Tag Archives: arts economy

Audience Development and some cool arts statistics!

Yesterday the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Section of Statistical Abstract –  http://1.usa.gov/ooiiXY – came out.  This is the statistics section of the census data that has been collected.  Being the audience development geek I am, I was fascinated by some of the facts and figures.  I ended up tweeting some of the more interesting facts while I was going through this report, section by section.  The arts part of the report goes through page 8.  If you are interested in knowing where we are in terms of arts participation, this report gives us some clues.

The article I found that provided the link to the report stated that there are more people bird watching than going to classical music concerts.  You will not believe what else was found out, although some data proved some of my theories correct.

The following are my tweets that follow each section of the report.  Let me know if you have any comments by replying.

  • Revenue for Museums and Historical is similar to revenue for Amusement Theme Parks (2004-2009)
  • Spectator sports is about twice the revenue of performing arts.
  • Statistics on money spent on reading by age is interesting.  The younger generations does not spend as much money on reading. There is a message for structuring marketing there.
  • Interesting numbers for memberships. For Museums and Libraries, looks like it went up in 2005-2006, but has been steady since then.
  • My question then is: What were museums and libraries doing in 2005-2006 that attracted members?
  • Broadway – playing weeks have gone up, but attendance really hasn’t.
  • Nonprofit theatres – unfortunately the data is structured with more companies reporting and would take calculations to figure out.
  • Opera – less companies reported, less audience is apparent though in relation.
  • Symphony Orchestras – up and down attendance and not in relation to amount of concerts.
  • Females participate more in the arts than males except for purchasing art. Interesting
  • Good for Illinois! Highest allocation for the arts agencies and it had a whopper of an increase from 2010 to 2011.
  • Report proves that younger generations are more hands on – higher % participation statistics as they get younger w/ few exceptions.
  • % High to Low: Reading, Museums, Live Theatre, Art shows, Photography, Other music, Rock, Play instrument., Country, Dance, Classical, Radio
Which facts and figures astonish you?  Which ones did you guess were already true? Which ones need more discussion?

There may be some more interesting data that I missed during my scan of the report. If you catch any important ones to discuss, please do reply in the comment section to get the discussion happening.

Audience development is about building relationships with people.  Just remember though that these numbers are actual people. These numbers can provide some clues, and to me they validate that audience development is vastly needed.

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

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Audience development – lessons to be learned

Today I came across this article:

Fund for the Arts ponders new ways, director in post-Allan Cowen era

It was a very open and honest article about mistakes that have been made and the consequences that resulted from these mistakes.  If arts organizations want to not only survive, but thrive, we need to point out these mistakes and begin a new direction for implementing the solutions that are as plain as day.  Yes, we need to implement, not just identify.

I have decided to scan the article mentioned above to highlight the mistakes and lessons to be learned:

Lesson 1

The Fund for the Arts began the post-Allan Cowen era Tuesday with calls for more transparency, an allocation process that involves more local organizations, and better communication among board members and with the community.

This was the very first thought from this article.  More transparency.  The public needs to know what is going on. What money is needed, where the money is going, how the money donated is working, how the organization is running – transparency will open the door to old and new supporters and a more efficiently run organization.  As far as the “allocation process that involves more local organization,” to me this means opening the doors to new partnerships and supporters as well.

Lesson 2

“We need to revisit the mission and breadth of the organization,” said James R. Allen, chairman and CEO of J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons Inc. and chairman of the fund’s 2011 campaign.

Every organization needs to take the time to reevaluate and revisit their mission and the essence of their organization.  Is the mission still true today?  Is it needed?  Do changes need to be made?  Is the organization still needed?  How can it function better?  The answers will give you a clue as to what is and isn’t working to date and what actions need to be taken next.

Lesson 3

“We need to reassess ourselves,” added Angela Leet, owner of Chamberlin Enterprises. “Do bigger and better things for our community.”

I would only assess this lesson if in Lesson 2 you found to still be a necessary organization with a necessary mission.  When you get to this point, it may not be a matter of doing bigger and better things for your community, although that is always something to strive for, but it may be a matter of simply doing things for your community.  Are you benefiting your community?  In what ways?  Can you document how you benefit your community?  Spend a little time not only reassessing, but defining and documenting.  Then, strive for more.

