Tag Archives: arts advocacy and audience development

Our arts begin to end

Ourlives

Today is the 5oth anniversary of the famous Martin Luther King, Jr. speech, “I have a dream...”  One of the quotes that is being distributed is “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  This quote literally woke me up this morning, well, enough for me to begin writing to you.  I feel this quote matters to me personally. Lately, I can’t seem to get myself started.  After a week off, and considering just fading into the woodwork, my work of bringing awareness for change to an audience development mentality keeps getting harder and harder.

Don’t worry, this blog is not going to be a big complain fest.  I am through with that type of festival.  However, I will say that getting people to take action, discuss, and congregate for arts advocacy is a big challenge.

When I saw this quote, it rang true for the translation for the arts.  Our arts begin to end the day we become silent.  The fact that we have to justify how valuable the arts are means to me that we have been silent far too long.

Right now, people are going about their arts businesses mainly focusing on what they need to get done in the moment to keep going.  The vision isn’t extending much past this day to day business.  There hasn’t been enough thought that if we collectively were giving some time to a bigger movement that the day to day may not be so challenging and get easier.

I often think of this line of thought in terms of using audience development.  If more people were to shift to audience development, there would be bigger audiences and more support for the arts already.  Yet, I digress.

When there was a cry out for supporting the arts during the time the NEA budget was on the chopping block, again, this time for 49% of slashing, only around 2,800 ( I think that was the number) people responded through Americans for the Arts.  There are 313.9 million people (2012 figure), in the U.S.A. today.  You can do the math to come up with a really low percentage of people that were not silent.

I feel like we keep wishing for someone else to save us.  In reality, we need to save ourselves.  Our arts begin to end, unless we collectively have a voice.

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.***

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Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, Audience Development

In your face arts advocacy!

ARTS in your faceI am still processing my Americans for the Arts Conference notes, but I do feel ready to talk about one of the points I made in my wrap-up blog.   I do feel that arts advocacy needs to be a main focus.  Right now, we have a little bit of momentum in terms of selling the arts as good for education and for the economy.  I like to call these advocacy points the vegetables of arts advocacy.  In the past I suggested a list of options for Popcorn and Candy arts advocacy.

Further, I have suggested 9 simple arts advocacy actions for daily life as well as formatted a slide presentation A Day in the Life – The Arts Are Everywhere! Arts Advocacy.

The main idea I am trying to get out into the universe is the fact that it would be best if we were more “in your face” as a reminder of the arts in our everyday lives instead of “excuse me, this is why the arts matter.”

Today I came across the article How music creeps in our lives without notice.  Why is this happening?  Every day we have the arts surrounding us, supporting us, entertaining us, expanding us, etc., but are we (our general populace) really relating and connecting these moments back to arts awareness?

This is why I feel we need to implement a campaign with all hands on deck to be a wake up call to the general public.  A campaign that is everywhere, done in a down to earth manner that people can understand, take notice, and be a part of.

If we can come up with a simple, focused idea that is easy and fun to share, an idea that also has an artistic, creative flair, I think we can grab the attention to put focus back onto the arts in our everyday life.

Creeping into our lives without notice?  Well, this simply needs to stop!  The arts are too important to be considered ignorable.  Isn’t it time to give the arts the mass attention and support it deserves?

If you have any ideas and suggestions for this type of campaign, please, pretty please, comment.  We need all the idea generation help we can get!

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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Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, Audience Development

Non-profit/artist mentality and arts audience development

I was at the thrift store last week on one of my treasure hunts, and I came across a book by T. Harv Eker called Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.  Seeing that I was in a thrift store, it was a little ironic, but I picked it up acknowledging that perhaps I do not have a “millionaire mind.”  Maybe it would be good to see what a millionaire mind looked like.

The book left a big impression on me.  It wasn’t about get rich quick schemes, it was all about the mentality of a millionaire and why they become millionaires.  Here are a few points:

1. What you focus on is what you will become.  If you focus on being poor and the challenges of being poor, that is what you will get.  “Poor me” will only get you poor me.  If you focus on wealth and building wealth, this is what you will get.

2. Many of us have a jealous streak about millionaires and tend to view them as bad, greedy people.  Some of us were raised to be guilty if we accumulate money.  Only some millionaires are greedy and bad and then there are a group that are generous people and think of others often.

3.  If we want to become more wealthy, we need to consider the people that are surrounding us.  Are they negative or positive?  Do they have wealth and/or a wealthy attitude?

4. If we want to help more people, money will come in handy to help more people.

5. Starting small to change your blueprint of wealth and adding to it everyday will take you to a more positive place and closer to becoming a millionaire.

