Monthly Archives: January 2011

Arts Advocacy Day! Do it for Mozart! Twitter and Facebook Instructions…

It’s time to take action!  I ask you to lend your voice by writing a letter and then posting on Twitter and Facebook that you took action.  Let’s make some noise today!  I am dedicating this arts advocacy day to Mozart.  In order to find our next Mozarts in this world, we need to support and fund the arts.  (Happy Birthday Mozart!)

I am asking that each of us write at least one letter (or tweet) today. The letter can be very simple:

Dear  _________,

I am writing to let you know that I support the arts.  The arts contribute in a variety of ways to our society.  The reason I personally support the arts ________________________.  Please do not cut funding for the arts and consider that funding the arts fully will be investing in all of our futures.  A world without the arts would be very dismal.  We would no longer have creative thinkers or something worthwhile to live for.  Investing in the arts is smart since you will see a return on your investment!

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Name
City, State (Country)

This is a sample letter.  I encourage you to write your own in your own words.  Tell these people why the arts are important to you!

If you are writing the media – please instead ask them for more coverage of the arts and tell them why the arts are important to you.  More coverage of the arts will bring more awareness for the arts, and the arts need our support right now due to proposed budget cuts.  Etc.

Here are the instructions:

US:

  1. Write to your Representative: http://bit.ly/fIQsbC
  2. Write to your Senator: http://bit.ly/fIQsbC
  3. Write to your local media:

4. Write a tweet! You can use your zip code to find out if your representative or senator is on Twitter: http://www.tweetcongress.org/

If on Twitter:

Example of tweet:

#Artsadvoc Dear @SenBennetCO I am tweeting to show I support the arts. Please continue to fund the arts. We need the arts! TY, Boulder, CO

If you wrote a letter – please send a tweet saying #Artsadvoc State who you wrote to.

Example: #Artsadvoc CO, Bennet – I support the #arts http://bit.ly/gBuxAw

This will  help us to keep track.

5. If on Facebook: change your status to be: I support the arts and wrote a letter to __________ today!  You can too: http://bit.ly/gBuxAw

Post a comment on this blog stating your state and who you wrote to.

For Outside of US:

Newspapers (see Worldwide section): http://www.refdesk.com/paper.html

Television: (see Worldwide News Sites section) http://www.refdesk.com/paper.html

Radio: Use Radio-Locator: http://www.radio-locator.com/

Twitter:

Please follow the same Twitter and Facebook instructions to broadcast your support, but please comment on this blog:
Country and who you sent your letter to.

Thank you for writing your letter today!  Please feel free to comment on this blog as well.  This is the first time for this grassroots effort, and I welcome opinions for future efforts.

It is time to have a stronger voice in support for the arts. Lend your voice!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedinE-News

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

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Filed under arts advocacy, Audience Development

Audience development and arts advocacy!

After many more articles about the arts funding cuts proposals, I feel it is time to take some action.  We, the arts lovers of this world need to do our own personal audience development and attempt to reach out to our representatives, our senators, our media, our personal circle of friends to increase the efforts.

The National Arts Advocacy Day is scheduled for April 4-5, 2011, but I think this might be a little too late to address an issue that is hot on the table currently.  Each state has their own arts advocacy day, but today I would like to put out there that every day needs to be arts advocacy day.  We need to take action now and do whatever we are able to in order to prove once and for all that the arts are too valuable to cut funding.

Here is a list of action items:

  1. Write to your Representative: http://bit.ly/fIQsbC
  2. Write to your Senator: http://bit.ly/fIQsbC
  3. Write to your local media:

4.  Write a blog and send it out using all the social media networks you use.

5.  Donate to a local arts organization and let people know why you supported an arts organization.

6.  Start a local letter to the editor campaign to pack more of a punch!

7.  Discuss the issue with your friends and family.

8.  Create an event with the intention to show your support for the arts.  This could be a house party, local party,  or a local arts showcase.

9.  Write to your Board of Education letting them know how you feel about arts education.

10. Use the #artsadvoc twitter tag in your tweets to let people know you are a supporter of the #arts.

11.  Use your Facebook Status to show your support for the arts.

12. Write a Facebook note to tell all your friends why the arts are worth supporting.

What are your ideas?  Please feel free to comment and add to this list.

All the reports about how the arts benefit our society are being ignored.  People don’t seem to realize that the arts are a major part of our lives.  Ask people to start looking around their world.  Artists contribute to our society in a variety of ways, and without the arts, life would not be worth living and no one would be able to think creatively.  Everyone would suffer.  So, take action today!

