Monthly Archives: February 2013

Copy and pasting for arts audience development???

I hope you had a nice weekend!  I found this weekend to have a common theme that I wanted to share with you.  The concept of copy and paste and how it is affecting our artistry, audience development, and the future of arts administration.

I started off the weekend reading The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamine Zander.  I am about 2/3 into this book, and it offers a fresh perspective on how to relate to people with a broader mind and more creative agenda.  It starts out with an example of 9 dots in a box formation, and you are asked to connect all the dots in one line (without lifting your pen/pencil).  The solution is not forthcoming if you confine yourself to this box.  You have to go beyond the borders in order to accomplish the task, and the line (spoiler alert) does not form a box in the end, but a triangle.

I also went out to dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  She is a professor at our local university.  She was mentioning the challenge of presenting her work without using a PowerPoint presentation and instead relaying the information in a more visual way.  She is a believer that her students will learn more with this visual aspect, that they will absorb more by really listening and paying attention.  She received complaints on her feedback from the students.  60% wanted her to go back to her typical PowerPoint.  They wanted everything point by point.  They wanted the .pdf of the presentation. They do not want to “waste time” listening and attempting to create the lesson in their own words.  They are afraid of missing what will be on future tests.

We had a big discussion about how education is becoming a copy and paste function instead of a creative learning process.  With all the standardized testing formats, the PowerPoint bullet presentations, there is no outlet for students to take a concept and run with it.  Instead, they feel uncomfortable going beyond the box and would rather copy and paste the content to get the grade.  Getting the grade and graduating is the objective, not learning and creating for themselves.

If graduate level education has resorted to this copy and paste mentality, we are certainly heading toward a slippery down slope for propagating the next generation of creative minds. This also will most certainly present problems for the up and coming arts administrators in our future.  We are already starting to see the Arts, in terms of audience development and marketing, falling into this same copy and paste mode, despite the fact that we are the creatives in our world.

There are still a few among us that are generating new content and new ways of outreaching to our audiences, but I see a great deal of “buzz words” and “buzz programs” being copied and pasted.  Despite the original idea being sound, this will not increase our audiences because one size does not fit all.  You can take a program from one area, and it may not work when recreating this same program for another area.  Copying and pasting will not work for us.  We all have different audiences, unique people that are attending our events.  We need to get beyond the copy and paste mentality to create our own specific programs in order to build our individual audiences.

To me, this is a slightly worse scenario than the templates I had mentioned before.  At least with a template, you can tweak it a bit to fit your own needs.  With copy and paste, there is no individuality at all.  Our audiences are being subjected to another audiences’ ideal, not their own.

So, yes, I am concerned about the future of arts and education if the copy and paste mentality becomes the norm.  The only way we can get out of this box is if the arts leaders of today start creating outside of this box themselves.  I do hope that they will!

Thoughts?

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Compose Your Audience

My latest webinar adventure. Have a great weekend!

-Shoshana

PS Did you hear about the 2 little boys who found themselves in a modern art gallery by mistake? – One said, “Run ! Before they say we did it!”

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February 22, 2013 · 5:24 pm

“Free” for arts audience development

Leave it to Seth Godin to send a whammy to my inbox this morning.  It was a real doozy for me since it hit too close to home for comfort.  As you know, dear reader, I have been contemplating how to get myself to the next level for some time now. I know what I do helps the common good.  I am fairly loud in pushing the audience development goodness forward. I absolutely love and believe in what I am doing, yet it has been challenging, especially when people want my services for free.  I know I am not the only one that feels this way.

I see it all the time in the “gigs” section of the job listings.  “We need an artist, band, graphic designer, insert other artist title here, in exchange for some publicity and food (well, maybe food if you’re lucky).  I hear artists grumbling about not getting fair pay for all the hard work that they are doing.  I discussed this with a photographer friend who always used the phrase, “you have to pay to play” in order to get his photography business off the ground, and he is one of the most talented photographers I have come across for his particular niche. He certainly deserved to be paid for those photos at that level of quality. They got his talent for free.

Free can be good and lead you to a better place, but sometimes free ends up being a vicious cycle that is difficult to get out of.

Is free really “free?”  Or, are we going in a negative direction?   Godin asks us to weigh the benefits against the free.  If it is worth it and will advance your career, help build your audiences, then by all means, take the free opportunity.  If free is selling yourself short and not adding to a positive outcome, stop and step away from the free.

I have many free services that I do for the public.  I blog, distribute articles, leave tip of the day and mini-podcast audio clips, give free talks/seminars/webinars at times, etc.  I absolutely love what I am doing.  The free is adding up though, and every time someone asks me “can I pick your brain?” a little piece of my dream of making a living doing what I enjoy dies.

In the meantime, I have seen nonprofit arts organizations and agencies with more resources go under.  It didn’t make sense to keep going when they weren’t able to pay their employees or foot their bills.

There are more people clamoring for the spotlight, more people starting new businesses hoping to make the big time.  In the five years I have been trucking along, I have seen consultants come and go depending on whether they land a full time job instead.  Meanwhile, I’ve been in it for the longer haul.  I have continued to take the free opportunities to put myself out there.

However, if I don’t do somethings for free, I may not be working at all.  I can recall certain gurus of our time going beyond and saying not to be stingy with your gifts and giving freely of yourself will reap positive benefits for all.  When I come across this line of thinking, I end up asking myself – maybe I am not doing enough for free?