There were many, many other points he made.  It had me wondering about the artist/non-profit mentality -the starving artist syndrome, the don’t get ahead non-profit model.  Are these mentalities creating a natural downfall?  If an artist gets rich, is he still a “real artist?”  If a non-profit is “profitable” are they selling out?  I think it would be good if we could examine the collective mentality we have for the arts and our arts businesses.  We tend to come from a place of poorness in order to attempt to accumulate the support that the arts/artists need.

The culture is shifting slightly.  We are now starting to focus on what the arts does for the economy.  The arts can create prosperity for local economies.  The arts contribute to the welfare of our society.  Yes!  I like this.

Though, what I would love even more is a healthier collective mentality that the arts deserve funding because the arts make life better for everyone.  This healthier collective mentality would attract more funding simply because we no longer feel poor with all the poor challenges.  Instead we will feel rich with all the richness the arts possess.

We have forgotten to celebrate the richness – the richness of how the arts make us feel, how they can make us feel more alive, how the creativity the arts gives us makes our lives richer.  We have forgotten to invite people to be aware of and feel this richness firsthand.  Instead we beg for funding and attempt to prove we are worthy.   What about feeling worthy right from the start?  What about inviting others to feel the worth of the arts? Could this make a huge difference?

Perhaps this is a floofy floo of a thought, but would it hurt to try?  Would it hurt to start from a place of wealth that the arts already possess and celebrate the arts?  Can we envision a healthier arts world by seeing what it could be instead of what is not at the moment?  Can we see healthy funding and large audiences simply because the arts are rich and worth celebrating?  I’m willing to shift if you are (wink included).

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

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

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

My eBook

New eBook! The How of Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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Filed under arts management, Audience Development

Audience Development for Arts Advocacy II

I was watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics and tweeted a comment that this ceremony was the arts.  I had a fellow arts tweep politely tell me that we may not want to connect the ceremony to the arts since the general public may not like it (or understand the cultural differences) and it would become an argument for not supporting the arts.  It was a funny little exchange.  On the one hand, I see this person’s point, on the other hand, I feel that we need to continually bring awareness to the fact that the arts are all around us and providing for us.

Maybe we do need to be more selective for bringing about awareness in order to maintain quality control about how people see the arts.  Or do we?  The arts are subjective.  What I enjoy may not be what others prefer, but it is still the arts.  That’s the beauty of the arts.  I had deleted my tweet, but maybe it would have been better to keep it.  I was after all enjoying the children’s choirs and some of the theatrical elements of the ceremony.  Silencing my arts advocacy voice may not have been the right choice.

Here’s why:

Our arts advocacy so far as been a series of statements that promote the benefits of the arts.  This is all well and good, but the main problem I see is the fact that the general public does not understand that they are connected to the arts daily on an ongoing basis.  They are not seeing the value of the arts since they are not seeing their personal connection to the arts.

What has me all charged up about this thought was a quote from an Op-ed I read this morning (Philly.com).  Valerie V. Gay, Executive Director of Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia wisely stated:

“We have to stop just saying that the arts are accessible and actually take the hand of members of the community and show them their connection to us — no matter their ethnicity, economic status, gender or education level. All people can find themselves within our work. We just have to show them.”

Right now, in relation to fighting against arts cuts, advocating for arts funding, shouldn’t we be doing all we can to point out the arts that surround us?   “We just have to show them.”

My second point is that not only could we start bringing more awareness about the arts that surround our everyday lives, but it would be most helpful if we as an arts community each do our part in arts advocacy work.  I was on an #artsmgtchat (Arts Management Chat) last week where they asked the participants to start following the main arts advocacy people and start retweeting their messages.  I like this idea, but I’d like to take it further.  Everyone can lend their voice for bringing more awareness to the arts that surround us.  Everyone can take a leading role by speaking out for the arts.  We all have a personal connection to the arts, and it is time for us to start sharing our stories and helping to point out the arts in our daily lives.  With this new energy, others will begin to see their connection to the arts too.

One of my favorite tweeps is passionate about pointing out the connection of classical music and popular culture.  This is exactly what I am advocating for – we could use more people doing this type of work.  Plus, it would be fantastic to get our followers (our audience) to help spread the word as well and add to the collective voice for arts advocacy.  Momentum for arts advocacy – wouldn’t that be delicious?

To summarize, arts advocacy has been mainly about attempting to have people see the benefits of the arts.  I feel we need to start with something more basic, having a collective voice to point out that the arts are a big part of our daily lives.  What would we do without the arts?  Lastly, we could use all the support we can get.  With each of us adding our voice for arts advocacy, together we can create the awareness needed to achieve the arts support that is deserved.

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

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

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

My eBook

New eBook! The How of Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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