Lesson 4

“It can’t be all talk and no action,” said Murphy.

This is where many artists and arts organizations can get into trouble.  All talk and no action.  I see campaigns and marketing strategies to help the public to perceive your organization in a better light, but if you do not supply the actions to back these statements up, you are going to look even worse than where you started from.  Not only show your plans for the future, but highlight the steps that are taken to show that you mean business, that you are taking action.

Lesson 5

“Before we can move forward with the strategic plan, we really need to talk to the community as a whole — from the individual who gives $2 a pay period to the folks who write checks for thousands of dollars each year,” he said.

Communicating with all of your supporters is extremely important.  If you have not thanked all of your donors and communicated with them regularly, you will see a decline in support in the near future.  Before attempting to make future plans for more fundraising and finding more donors, you need to finish off the last cycle of fundraising by connecting with your current supporters.

Lesson 6

He said raising more money and being more inclusive will definitely be part of the board’s plans.“If we don’t make the pie bigger it doesn’t really help anybody much more,” he said. “The pie has to be bigger.”

This is the flip side of  Lesson 5.  Yes, do thank your existing donors and supporters, but you still need to look beyond existing to potential.  The pie needs to be bigger with more funds which means more donors and supporters.  You cannot keep relying on the same people year after year.  You will end up burning them out with no one to take their place.

The article did mention about other arts organizations that were deeply in debt, in bankruptcy or with plans of closing their doors.  I wish they had learned these lessons before it was too late.  I hope you do too!

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

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Audience development and your team

I may have blogged about this before, but due to all the arts cuts scares and conversations, I felt that this topic needed to be resurrected.  Audience development can be the answer for obtaining support in challenging times.  In order for audience development to work its magic, you need these ingredients:

  1. A good plan
  2. The time and effort to carry out the plan
  3. The commitment to stick with the plan (tweaking as needed)
  4. A good team to carry out the plan

All of these components are important, and one of the most important ingredients is your team.  Audience development is a team effort.  This means that you absolutely need a team or group of people to help carry out the plan.  Audience development will not work unless you have this team of people.  During my trial and error days, this became quite obvious when working with organizations and artists that lacked people support.

You now know that you need a team.  Who are the people that would be good for your team?

  1. Staff
  2. Board Members
  3. Patrons
  4. Volunteers
  5. Artists
  6. Dedicated Media
  7. Donors
  8. Sponsors and Business Partners
  9. Groups

As your support grows, this list of team members will grow too. Now what types of people do you need on your team?

  1. Dedicated and passionate people
  2. People that will put in time and effort – people that are not afraid to do the work it takes
  3. People that enjoy spreading the word
  4. People that are not afraid and are good at asking for monetary support
  5. People that enjoy volunteering
  6. People that are connected to your art and arts organization

If you are lacking in any of the above, it is time to seek out new team members.  Audience development needs to not only have a team, but the right members on the team to support your art.

The main reason I focused on this topic for today is because I am seeing artists and arts organizations that lack the proper team support.  Without the proper team support, most artists and organizations will lack audience and monetary support.  In times of arts cuts, we need audience development more than ever, and we all need a strong and dedicated team to support our efforts.

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

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Audience development, Rocco and the buzz

There has been a good discussion happening since Rocco Landesman, chairman of the NEA, had the audacity ( ;O) )  to point out that arts organizations should downsize or collaborate more due to high supply and low demand:

#SupplyDemand

There of some us in the arts world that will agree and some of us who are rallying behind the reasoning that the arts are about more than simply economics.

Dear Rocco (2amt – Trisha Mead)

I agree that the arts have a kaleidoscope of benefits for humanity, and due to these benefits, it may not be wise to force the arts into an economic reasoning box.  I also agree that if the arts do not find a way to solidify these benefits in the minds of the general public, arguments for cuts, downsizing, etc. will continue to happen.

The arts, despite the human benefits, are still a product.  It is manufactured by creative minds and produced for purchase (if it is for sale).  If art is being created for arts sake, that is something entirely different, but if you are creating to sell, then art is a product.

