Tag Archives: arts advocacy

Collective voice for arts advocacy?

I have voiced this before – is it possible to find a way to have a bigger collective voice for arts advocacy rather than smaller private efforts? I think we all come from the same place of wanting the arts to be a part of our shared human culture, to be fully valued and funded. All across America I see so many separate efforts. Maybe as artists, it might not be possible to be collective since we mainly are unique individuals that enjoy creating. Perhaps all the smaller efforts will help the entire movement, or would it be better to find a way to build something bigger we can all be a part of? I know there are plenty of groups doing something in regard to advocacy. Who would champion a bigger effort? What would this effort look like? Or is it simply better to have people do their own efforts? What are your thoughts?

-Shoshana

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Apathy will not help audience development

I hope you had a nice weekend!  I ended up participating in the Open Studios tour and scored some really great gifts for myself and my family.  One of the artists said to me, “I’m so grateful when people like you will come and pay for art right away.”  I know it sometimes takes time to decide on purchasing a piece of art, however, I think artists these days are seeing more lookers instead of buyers.  Even the people that like art are not valuing art enough to buy from artists.  Buying a print at a big box store is not going to help your local artist.  This story brings me to my main objective:

ap·a·thy (from Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

noun \ˈa-pə-thē\

: the feeling of not having much emotion or interest : an apathetic state

 Full Definition of APATHY
1
:  lack of feeling or emotion :  impassiveness
2
:  lack of interest or concern:indifference
I think people still feel something for the arts.  The reason we are having such a challenging time is the number two definition of lack of interest or concern.


Apathy is becoming a concern for a slew of social issues, not just the arts.  People are not speaking up and spreading the word about what they care about.  Consider the U.S. government shutdown.  If the majority of Americans wanted healthcare, why have we allowed the minority to shutdown the government?


I had mentioned before how a small percentage of arts folks wrote to Congress regarding the NEA cuts that were on the table.  If we want the arts to thrive, instead of merely survive, we are going to have to address this apathy.


Not having time is an excuse.  With social media’s ability to share something within seconds, that is no longer a factor.  Writing a letter to the editor does take time, but writing a quick email does not.  Technology has made it easy to speak your mind and share information that will advocate for the arts.  Why are the #arts not trending on Twitter?  Why isn’t #artsadvoc?  Mainly due to apathy.


I will say that apathy may not be preconceived.  I don’t think people set out to be apathetic when it comes to the arts.  We simply are going about our lives.  For any issue that matters, it will take people to come out of this state of mind, this state of not minding.


I hear so many complaints.  Not enough funding.  People not understanding the value of the arts.  The fact that grantors continue to ask us to prove ourselves.  Well, we might have created this for ourselves do to our apathetic state.  If we had continued to promote, advocate, spread the word, speak our minds about the arts, we probably would not have such a big uphill battle to deal with now.


We talk about how challenging it is, yet, I am not seeing enough action.  The other “A” word, “action,” is what will get rid of apathy.  It will only work if the majority decides to take action.


Again, a quick, short list of what you can do:
  1. Retweet arts education, arts advocacy and arts news that matters.
  2. Share pro-arts stories on Facebook and other social media outlets.
  3. Send a quick email to your favorite media outlets.
  4. Tweet at your congress representatives about the arts.
  5. Buy from artists you know (or local artists) instead of big box for gifts.
  6. Join arts advocacy organizations like Americans for the Arts and add your voice during calls for action!
  7. Sign up and go to local business of arts workshops.
  8. Become more involved with your arts council or alliance.
  9. Wear arts gear to start conversations with people.
  10. Be a verb!

We can get the arts trending again.  We can put to bed this apathetic state.  It will take a big wave of action.  The bigger picture is worth working on.  It will make the smaller day to day a great deal easier.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?

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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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

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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YouTube Kinda Mood: New Arts Advocacy Videos!

Today I will be discussing arts advocacy with some of my colleagues.  Since I was in a YouTube kinda mood, why not share some new (fairly new) videos!  Have a fantastic weekend!

 

 

 

 

My favorite in this set (of course, it’s from my Alma Mater!):

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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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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When was the last time for arts audience development?

