.&#160;Our findings suggest a reconsideration of this dichotomy.&#160;<br></p><p>To a striking extent, we found that data, and an openness to what the data said, prompted the BAS organizations to confront their own insularity and recognize the extent to which they had not understood the perspective of external constituencies. Data is not engagement. Knowing about an audience is not the same as developing a relationship with that audience. But recognizing misconceptions, being prompted to ask about the audience rather than assuming that you understand audience members or that they think as you do can significantly contribute to relating differently and thus developing meaningful engagement. As expressed by one BAS participant while reflecting on her organization’s engagement with data&#58;&#160; </p><p class="wf-Element-Callout">It’s changing the way that we interact. We have a thing we say here all the time. Like do we know it or do we really know it? And with audiences, you have to always ask yourself that…. We’ve gone from describing a couple of departments in this [organization] as outward-facing, and now we understand that we’re all outward-facing. </p><p>Data is not a magic bullet—but when the appropriate data are used with an openness to change and a willingness to question one’s preconceptions, data can provide a powerful tool indeed. ​<br><br></p>Francie Ostrower, Ph.D. 1092020-07-14T04:00:00ZNew report examines the challenges and rewards of a data-based approach to understanding arts audiences7/14/2020 2:34:23 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Data and Deliberation: A Dynamic Duo for Arts Organizations New report examines the challenges and rewards of a data-based 420https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
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.8/27/2020 3:09:32 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 639https://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 reality8/27/2020 3:10:42 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 249https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Engaging Audiences in the Age of Social Distancing24067GP0|#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.8/27/2020 3:13:24 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 979https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
The Arts Getting Us Through a Pandemic24115GP0|#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 class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Aurelia-Grayson.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Aurelia-Grayson.jpg" 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 class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Christine-Yoon-preferred.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Christine-Yoon-preferred.jpg" 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 class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Holly-Dodge-2.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Holly-Dodge-2.jpg" 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 class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Lauren-Sanders-copy.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Lauren-Sanders-copy.jpg" 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 class="wf-Image-Left" alt="mark-jobson.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/mark-jobson.jpg" 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 class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Pam-Mendels-preferred.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Pam-Mendels-preferred.jpg" 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 class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Rochelle-Herring-preferred-copy.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Rochelle-Herring-preferred-copy.jpg" 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 class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Sarosh-Z-Syed1.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/The-Arts-Getting-Us-Through-a-Pandemic/Sarosh-Z-Syed1.jpg" 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.8/27/2020 3:17:55 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 469https://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 493https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
New Media Gets New Audiences into an Old Art Form24094GP0|#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 <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences-extending-reach-with-technology.aspx">2015 case study</a> of Seattle Opera's Wallace-funded efforts to determine whether technology can help enhance the opera experience. 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>Seattle Opera, which produces five operas each year for an audience of more than 100,000, was early among arts organizations to use digital and social media to engage audiences. Its use of those tactics was given an early boost by a $750,000 Wallace Foundation Excellence Award, which provided funds for four years of experimentation between 2009 and 2012, as described in this <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences-extending-reach-with-technology.aspx">2015 case study</a>. Those efforts were largely focused on deepening participation among those already attending, using technology to create opportunities to interact with the company and its productions. </p><p>The opera used audience research to guide development of a variety of tools and activities and evaluate each tactic post-launch, with annual surveys examining what was accessed, by whom and with what impact. This research led it to develop easily accessible audiovisual content that could help audiences better understand what goes into producing opera. The tools became more effective each year as the staff learned what did and did not work and adjusted its approach accordingly. Since then, the company has continued to develop and share digital content with the aim of helping audiences develop a deeper understanding of its work, and more recently, encouraging ticket sales. </p><h3>2009-2012&#58; Honing a Digital Approach with Wallace Funds</h3><p>In the summer of 2009, focus-group research suggested that operagoers were interested in seeing and hearing how works are prepared for the stage. The finding led the company to create and share “behind-the-scenes” videos highlighting aspects of production such as <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulLEwgZwKao&amp;list=PLWpqPsEHuRYZTRIjqI1bpNvdqNwdxl5sX&amp;index=3&amp;t=0s">set design</a> and <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL869613FC0F3BC00B">hair and makeup</a>. Surveys and web analytics indicated that those videos were widely accessed and highly effective in enhancing operagoers’ experience, and they became a critical part of the engagement strategy each year. The segments had greater appeal than other tactics such as audio-only podcasts and a <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi2SA64rPEo">video series</a> that lacked a behind-the-scenes focus. Photo-rich blogs revealing different aspects of the opera production process were also accessed by and enhanced the experience for many viewers. </p><p>Certain tactics were deemed too expensive to continue when evaluation research revealed only modest impact. They included&#58;</p><ul><li>Interactive community-building forums such as contests and sharing tools that did not provide the additional understanding operagoers got from audiovisual content;<br> <br> </li><li>Livestreams of panel discussions and other engagement events, which were well received, but only by the small number of people that accessed them; and <br> <br> </li><li>An outdoor simulcast, the one technology-based tactic designed to bring in new audiences. Large numbers attended the simulcast, but it was prohibitively expensive and too challenging to convert the novices it drew into regular mainstage attendees. </li></ul><p>Seattle Opera’s marketing department spearheaded its digital transformation, but, from the outset, it brought in staffers from the production and artistic departments as full partners in planning and strategy discussions. It turned out to be a wise move; those staffers provided much of the content that gave audiences a peek behind the curtain, even appearing in videos that offered virtual backstage tours. Their active participation at all phases of content development eased initial concerns about the information marketers might share digitally and about revealing secrets that help create the onstage magic. </p><h3><strong>2012-Present&#58; Funding Ends but Content Use Expands and Adapts</strong></h3><p>Since that experimentation period, the company has focused its technology-based audience-engagement efforts on digital content, as opposed to less fruitful efforts such as livestreams, simulcasts and similar offerings. The company is now creating more of that content and using it to accomplish a broader range of objectives that also includes sales and community building. It also maintains its use of web analytics to monitor the popularity of its digital content.