I would love your thoughts on this one. As you can see, there is a back and forth in my mind about all this free business.   There must be a way for talented artists like you and me to make money from our businesses instead of dealing with too many free-doms.  So I ask you –   When does free start costing more than it’s worth?  How far should a small business entrepreneur go down the free path before it just doesn’t make sense any more?

In the end, as artists with valuable talents and gifts, we do need to ask ourselves these questions.  Putting in sweat equity makes sense, yet bleeding yourself dry really doesn’t.

To end on a positive note, I want to thank all the people that have paid for my services, donated money, bought my book, or offered me some well needed friendly advice.  I am so grateful for the people that valued what I do and want to see me succeed as well!  Without you, I would not be hopeful enough to keep going.  Huge thanks to you!
Please let me know your thoughts.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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#Auddev chat 2/14, Noon ET – Loving Your Donors

#Auddev chat 2/14, Noon ET – Loving Your Donors

On Thursday we had an hour long chat with fundraising coach, Marc A. Pitman, on how we can show our appreciation for our donors and supporters.  Please do click on the link above for new ideas and thought provoking conversation!

Have a super weekend!

-Shoshana

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Add a splash of Energy and Passion for arts audience development!

Your mini-podcast for the week!  If you are an email subscriber, you will need to click on the link to take you to the web blog post.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana :O)

 

 

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ADS Events for arts audience development!

I am very excited to tell you that our 2013 event calendar is now bursting with new opportunities to learn about and discuss audience development methods and ideas.  Here is what we have planned for this year:

  • A monthly #auddev chat on twitter with a different co-host and topic each time.  These are free and open to everyone that is interested in chatting about today’s hot topics.
  • Quarterly Webinars (March-June-September-December) with a few freebies throughout the year –  thought provoking presentations by some of the best audience development minds of our times. Our September slot is still open, but we hope to fill it soon.
  • G+ Hangout Brainstorm Groups – Monthly group sessions with plenty of “AHA” and “great idea!” moments.  This is an inexpensive way to work with me and other arts people around the globe for new ideas to build your audience.
  • Regional Workshops – We are planning 2-3 regional workshops for the year.  Check back at this link for details.

Also in the works are:

  • An Inspiration Page – a resource for current audience development inspiration
  • Mini-Podcast  – weekly mini-podcast on a current topic
  • Tip of the Day Capsules – A set of tips to get you in the audience development mindset
  • Stop the Tape – educational video segments to teach you the how of audience development
  • Two new books for 2013
  • Audience Development Projects – Regional/National Projects to help boost arts audiences
  • Other video and audio content – useful tools for audience building

Of course we will still have:

  • EMazing Newsletters to highlight the best in audience development ideas
  • Twitter ARTicles
  • ARTS Mag! updates
  • Weekly blog posts

As mentioned before, I intend to make 2013 the year of Content and Connections.  My goal is to provide you with a variety of educational and idea provoking tools to help you build the best audiences, happy and loyal ones!

Thank you, and I hope you will sign-up and participate this year!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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The balancing act of artist vs audience development

Prayforthedonkey

Pray for the Donkey by Gerda Rovetch

Today I recognize how balance is an important undertaking.  If you feel off balance, it doesn’t feel very good.  Balancing budgets are necessary for grants.  Balance is crucial for dance.  I could go on and on.  What I am thinking about right now is the balance between artist and audience development (arts marketing in general).

I have read a few blog posts recently (and have written a few in the past) about the necessity of keeping your audience in mind in all aspects of creating art and promoting art.  What do your audiences want?  How are you reaching your audiences in ways they want to be reached?  Are you speaking your audiences’ language?  Etc.

There is a point, however, that we might be taking this level of engagement with our audiences a bit too far.  When our art simply becomes a template of what the audience says it wants (mainly based on historical perspectives – do you really know your current audiences?), we can lose our artistic edge, and the audience will lose out on being challenged.

Please do not misunderstand.  I am still a big advocate for working with your audiences and getting to know their wants and needs to help you to create art that will be relevant to them. Having your audiences as partners and getting them fully entrusted in you and your art work is extremely important.

What I am thinking out loud in this moment is the fact that you can take audience information and then stretch past their boundaries too.  It is part of our duty as artists, right?

In many of the survey reports I have been scanning through again, one of the biggest reasons people go to arts events is to be challenged, to experience something new.  If all we provide is a template of what we think they want and present in ways they say they want, we might be doing them a disservice.   Yes, audiences say they want A, but in fact they may want AB or AC, something that gives them A, but pushes them slowly toward Z.  I hope this is starting to make a little sense.

As mentioned in a past post, the arts are a living, breathing, organism.  For us to continue to work by a template is choking the living daylights out of art.  For us not to program new and exciting developments to challenge our audiences is showing severe consequences.  New audiences rather not be boxed into old templates and older audiences, even though they say they are comfortable with templates are also showing up less due to boredom of the same old programs.

It has been discussed as a delicate balancing act.  The integrity of the artist vs. what the audiences want.  Yet I don’t think we have to continue to view it this way.  We can allow ourselves to be creative again in consultation with our audiences.  We can reach them in ways they desire to be reached and then stretch both ourselves and our audiences to a new reaching point.  This will allow both us and our audiences to grow, end the cycle of templates and of stifling ourselves as artists.

So consider your audiences in all that you do, and also consider how you can take them to newer artistic heights.  I am sure your audiences will be very thankful to you.

Thoughts?

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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