When was the last time you went to an arts event?

When was the last time you invited someone to an arts event?

When was the last time you shared a piece of music with someone in your life?

When was the last time you created a work of art?

When was the last time you searched for a fun arts event for the weekend?

When was the last time you shared an arts event on your social media feed?

When was the last time you wore a piece of art?

When was the last time you bought a button, bumper sticker or t-shirt to support the arts?

When was the last time you donated to the arts?

When was the last time you spread the word about an arts fundraiser?

When was the last time you read about the arts in the local newspapers?

When was the last time you volunteered for the arts?

When was the last time you listened to music?

When was the last time you sang, danced, wrote, painted, illustrated, doodled?

When was the last time you bought a piece of art?

When was the last time you purchased music?

When was the last time you watched an actor on the stage?

When was the last time you went to see live music?

When was the last time you saw someone dance?

When was the last time you went to a museum or gallery?

When was the last time you realized that film and television are comprised of the arts?

When was the last time you discovered that the arts make marketing creative?

When was the last time you realized that photography is art?

When was the last time you appreciated that design of a piece of furniture, appliance or other home utility?

When was the last time you read a good book?

When was the last time you took your kids to an arts event?

When was the last time you created art with your kids?

When was the last time you were moved by the arts?

Supporting the arts starts with each one of us with everyday interactions.  When was the last time you supported the arts?

-Shoshana

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9 simple arts advocacy actions for daily life

Iheartarts

It’s that time of the year again when arts advocacy days start popping up all over the country.  The official National Arts Advocacy Day is April 8-9. If you want to know your state’s official day, get in touch with a state captain.

I have mentioned in the past that everyday should be an arts advocacy day.  Here are 9 simple ways you can be an arts advocate in your daily life:

  1. Wear an arts t-shirt or button to show your support of the arts.  This will likely start some conversations too.
  2. Point out to the people you are with (or stop a moment to recognize for yourself) when you spot arts in your daily lives.
  3. Post arts events on your Facebook feed and tweet on Twitter with the hashtag #arts to help promote the arts events and arts organizations that you love.
  4. Use your social media to shout out for the arts whenever you appreciate the arts.  For example, while you are watching Downton Abbey, include the #arts tag in your post to show your appreciation!
  5. Write a letter to the editor/producer to say thank you when you see a news story about an arts event.
  6. Buy tickets to arts events to give as gifts to your loved ones when special occasions arise.
  7. Set aside 10 minutes a week to look at your local events calendars and go to an arts event at least once a month.
  8. Bring your kids to an arts event at least once a month.
  9. Do arts “projects” daily – sing, dance, doodle, work on a project with your kids and appreciate the arts and what they do for your daily life!

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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I Have A Dream for arts audience development

I have a dream today too.  I have a dream that the arts will learn to be more inclusive and welcoming.  I have a dream that we as artists will bring passion and quality to all our art, productions and events.  I have a dream that we will engage with our audiences and partner with our audiences to become our best selves as artists and arts administrators.  I have a dream that we will collaborate more and become a part of our communities again.  I have a dream that we will become part of the solution for our communities to earn our funding instead of feeling entitled to funding.  I have a dream that we will start to experiment, take risks and stretch ourselves to the limits to create a new beginning toward a more relevant end.  I have a dream that the people, all people will see the arts as the backbone of our society.  I have a dream that we shall rise up to spread the word of the common good through our art, that we will continue to process history through art, that we will be brave enough to make ourselves heard once again. I have a dream that art will become a living, breathing form that speaks to us as we are today and not as who we were yesterday.  I have a dream that if an artist or arts organization wants to succeed badly enough that they put in the work to make the difference to make a difference.  Yes, I have a dream.  Let arts ring!

Inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.  Happy MLK Day!

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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Random thoughts from fiscal cliffs and landfills to donation asks for arts audience development

What do fiscal cliffs and landfills have to do with audience development for the arts?  Quite a lot actually.  Allow me to explain.