It is time to have a stronger voice in support for the arts. Lend your voice!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedinE-News

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

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Filed under arts advocacy, arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Resuscitating art support and audience development

Yesterday I mentioned an essay that I felt was worth reading and discussing, “Resuscitating Art Music”  by John Steinmetz (NARAS Journal, Summer 1993,Volume 4 No. 1).   Today I am thinking I need to combine this discussion with a more broader topic – support for the arts.

If you haven’t received the news yet, the GOP is attempting to cut all funding to the arts, and I mean all.  Cutting at a national level of course cuts at the state level too. You can read about it here:

Conservative Republicans pledge to eliminate cultural funding http://wapo.st/fePAl3

It made me wonder, again, why the arts are the scapegoat when budget cuts are needed.  We keep proving ourselves over and over again how much the arts contribute to our society on many different levels.  Every dollar that goes towards the arts almost always yields money 2 to 3 times the amount back into our local economies.  Why is this still an issue over and over again?

I figure it is partly our fault.  Yes, it is.  We have not been doing our jobs well enough to promote the arts and to make the arts more accessible to the masses so everyone deeply understands the value of the arts.  They (the let’s cut the arts folks) keep seeing the arts as a luxury.  It is fluff.  It is the dessert to all the meat and potato social causes that are necessary.  Here is a quote from one of the other arts funding cut articles of the day:

Arts funding weighed in York County http://bit.ly/e6Fn26

Local legislators weigh in

The proposed cuts will help the state “get back to core functions of government,” state representatives said.

“The arts are a vital part of the community,” said state Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill. But they’re less important when trying to fund “medicine for children and the Medicaid program, … law enforcement – the basic needs that the government provides.”

“Art is nice, but it’s an elective,” said Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill. He hopes the Legislature will find ways to incorporate arts into existing programming and fund them with grants instead of state money.

State Rep. Tommy Pope, R-York, and Norman said they hope the private sector will increase its support of arts organizations.

So, are the arts simply something that is “nice” and just an “elective?”  Are the arts “less important” than what they term the basics?

I understand that there is only so much money to go around and that there are many worthy causes to support.    The arts are what makes life worth living.  The medicine helps to keep us healthy, but what are we becoming healthy for?  To live, to experience, which is what the arts are all about.

I feel like these GOP’s have a major disconnect with a part of their humanity.  Have they considered what it will be like for the world if the arts were cut out?  Do they realize the very programs they are proposing to cut are the very programs that allow them to hire a musician for their events.  How did the musician become a musician?  Through the very programs they wish to cut mainly.  Do they think about the artist that works hard on their branding campaigns?  Where did this artist come from?

We need to ask ourselves why this group of people think the arts are merely fluffy extras in life.  There is a disconnect here. What can we do about it?  The arts need to start making art more accessible so more people are aware of the value.  This leads me back to Steinmetz’s essay.

Here is the beginning of the essay:

One summer I taught music at a computer camp. After years of experience as music camps, it was a shock to be teaching kids who weren’t already involved in music. I didn’t know how to connect with them. My class of high school students had no music training and no detectable interest in art music. They weren’t interested in new experiences. They were frighteningly incurious. For them, “I hate that” meant the same thing as “That’s unfamiliar to me.”

I was pretty miserable until I finally gave up trying to teach anything and started asking the students what they liked. A spirited argument broke out about whether Journey or Def Leppard was better (this was 1983). To bolster their viewpoints, students marshalled a surprising amount of knowledge and perceptiveness.

I asked the class whether they would be willing to try an experiment. Would they listen to a song that everybody liked and another that everybody hated, and then discuss the differences? They said okay, but it took them a little while to think of a song that everybody liked. Finally they settled on a song by Journey. For the music that everybody hated, I suggested a fourteenth-century love song. They agreed immediately. Even without hearing it, they were certain they would hate a fourteenth-century love song.

We listened to both songs and, sure enough, everybody loved Journey and hated the fourteenth century. When I asked why, they had a lot of answers. One guy said he didn’t like the fourteenth-century music because the music wasn’t in English. Another student said she didn’t like anything that sounded like “that stuff my parents listen to — you know, Pavarotti and that kind of stuff.”

One student answered, “I like rock music because even if I’m doing something else, even if I’m in a different room, I can still get it. I can still tell where the beat is.”

Then he said something I’ve been thinking about ever since. “I like rock music because you don’t have to pay attention in order to get it.”

He really seemed to resent it that the fourteenth-century music required him to do something, to pay attention. Since that time, I have realized that, in our country, the ability to pay attention has become endangered. As a result, art forms that require the audience’s attention are endangered, too.

We still have the same issues today as we did almost 3 decades ago (or more – remember he sights the 50’s later in the essay).  The ability to pay attention is a consideration, but it is also the fact that the arts need to be accessible so people will want to pay attention to it.