People want to buy products that add value to their lives.  The arts certainly will add value to people’s lives, but we as artists and arts organizations are not doing a good enough job to allow people to perceive the value.  We have a big pool of artists and arts organizations that are not doing well.  Thus, we are being subjected to supply solutions.

I feel strongly that instead of simply trying to put a bandage on the wound or dealing with the supply end of the equation, we need to talk about what caused the wound in the first place.  Otherwise, we will continue to bleed due to arts cuts caused by low demand dis-ease.  If we had done our part in solidifying in the public’s mind that the arts are valuable, we wouldn’t be in this position since demand for the arts wouldn’t be an issue.

Let us finally see the problem for what it really is.  The demand for the arts is not there to sustain every artist and arts organization.  Does this mean the supply needs to be dealt with?  Maybe.  However due to the needs of humans to create art, we may not really have a choice.  The arts are not like toilet paper.  If a brand of toilet paper doesn’t sell on the market, the brand of toilet paper likely gets flushed out of the market.  Yet, when an artist or arts organization isn’t doing so well, they are likely to continue creating for many years despite money woes because of the need to create. We do need to take this into account.  Again, maybe working on the supply part of the equation isn’t what works for the arts.

Instead, we can work on boosting the demand, which I see as a more positive option and the option that would fix this tottering teeter once and for all.

So why is demand low?  Putting it simply, there are people out there that have no clue that artists and arts organizations exist in their community.  I could become rich from the number of times I have heard, “I didn’t know we had an orchestra in town.”   Or, “We have a theater company?”  I calmly reply, “We actually have 13.”

We also have the issue that the arts expect people to come to them and fit to their presentation style.  Maybe we need to change the product placement to bring the art to people again and change the product presentations to suit what people want today.  The art itself will still be the art, yet people will be able to enjoy it since it will be more accessible to them.

No wonder we are facing these arguments time and time again.  We as an arts team need to step up to the plate and finally create the buzz around the arts that is vastly needed and create products that speak to the people of today.   This is what will increase the demand for the arts.

Here is my list of what truly needs to happen now:

  • We need to stop feeling entitled as an arts community and rather sell the value of the arts so there is no question that it deserves funding.
  • We need to show the world high quality arts.  High quality creates buzz and buzz creates an audience.
  • We need to create our art and present it in ways that are accessible to the people of today.
  • We need to finally give the people an identity with the arts.  This means that each artists and organization needs to find their own identities, their own brands so they can find the right audiences.  The same old same old is not cutting it (more on this next blog post).
  • We need to show why the arts are a good investment and then start asking for the investments.  Yes, this is work, but well worth it. Yes, it is scary to ask sometimes, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get funded.
  • We need to highlight our arts products in ways that will reach people.  If you are a music organization, pass around an mp3.  If you are part of the performing arts, by golly, become part of the YouTube revolution.  If you are an artist, find ways that your art will visually be passed around. I see so many arts sites that do not highlight their art in ways that people can share and pass around.
  • We need to start inviting people personally.  Word of Mouth is becoming the number one reason people attend.  The likelihood for people attending increases when they are personally invited.
  • We need to start following up with people personally.  Patrons are falling through the cracks due to poor follow up.
  • We need to start engaging in two way conversations with our patrons.
  • We need to create ways that the patrons can connect with other patrons.  The arts are meant to be social.
  • We need to address the personal needs of why people attend.  The arts are also personal.
  • We need to address the reasons why people do not attend and actually implement solutions.
  • We need to allow our patrons to communicate their feedback and implement solutions for the complaints received.
  • We need to build a community that surrounds our art, a community that will support us in ways we need support.
  • We need to do all of the above in order to increase buzz and demand for the arts!

It is going to take time and effort to initiate and implement programs that will increase demand for the arts in general, but you as an individual artist and arts organization have the power to start working on solutions now.  I have seen time and time again, that if you do build a team and work on these points, and you put the time and effort in, the demand goes up.  You will have built a better quality audience, a community that is an exact fit with you and will support you.

When you solve the problem from this perspective, increasing demand for the arts, each artist and arts organizations will be able to increase their own supply and demand.  This solution can work for the arts rather than against it.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedinE-News

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

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

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Arts Advocacy Day! Do it for Mozart! Twitter and Facebook Instructions…

It’s time to take action!  I ask you to lend your voice by writing a letter and then posting on Twitter and Facebook that you took action.  Let’s make some noise today!  I am dedicating this arts advocacy day to Mozart.  In order to find our next Mozarts in this world, we need to support and fund the arts.  (Happy Birthday Mozart!)