The priorities in America and possibly the world are all mixed up these days.  When countries are being run by greed for power and money, what is really important in life is not being funded.  The arts, in my opinion, are important to our lives.  We would be living life in the dark without the arts.  There would be no color in our world, no design,creative sciences or inventiveness, no music, no plays, movies and television shows, no historical reference, no spark to our lives.  How am I certain that the arts are one of the vital ingredients for humanity?  Because of the Landfill Harmonic:

Landfill Harmonic film teaser from Landfill Harmonic on Vimeo.

A country that has no means, but has the human spirit to create is making instruments out of remnants from the landfill.  The arts are a basic need, a basic desire that has to be filled.  This video showcases that the arts are a priority in our lives.

If the arts were to be a part of the fall off due to the fiscal cliff, we would still find a way to create and perform.  However, think about what we could do if we finally got our priorities in life straight.  What would the world look like if the greed for power and money were gone?  There wouldn’t be a fiscal cliff and there probably would be the means for funding of the arts more fully.  We as a human race tend to take the arts for granted.  It’s only when the arts are gone from our lives that we find that we need to sift through the rubble, the garbage, to find a way to express ourselves again.

This taking the arts for granted can be flipped on its head too.  We as artists tend to take our audiences for granted.  I hope non-profits of all kinds will take a moment to ponder this point too.

We are taking our audiences for granted.  We assume that if we create, the audiences will be there.  You can call this the Field of Dreams Syndrome.  We take it for granted that the right people will show up and start to support us, and then we fall flat with doing the work to build the relationships to create the support that we need.

For example, I receive donation asks from a variety of organizations.  I might have given in the past, I might not have.  The organizations that are targeting me based on who I have given to in the past have not started a relationship with me.  They are asking without knowing who I really am as a person.  I rarely give to these random asks.  The ones I have given to the past are organizations that caught my attention through a variety of avenues, such as tabling at an outreach event.  I have at least spoken to a representative, gone to a show, or volunteered for their cause.  I gave to these organizations since a relation has been established.

I only choose to continue to give if the relationship continues.  Many organizations at this point will take me for granted and continue to ask without any personal contact with me.  The only organizations I continue to give to at this point are the ones that treat me like an individual person and not just a number on their mailing list.  They make sure to thank me and contact me to keep me in the loop before asking for another donation.  They send me updates on how my money is being used.  They may call me to thank me personally.  I did receive a call from a board member on one of these organizations.  I only gave $25 that year too. Wow!

To tie this random post up into a nice gift with a big red bow for the holidays, you can trace back to the initial thought.  We have our priorities mixed up.  Instead of taking the road of hard work and thoughtfulness for others, we are taking the path of laziness and greed for money and power.  People will not see the value of our art and organizations until we start valuing people as individuals.  The world will not see the arts as a priority until they see the arts become more a part of the world in ways that are helpful and supportive to their communities.  Perhaps if we started acting as individuals and support the people in our lives through solid two-way relationships, we can start adding a positive voice to the collective for a better, common sensed, prioritized world.

If you ever wondered why getting the arts funded has been so darn challenging, now you know.

PS  These thoughts are my own humble opinion.  Feel free to challenge, add, and consider your own thoughts and post as a reply!

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

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Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, arts management, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising

Takeaways from the #NAMPC Conference

I wanted to start out by giving you the link to my Storify – My #NAMPC experience via Twitter.  I ended up winning the Most Tweets Award, and I received this fun t-shirt!  I also won by connecting with more people on Twitter and getting to meet some of these people during the conference.  It has been a fun and educational experience for me.  If you had to miss the conference they promised to archive the live keynote presentations soon.

The NAMPC  (National Arts Marketing Project Conference) had its ups and downs, but mostly ups.  However, through the entire conference, this year, like last year, there were some common themes running through most of the presentations.  Instead of a complete play by play like I did last year, I would like to leave you with the my most impressionable takeaways and some of my own thoughts (in no particular order):