The arts are getting better at reaching out and creating new programs to attract more people, but in general, we still cater to our own people.  Meaning, there is only a small percentage of the population that seek out the arts and that the arts seek out.  The branding, the marketing, the programs, mostly communicate in ways that this smaller percentage will understand and be comfortable with.  Of course, we need to be who we are, but I think it is time to get back to basics and be who we basically are instead of the “mandatory” society wrappings we feel we need to be.

The audience might learn how to pay attention again, if we give them something worth paying attention to.  If we give them something accessible to reach for. It could be as simple as having musicians smile again at a concert.  People love it when Dudamel smiles.  People comment when they see a musician actually enjoying themselves on stage.  It could be as easy as relating in language that others can relate to, or to at least explain our terminology in ways that will make sense to a new audience member.  We need to start building relationships with these potential audiences.

More from Steinmetz’s essay:

Until recently art music could be presented in thoughtless or inefficient ways without harming itself. It didn’t matter if we put on performances that baffled the audience and bored the musicians. It didn’t matter if we gave youth concerts that turned kids off. It didn’t matter if we performed only for white people. It didn’t matter if we ignored new listeners and didn’t help them learn how to pay attention. We still had audiences. We still had plenty of money. We still had lots of people who cherished the medium.Now, rather abruptly, all those things that didn’t matter have become crucial. Art music is under pressure to do its job better. We can’t be so stupid any more.

This essay is a collection of ideas about how art music could do its job better. Actually, the music is fine; these are ideas about how to present it better. I didn’t think up these ideas; I have gathered them over many years of playing the bassoon, teaching, speaking to audiences, and working with organizations on new kinds of presentation.

These are practical ideas for purveyors of art music. I am writing for the practical people who work to help the music flourish: the musicians, listeners, administrators, board members, volunteers, educators, producers and presenters.

Although this is definitely not a theoretical discussion, I do want to encourage my colleagues to think. As practical people, we sometimes rush off to solve problems without thinking them through. Sometimes, proceeding from obsolete assumptions, we make our problems worse. Now evolutionary pressure is forcing us to think about things more carefully, and making us think about things we never had to think about before (such as “What’s so special about this music and why should it survive?”).

Again, in order to continue receiving funding and other forms of support, we need to finally make the arts accessible to the point that people will automatically see the value .  I will continue to look into this essay for more juicy tidbits to examine, but until then, please chew on the former and let me know what you think!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedinE-News

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Ramblings of audience development, “Resuscitating Art Music” and MLK day

Before Alex Ross and today’s other advocates for changing the classical music  presentation, there was John Steinmetz.  One of my twitter friends, @RachDminor, alerted me to an essay John Steinmetz wrote called “Resuscitating Art Music.”  What surprised me about this essay is how much his ideas and concepts for change are very much the same ideas and concepts that others today are bringing to the table.  I was amazed to see it all there in this one concisely written essay.  I had a very emotional reaction to this essay.  I was happy to see it all neatly formatted, but when I looked at the date, well, I was actually mad.  Mad you might ask?  It was a crazy reaction (pun intended), but it was written in 1993 (NARAS Journal, Summer 1993,Volume 4 No. 1) !  Why didn’t we listen to him?  Why are we still dealing with these issues now?  This was almost two decades ago?  He was talking about the troubles and solutions of the 50’s.  If we knew we had a problem back then….?  I tweeted to my friend wryly, “I guess it gave me a job years later.”

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I was a young pup just getting out of college back in 1993.  I was not into audience development since I was still into attempting to mass perform with my instrument.  I certainly wasn’t listening at that time.  Back in 1993, these ideas and concepts were not termed audience development in the United States like they are today.  The good news, we now have the term “audience development” to solidify these solutions under a coherent umbrella and hopefully this will help move us in the right direction.  The bad news, we still are not fully listening to this good advice.

Perhaps Steinmetz was too far ahead of his time (?), but it really bothered me to find out that our “new” ideas of today are not so new after all.    I’m grateful that we are coming up with some of the same solutions that Steinmetz  had outlined back in the day, but why haven’t we seriously made waves yet?  Why do we continually hold onto to old ways that are not working?  I myself feel the discouragement from time to time of whether or not people will implement needed changes to make the arts more accessible to a new generation. Is it going to take two decades more to be heard this time and two decades more to change?  By that time, time might have already given us the ax.  If changes are not made when they need to be made (now), then we may very well go extinct or at best become a whisper of what we used to be or the new generation will simply do their own thing without us.

During Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I pondered how history repeatedly shows us the wrong and the right way to do things, but it takes years for us to choose to listen to the right way and choose to take action and change after we repeatedly rehash the wrong way.  I know that sometimes we need to learn the hard way or that perhaps it simply wasn’t the right time for change.   However, we seem to have the habit of wanting and needing to change when it gets down to the wire, when it is an absolute must for our survival.  The smart ones are people that change before this time, and they do see the benefits ahead of time.

In the classical music world, I see how we are almost magically coming full circle back to the beginnings of what the presentation used to be, when Liszt and Mozart performed like rock stars, engaging the audience until they received auditory and visual satisfactory reactions during the performance.  Or, how music was performed for more intimate settings, like salon parlours (audience chambers), very much like our house music concerts of today.  Or, how the arts were projects funded by the people with input from the people and delivered to the people.

Please, don’t get me wrong.  I am encouraged to see many people discussing what we need to do to keep the arts alive and well.    The new discussions that have been occurring are very positive.  However, I am raising my hand and asking the question.  Will we as a whole take action this time?

Over the next few days I would like to dissect Steinmetz’s essay a bit.  I think you also will be quite surprised and will come to the same conclusions that I have, but hopefully with this warning blog post, you won’t get mad like I did. Instead, I hope you will add your voice and actions to making the vast needed changes finally happen!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedinE-News

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

Leave a comment

Filed under arts advocacy, arts management, Audience Development

Audience development and Twitter tools – Friend or Follow?

I found a new Twitter tool this week I wanted to share with everyone. It is called FriendorFollow.  This little Twitter app makes it easy to categorize your twitter people into three categories:

1. Who you Follow – this section shows you who you follow that is not following you.

2. Who is your Fan – these are tweeps that follow you, but you do not follow back.

3. Who is your Friend – the people that you follow and who follow you back.

Of course everyone wants more friends than anything else, right?  Maybe, maybe not.  I see that many celebrity accounts or other people in the public eye mainly have fans.  It is okay to follow people that do not follow you back if they have good information for you.  It is also okay if people follow you and you do not follow back.  Perhaps you have helpful and fun tweets for them, but maybe this offering does not work  in reverse.

However, if you are in the arts, the best case scenario is to have a majority of Friends.  If you are an artist or arts organization that only has Fans, this means you are not engaging with your followers, and you are simply marketing and missing the point of the two way interaction of Twitter.

Twitter is meant to be interactive, and if you are still not using Twitter in this fashion, you may want to reconsider how you tweet.  I do want to point out that you will not want to get unbalanced the other direction either.  If you only interact or only retweet, people are not going to see enough value in your tweets for them.

The best recipe is to have a cup of valuable information, a 1/2 cup of interaction or conversation and a tablespoon of retweets.  You can add a dash of marketing, but do use sparingly or your twitter account will become a spamming bore.

This recipe has served me well, and I am happy to report that the majority of my twitter folks are Friends, which I found out when I used FriendorFollow.  If you want an audience that is more involved and supportive, become Friends with your twitter folks too.

Happy improved tweeting to all!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedinE-News

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

1 Comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Audience Development Specialists – 2011 resolution for new direction!

Today is the first business day of 2011. I hope you took some time today (or scheduled for this week) to evaluate your 2010.

I took time today to process the year 2010 for Audience Development Specialists.  Now entering my fourth year of business, I am proud of what has been accomplished.  When all the components of audience development are in place, the increase of 30-50% in audience and monetary support has been established.

Of course, there is always room for improvement.  I have learned a great deal about myself and the current state of the arts world.  With these lessons, I am delighted to announce the new direction for Audience Development Specialists.

I firmly believe in audience development and how well it works.  In order to bring this message to as many arts people as possible, ADS is changing focus. We will be striving to build an educational, product and project based outlet to help build audiences for artists and arts organizations in general.

So, what does this really mean?  This means that there will be more opportunities to learn about audience development and to help more arts people learn to apply audience development.  The ADS website will be updated to reflect the new services, products and projects as they come.  We are using 2011 as the designing and beginning implementation year. There will be new partnerships and collaborations too!

The main reason for these changes:

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”  We at ADS want to spread the word about audience development in a way that will be easy for you to understand and for you to implement.  Audience development is not about one person doing the work for you, it is about building a team to do the work together.  The only way a team will function properly is if everyone on board is knowledgeable about audience development.

Another reason for this change, a more personal reason, is the fact that I enjoy teaching people about audience development.  I enjoy seeing people light up with ideas after presenting a workshop, and I love when someone takes the ideas presented and runs with them.  The success stories I have heard over the year are heart warming for me.  The only way I can exponentially increase these types of successes is to spread the message farther and wider than before.

I have scribbled out my ambitious list for 2011.  Have you made your 2011 list?   I’m looking forward for each idea, product, project and  moment to unfold!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedinE-News

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

Leave a comment

Filed under Audience Development