Daily Archives: October 22, 2013

The beginning of a tipping point for audience development?

I have to tell you, I am on fire with excitement from the National Innovation Summit for Arts & Culture.  I have been attending virtually (weird since I’m in the same area, but I digress) for the past few days, and the topics and speakers have been incredibly inspiring.

I am most excited about all the buzz and buzz words that are all about audience development.  Remember the four C’s of audience development?  Connection, Collaborations, Community, Care – they are being tossed around like a brand new frisbee during a holiday gathering.  Everyone seems to be catching this fever of passion for building relationships, listening to your community, becoming a part of your community, partnering with people in the community, being at the table for your city meetings, etc!!!

I have been advocating for this type of movement for about 7 years now.  It’s a new/old way of running an arts business.  It’s not about the numbers and the money, it’s about the relationships to build the people energy that you want and need to support the arts.

The case studies presented, although not complete in follow up information, have been extremely inspiring.  There are artists and arts organizations that are working with and for their communities to build a symbiotic relationship that benefits the whole.  This is what I have been advocating for.  It’s time to connect again, to become a part of our communities, to show we care, and to collaborate and build partnerships with new and interesting businesses, industries, people.

Could this be the beginning of a tipping point for audience development?  There was a comment yesterday “We are waiting for a Paradigm Shift to occur.”  I say, why wait?  You can be a part of creating this shift now!

The word “now” has been refreshing to hear.  The action that these artists and organizations are presenting is making my heart sing with joy.  I am happy that there is a sector that is finding that relevance to our communities is an extremely important philosophy to live by and use for strengthening the arts.  The, “we are all in this together” mentality can catapult the arts back into everyday awareness, which is what we desperately need right now.

So, again, I hope this is the beginning of the tipping point for audience development, because I have come to believe that audience development could very well be the tipping point for arts advocacy, the bringing the arts back into our mainstream thinking and living.  Wouldn’t that be delicious?


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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