  • You gotta have passion – if you don’t, people will not be attracted to your mission, cause, project, program… Without passion, what is the point.
  • Be weird and silly – or in other terms, be true to your own particular self.  It’s not about being similar – it’s about standing out.
  • Adding your own personality will increase your likeability.
  • Have fun!  What makes people want to join?  Fun!  If it is not enjoyable to you, it probably won’t be to your audiences.
  • Everyone is diverse in one way or another.  These are my personal thoughts:  We can learn to reach out to others after we discover our own sense of diversity and understand personally what it feels like to be stereotyped and discounted.
  • Keep ego out of the organization.
  • Visual impact is necessary!  There is so much blah, blah, blah, and not enough “language” of our arts.  If you are a music organization, it would be good to have clips and videos of performances and music.  If you are an artist, make viewing your art an experience.  If you are theatre and dance, videos are a must.  How can people figure out if your art is for them if they can’t “see” it and feel it.
  • The arts are powerful.  The creative arts can differentiate a brand from a competitor.  Unleash the power of the arts and start asking people, “what can arts do for you?”
  • Start studying the psychology behind a purchase.  We are humans with quirky human behavior, and the findings of this type of research can help steer us in the right direction.
  • Give people the opportunity to share and create content that is extra fun to increase shareability.
  • Create programs where the community buys into your art/organization.  They may not know you exist because there is nothing in it for them personally.
  • You can turn your customers into advocates.  Make your mission and passions meaningful for them, and it is more likely they will automatically share with others.
  • There is a paradox: Tension exists – how to relieve the tension?  Find the common enemies, our monsters, and figure out how to solve the problems.
  • If you do not have a social mission, there isn’t a point to social media.
  • Content on social media can be attended to like a magazine – create information that people are interested in and analyze to see what content is relevant to your followers or not.
  • “We are in this together – that’s what arts do – they bring us back to humanity.”  – Eric Ryan, author of The Method Method
  • Get rid of “Yes, but” and instead use “Yes, and!”
  • There is a difference between business thinking and design thinking.  Personally, we need both.
  • What would MacGyver do?
  • Sometimes it is better to present the dessert instead of trying to spoon feed the veggies.
  • Does your audience make up reflect who you are?
  • Have more conversations with different people!
  • Sometimes too many choices make people want to give up.
  • A tangible voucher does better than an emailed discount.  Direct mail can make this work!
  • Giving choices subsequently instead of simultaneously can help people to slow down and make a better choice.  This will turn into higher loyalty.
  • On the flip side though, a quick choice can lead to spontaneous happiness such as the simultaneous choice between carrots and chocolate.  Most people choose the chocolate and enjoy the chocolate.
  • Big gaps between lower and higher ticket prices = more tickets purchased at lower price.
  • Anchor and decoy pricing can lead the consumer to purchase the ticket price you desire.
  • We have a primary error of choosing based on comparing the first item we see.  Use this relational comparison wisely!
  • If only one choice is offered, that also could lower purchases – use joint evaluation by adding at least one more choice.
  • Customers also compare prices with their own experiences and memories of pricing.
  • Rewards are better than punishment.  Reward for purchasing early instead of punishing for purchasing later.
  • Praise is considered a reward.
  • “Benchmark before moving the needle.” – Ron Evans
  • It takes 5 things of right to make up for 1 wrong.
  • The build up stage before an event is super duper important!!!
  • People interact in a variety of ways.  Be sure to provide different avenues of engagement to accommodate.
  • Be relevant to your community, the times, and the people you serve. – Cat video festival was a huge success!
    “Our goal is to focus on the relevance part & the marketing part will take care of itself.”- David Tang Firebird AA
  • Use a team based approach.
  • Outrageous discounts do not increase revenue or loyalty.
  • Have fun with marketing and experiment!
  • Be sure to have objects of social interaction – “Ever notice how dogs attract people to converse with each other? ” – Nina Simon
  • Dogs and cats rule!
  • Funny-arts is a risky business. The arts risk every time art is created. Why are we not taking risks too?
  • We all would do better if we get in touch with our inner artist and create marketing and audience development programs like an artist!
  • Arts presentations need to be more artsy.
  • You need to do more than just satisfy.
  • Product may not be the most important factor – think of Beta vs VHS.  Beta was the better product, but VHS won the competition.
  • Be your quirky self and tell the truth by sharing your outtakes.
  • Bottom line, we need to learn to take risks and then share with others.
  • Personal last comment – share the passion and joy of the arts again and incorporate into all that you do.  People will be able to relate to this.

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

2 Comments

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