Audience development thoughts for the weekend

Sometimes it is good to take time off, step away from the day to day in order to get a fresh perspective.   After a few days away, I have a few thoughts to share about obtaining new audiences.  These are thoughts in no particular order with hopes to open much more conversation.

  • If we would like to have a particular audience we need to cater to that audience.
  • Catering to a particular audience may mean changes need to be made.  If you want your art to stay the same, your audience won’t grow either.
  • However, when is it time to say “enough” when it comes to change? You don’t want to turn your art inside out and upside down in order to appeal to a new audience.  It wouldn’t be your art anymore.
  • A delicate balance needs to be established when considering making changes for a new audience.
  • You can add new elements to your typical fair.
  • You can change your typical fair in ways that will appeal more strongly to a new audience.
  • Through the changes though, it is still good to stay true to the art, the play, the music.  Don’t insult your art to gain favor with a potential audience.
  • On the flip-side, don’t insult your audience and be over controlling about your art.
  • Be open to what the new audience is looking for.  Perhaps a new presentation would benefit your art form as well.
  • Quality and care need to be a part of everything you do.  Take care to give your best to your audience.
  • Invite your audience to become a part of your art in one way or another.  Find comfortable ways for you both to engage in a two way relationship.
  • Try not to step on other people’s toes when promoting your art or contributions.  Be gracious and become partners with  other artists, organizations and your audience members.
  • Form collaborations that are win-win for everyone involved.  No one wants to feel like they received the short end of the stick.
  • Always give credit where credit is due.
  • Connect others to become more connected with others too.
  • Learn how to help others and you usually find that you are helping yourself in the process.
  • Be open to new ideas before you shoot them down.  Be open to attempting something new.
  • Be confident to keep what is working for you now.
  • Become a team with the people surrounding your art.  Try not to point fingers and play the blame game and instead, focus on solutions and being a team.  If you see an “us vs. them” mentality coming into play, you are not on the right track.
  • Invite people to your art party.  Sometimes artists do not have the support they need because they “forget” to invite/ask others to join them.
  • Be mindful of where your art fits into the world.  Be honest about who you are and what your art is.
  • Brand to your individuality.  Find what makes you special and sets you apart instead of copying the same old same old.
  • Reach out to others that would enjoy who you are and what your art is about.
  • If you want an audience to support you, you need to support them.  What do they need?
  • Always follow up and follow through.
  • Relationships are what makes it possible to get the support we need.  The stronger the relationship, the more likely people will want to support you.
  • Be honest about your relationships.  Are they two way streets or do you simply contact them when you need them (or vice versa)?
  • Spell people’s names correctly.
  • If you want a diverse audience, you need a diverse outreach program.  Not everyone speaks the same “language.”
  • If you want a diverse audience, sometimes you need to learn another “language.”
  • Be sure to thank people efficiently, timely, and memorably.
  • The quicker you realize that these points can carry over to your everyday life, the faster audience development will become more natural to you.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists


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

~James Stewart

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Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising

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