I am asking that each of us write at least one letter (or tweet) today. The letter can be very simple:

Dear  _________,

I am writing to let you know that I support the arts.  The arts contribute in a variety of ways to our society.  The reason I personally support the arts ________________________.  Please do not cut funding for the arts and consider that funding the arts fully will be investing in all of our futures.  A world without the arts would be very dismal.  We would no longer have creative thinkers or something worthwhile to live for.  Investing in the arts is smart since you will see a return on your investment!

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Name
City, State (Country)

This is a sample letter.  I encourage you to write your own in your own words.  Tell these people why the arts are important to you!

If you are writing the media – please instead ask them for more coverage of the arts and tell them why the arts are important to you.  More coverage of the arts will bring more awareness for the arts, and the arts need our support right now due to proposed budget cuts.  Etc.

Here are the instructions:

US:

  1. Write to your Representative: http://bit.ly/fIQsbC
  2. Write to your Senator: http://bit.ly/fIQsbC
  3. Write to your local media:

4. Write a tweet! You can use your zip code to find out if your representative or senator is on Twitter: http://www.tweetcongress.org/

If on Twitter:

Example of tweet:

#Artsadvoc Dear @SenBennetCO I am tweeting to show I support the arts. Please continue to fund the arts. We need the arts! TY, Boulder, CO

If you wrote a letter – please send a tweet saying #Artsadvoc State who you wrote to.

Example: #Artsadvoc CO, Bennet – I support the #arts http://bit.ly/gBuxAw

This will  help us to keep track.

5. If on Facebook: change your status to be: I support the arts and wrote a letter to __________ today!  You can too: http://bit.ly/gBuxAw

Post a comment on this blog stating your state and who you wrote to.

For Outside of US:

Newspapers (see Worldwide section): http://www.refdesk.com/paper.html

Television: (see Worldwide News Sites section) http://www.refdesk.com/paper.html

Radio: Use Radio-Locator: http://www.radio-locator.com/

Twitter:

Please follow the same Twitter and Facebook instructions to broadcast your support, but please comment on this blog:
Country and who you sent your letter to.

Thank you for writing your letter today!  Please feel free to comment on this blog as well.  This is the first time for this grassroots effort, and I welcome opinions for future efforts.

It is time to have a stronger voice in support for the arts. Lend your voice!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedinE-News

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

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

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Resuscitating art support and audience development

Yesterday I mentioned an essay that I felt was worth reading and discussing, “Resuscitating Art Music”  by John Steinmetz (NARAS Journal, Summer 1993,Volume 4 No. 1).   Today I am thinking I need to combine this discussion with a more broader topic – support for the arts.

If you haven’t received the news yet, the GOP is attempting to cut all funding to the arts, and I mean all.  Cutting at a national level of course cuts at the state level too. You can read about it here:

Conservative Republicans pledge to eliminate cultural funding http://wapo.st/fePAl3

It made me wonder, again, why the arts are the scapegoat when budget cuts are needed.  We keep proving ourselves over and over again how much the arts contribute to our society on many different levels.  Every dollar that goes towards the arts almost always yields money 2 to 3 times the amount back into our local economies.  Why is this still an issue over and over again?

I figure it is partly our fault.  Yes, it is.  We have not been doing our jobs well enough to promote the arts and to make the arts more accessible to the masses so everyone deeply understands the value of the arts.  They (the let’s cut the arts folks) keep seeing the arts as a luxury.  It is fluff.  It is the dessert to all the meat and potato social causes that are necessary.  Here is a quote from one of the other arts funding cut articles of the day:

Arts funding weighed in York County http://bit.ly/e6Fn26

Local legislators weigh in

The proposed cuts will help the state “get back to core functions of government,” state representatives said.

“The arts are a vital part of the community,” said state Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill. But they’re less important when trying to fund “medicine for children and the Medicaid program, … law enforcement – the basic needs that the government provides.”