</p><p>The staff continues to develop material designed to deepen understanding of how opera is produced and, increasingly, to explore its relevance in the world today. Popular features have included videos of directors' and artists' perspectives on the reasons a particular opera remains important, which is not always apparent in a genre where most repertoire is well over 100 years old. Such features may include discussions of universal themes and elements of the human experience that transcend place and time, such as love, humanity and good and evil, and how these themes play out in characters' struggles on stage. Other popular material has included discussions of the work necessary to update old librettos for modern audiences, especially if they include stereotyped portrayals of non-white and non-Western people. </p><p>In addition, blog posts describe different aspects of opera to help explain it to people with varying levels of familiarity with the art form. The company has also continued to produce podcasts, which had limited success when Seattle Opera first experimented with them but have garnered greater listenership thanks to partnerships with a local classical-music radio station and podcast distributor SoundCloud. All this digital content is also shared on social media and on the Seattle Opera website, where it can be easily found by those already engaged with the company.</p><p>Seattle Opera has also elevated digital content’s role in driving sales, capitalizing on the ability of online platforms to reach a wider audience. At the 2009 start of the initiative, Seattle Opera's digital content was largely confined to its website. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were fairly new, used by 27 percent and 6 percent of the adult U.S. population respectively. But proliferation of social media since then has allowed the organization to more aggressively promote its content among new audiences. “Our website only reaches people who are already looking for information about us,&quot; says Director of Marketing and Communications Kristina Murti. &quot;But with social, we’re able to deliver the content to everyone who follows us, as well as to people we can target through advertising, … and then hopefully get them over to the website for more information.”</p><p>In order for such efforts to work, however, content first needs to break through the clutter of social media feeds. To stand out, Seattle Opera has started to use more professionally shot, color-rich videos, many featuring scenes in dress rehearsal, striking images of the set, or eye-catching features such as the costume shop. The amount of video produced varies across productions, with the company publishing approximately two to four videos in advance of opening night, followed by another four to six short performance clips featuring singers or segments that potential audiences may recognize. </p><p>But Facebook is more than the primary digital sales channel. Seattle Opera also uses the platform to foster community, with news about the company and opera in general, and posts referencing operas and musicians that transcend any one production or season. The approach has helped the organization increase its Facebook audience from approximately 40,000 likes in 2015 to 81,000 likes in early 2019, outpacing the 50 to 60 percent growth <a href="https&#58;//mrbenchmarks.com/numbers/social-media">experienced by other nonprofits</a> during that time. Seattle Opera is also investing in Instagram, largely because the platform is widely adopted by younger generations and its visual nature allows for inventive storytelling. The company is not putting as much effort into Twitter; digital consultants and other arts organizations suggested that its return on investment in driving sales is lower than Facebook and Instagram. Seattle Opera’s social media growth has tracked with that investment&#58; the number of its Twitter followers has plateaued, while Instagram and even Facebook—a mature and more saturated platform—continues to add followers.</p><p><em>Seattle Opera’s Social Media Following</em><br> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/New-Media-Gets-New-Audiences-into-an-Old-Art-Form/Seattle-Opera-Digital-Media-Strategy.jpg" alt="Seattle-Opera-Digital-Media-Strategy.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><img src="file&#58;///C&#58;/Users/jmoreno/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Dreamweaver%20CC%202019/en_US/OfficeImageTemp/clip_image002.png" width="593" height="343" border="0" alt="" /></p><h3><strong>Still Learning and Partnering</strong></h3><p>The opera remains focused on continuous learning, in large part to keep up with changes in how platforms such as Instagram and Facebook deliver content. “You never know how your content is going to land. Something that works today may not work six months from now,” Murti says. What’s more, people respond to different aspects of each opera, so every production has an unknown element. There’s no set formula.</p><p>Online analytics and guidance from social-media consultants have helped navigate these uncertain waters. From its web analytics, Seattle Opera can see that Facebook brought in approximately $700,000 of the company’s annual ticket revenue of $7.5 million in the 2019 fiscal year and another $300,000 in donations and other earnings. According to systems developed by its consultants, $80,000 of this revenue came from people who had watched a video at some point in the sales process. Such data obviate the need for some surveys, though the company did have to pay to develop the systems needed to collect them. Murti says the expense has been well worth it; the analytics allow the marketing team to look on a bi-weekly, post-by-post basis at the content that is and is not moving sales, and then reinvest in what appears to be working. </p><p>Having that data also allows Murti to inform artists, production and technical staff about how their collaboration on digital content drives ticket sales. Such feedback encourages their ongoing participation, a continuation of the cross-departmental partnership that Seattle Opera established early in the process and has made it easy to produce large volumes of material. With so many metrics and platforms to track and understand, the importance of this partnership might have been easy to overlook. But perhaps more than any tactic or technological advance, the collaboration has been essential to the company’s progress and could help it continue creating relevant content that moves and engages audiences. </p>Bob Harlow822020-02-04T05:00:00ZYour 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.2/4/2020 7:31:19 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / New Media Gets New Audiences into an Old Art Form Research, collaboration and web analytics help Seattle Opera make opera 835https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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