“Art is nice, but it’s an elective,” said Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill. He hopes the Legislature will find ways to incorporate arts into existing programming and fund them with grants instead of state money.

State Rep. Tommy Pope, R-York, and Norman said they hope the private sector will increase its support of arts organizations.

So, are the arts simply something that is “nice” and just an “elective?”  Are the arts “less important” than what they term the basics?

I understand that there is only so much money to go around and that there are many worthy causes to support.    The arts are what makes life worth living.  The medicine helps to keep us healthy, but what are we becoming healthy for?  To live, to experience, which is what the arts are all about.

I feel like these GOP’s have a major disconnect with a part of their humanity.  Have they considered what it will be like for the world if the arts were cut out?  Do they realize the very programs they are proposing to cut are the very programs that allow them to hire a musician for their events.  How did the musician become a musician?  Through the very programs they wish to cut mainly.  Do they think about the artist that works hard on their branding campaigns?  Where did this artist come from?

We need to ask ourselves why this group of people think the arts are merely fluffy extras in life.  There is a disconnect here. What can we do about it?  The arts need to start making art more accessible so more people are aware of the value.  This leads me back to Steinmetz’s essay.

Here is the beginning of the essay:

One summer I taught music at a computer camp. After years of experience as music camps, it was a shock to be teaching kids who weren’t already involved in music. I didn’t know how to connect with them. My class of high school students had no music training and no detectable interest in art music. They weren’t interested in new experiences. They were frighteningly incurious. For them, “I hate that” meant the same thing as “That’s unfamiliar to me.”

I was pretty miserable until I finally gave up trying to teach anything and started asking the students what they liked. A spirited argument broke out about whether Journey or Def Leppard was better (this was 1983). To bolster their viewpoints, students marshalled a surprising amount of knowledge and perceptiveness.

I asked the class whether they would be willing to try an experiment. Would they listen to a song that everybody liked and another that everybody hated, and then discuss the differences? They said okay, but it took them a little while to think of a song that everybody liked. Finally they settled on a song by Journey. For the music that everybody hated, I suggested a fourteenth-century love song. They agreed immediately. Even without hearing it, they were certain they would hate a fourteenth-century love song.

We listened to both songs and, sure enough, everybody loved Journey and hated the fourteenth century. When I asked why, they had a lot of answers. One guy said he didn’t like the fourteenth-century music because the music wasn’t in English. Another student said she didn’t like anything that sounded like “that stuff my parents listen to — you know, Pavarotti and that kind of stuff.”

One student answered, “I like rock music because even if I’m doing something else, even if I’m in a different room, I can still get it. I can still tell where the beat is.”

Then he said something I’ve been thinking about ever since. “I like rock music because you don’t have to pay attention in order to get it.”

He really seemed to resent it that the fourteenth-century music required him to do something, to pay attention. Since that time, I have realized that, in our country, the ability to pay attention has become endangered. As a result, art forms that require the audience’s attention are endangered, too.

We still have the same issues today as we did almost 3 decades ago (or more – remember he sights the 50’s later in the essay).  The ability to pay attention is a consideration, but it is also the fact that the arts need to be accessible so people will want to pay attention to it.

The arts are getting better at reaching out and creating new programs to attract more people, but in general, we still cater to our own people.  Meaning, there is only a small percentage of the population that seek out the arts and that the arts seek out.  The branding, the marketing, the programs, mostly communicate in ways that this smaller percentage will understand and be comfortable with.  Of course, we need to be who we are, but I think it is time to get back to basics and be who we basically are instead of the “mandatory” society wrappings we feel we need to be.

The audience might learn how to pay attention again, if we give them something worth paying attention to.  If we give them something accessible to reach for. It could be as simple as having musicians smile again at a concert.  People love it when Dudamel smiles.  People comment when they see a musician actually enjoying themselves on stage.  It could be as easy as relating in language that others can relate to, or to at least explain our terminology in ways that will make sense to a new audience member.  We need to start building relationships with these potential audiences.

More from Steinmetz’s essay:

Until recently art music could be presented in thoughtless or inefficient ways without harming itself. It didn’t matter if we put on performances that baffled the audience and bored the musicians. It didn’t matter if we gave youth concerts that turned kids off. It didn’t matter if we performed only for white people. It didn’t matter if we ignored new listeners and didn’t help them learn how to pay attention. We still had audiences. We still had plenty of money. We still had lots of people who cherished the medium.Now, rather abruptly, all those things that didn’t matter have become crucial. Art music is under pressure to do its job better. We can’t be so stupid any more.

This essay is a collection of ideas about how art music could do its job better. Actually, the music is fine; these are ideas about how to present it better. I didn’t think up these ideas; I have gathered them over many years of playing the bassoon, teaching, speaking to audiences, and working with organizations on new kinds of presentation.

These are practical ideas for purveyors of art music. I am writing for the practical people who work to help the music flourish: the musicians, listeners, administrators, board members, volunteers, educators, producers and presenters.

Although this is definitely not a theoretical discussion, I do want to encourage my colleagues to think. As practical people, we sometimes rush off to solve problems without thinking them through. Sometimes, proceeding from obsolete assumptions, we make our problems worse. Now evolutionary pressure is forcing us to think about things more carefully, and making us think about things we never had to think about before (such as “What’s so special about this music and why should it survive?”).

Again, in order to continue receiving funding and other forms of support, we need to finally make the arts accessible to the point that people will automatically see the value .  I will continue to look into this essay for more juicy tidbits to examine, but until then, please chew on the former and let me know what you think!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedinE-News

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

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Audience development and arts funding

While scanning articles about the arts and audience development, I had a rude awakening:

Arts groups ‘must prove they’re worth funding’

But he said that individual arts organisations needed to demonstrate they were worth the funding they receive from the public purse.

“The arts are not going to put bread in people’s mouths but they can make a difference,” he said.

Excuse me, but the arts do put bread in people’s mouths, and the arts also ensure a creative population, boost local economies (double to input in most reports), help make education more accessible to our children,  add to our health and well being, provide an outlet for human expression, and make life worth living.  The reports are all there to be read and digested.  Why are people still saying the arts have to prove themselves?

Geez!  What do the arts have to do?  Go on strike to prove their worth?  Can you even imagine a world without the arts?  I dare you.  No seriously, I want you to think about going about your average day and make a mental note about how much the arts contribute to your daily life.  Here are a few examples:
  • Television and movie entertainment – there wouldn’t be anything to entertain us.  No music, no actors, no dancers, no filmmakers…
  • Marketing – imagine marketing without the arts.  No creative ads, no music, no actors, no dancers, no artists, no copywriters, no photographers
  • Events – most events add the arts to, well,  make it an event – no musicians, no actors, no storytellers, no clowns, no magicians, no photographers to capture and document…
  • School – the arts contribute to higher retention rates and make learning more fun and accessible, plus the arts help generate the creative thinkers of tomorrow – no artists, no creative thinkers, less kids staying in school, less creative teachers,  no textbooks with photos, learning becomes more of a chore…
  • Activities for kids and adults – no art classes, no photography classes, no dance, no theater, no creative arts camps, no books (since no authors), no lectures (except non-creative ones), no music concerts, no museums, no galleries…what will we do with all of our time?
  • Products – the products in our lives will becoming boring – no creative production or design, no artists, no music…
  • Inventions – there would be no new inventions without creative thinkers, a quality that arts education supplies

I could go on and on.  Think about the design for a  blog.  Think about any type of design in our lives.  Think about the song on the radio. Think about the inventions in our lives.  Think about creative scientific discoveries. Look around you.  The arts are all around us, supporting us in our daily lives, adding quality to our daily lives, and making our lives more rich and vibrant, more worth living.

And people are saying that the arts have to prove that they are worth funding?  Ridiculous! Ludicrous!  The next time a politician has a rally or event, try having one without music and creative speech writers!

I know that one of the main challenges for audience development is proving that the arts are worth funding and attending.  Politicians and other government officials that keep spewing this nonsense against the arts are no big help.  If we do not fund the arts, our lives will become extremely dismal.  Arts organizations are a part of our community and cutting off this part of the community is going to be detrimental to the rest of the community.  Period.

By the way, I have a job that I love because of the arts, and the arts employs a fair percentage of people.  Most industries rely on the arts to make their products sell.  Firsthand proof that the arts do put bread in our mouths!

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

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