A Beautiful Ritual

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A simple observation from the proceedings of the FIFA World Cup:  Upon entering the stadium, each team is accompanied by a phalanx of children - each holding hands with a player. It's a beautiful ritual. To the child, it's a beautiful opportunity to stand upon one of the greatest of world stages and feel the energy as some of the world's most elite athletes prepare to perform at the highest of levels.  I don't know how they're selected, or … [Read more...]

Speaking, Writing and a little Arts Marketing Haiku

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I can rub my tummy and pat my head. I always thought that the list of things I can do simultaneously was vast. Chew gum and walk?  Yes. Watch Netflix on my iPhone while jogging on the treadmill at the gym?  Sure did - for the entire administration of Jed Bartlet, no less!  Play a round of Facebook Scrabble while doing just about anything else (except DRIVING, of course) - Absolutely! So, I was shocked and dismayed to discover that I do not … [Read more...]

“Erosion of Arts Participation” is the WRONG Headline

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As a child, one of my favorite picture books* told the story of six field mice that visit a barn.  At the end of the day, they are completely unable to reconcile what they have observed (a cow) because each has seen it from a different perspective - left side, front, bottom, right side, back & top. The story comes to mind as I've downloaded the just-published National Endowment for the Arts' 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the … [Read more...]

“Lab Tests” Assess Health of Arts & Cultural Organizations

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In one of my favorite Star Trek (original series) moments, Dr. McCoy eschews his abundant technology and tells a reluctant patient to open his mouth, "The machine is capable of almost anything but I'll still put my trust in a healthy set of tonsils." Today's arts & cultural organizations would be wise to do the same. While the analytic capabilities of so many websites and ticketing systems are immense, it's not unusual for arts & … [Read more...]

The Drive to Audience Avenue

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Please let me invite you to visit the new and just-launched website of my company, Audience Avenue:  www.AudienceAvenue.com. If your priority is audience-building, then you'll be happy to find a central location for new ideas, practical applications, important resources and the connection of similarly interested people from throughout the arts & cultural sector.  In my hopes & dreams, this is the first step toward the idea of a Massive … [Read more...]

Nonprofit Organizations Need a Black Box

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Onerous headlines in Phoenix and Tucson this week as Arizona Theatre Company, the only resident company in the US that serves as a two-city operation, is reportedly ending its current fiscal year with a $1 million deficit. I have nothing but respect and compassion for the management & Board of my state's preeminent professional theatre company.  I remain hopeful and confident that they will work hard to restore the organization's financial … [Read more...]

A New Dimension for Engagement: “Fan-Funding”

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With gratitude, I share this interview with Brian Camelio, the founder of ArtistShare - a pioneering "fan-funding platform for artists" to which I was introduced just a few weeks ago.  I contacted Brian through his website's general information e-mail and asked if he'd be willing to share his experience & insights.  I am profoundly grateful for his willingness to do so. In addition to reading this interview, I encourage you to thoroughly … [Read more...]

Richard Florida: Next NEA Chairman!

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Entirely wishful thinking on my part. But consider this:  Now is an opportune - and incredibly necessary - time to connect the nation's arts & cultural policy to our country's most profound challenges. With all due respect and appreciation to NEA Chairs of the past, the ideal leader for President Obama's second term is someone who can substantially inspire, articulate and mobilize the significant opportunity of the arts & cultural … [Read more...]

Bright Idea: Freshman Orientation

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This week, our youngest attended Freshman orientation at the far-away university she'll be attending in the Fall.  So, perhaps that's what sparks this idea: Have you noticed how so many people who work in the arts & cultural sector - and in marketing and audience-development capacities in particular - have never before worked in the sector. No matter how qualified they are - no matter how much they have volunteered with a non-profit … [Read more...]

Bright Idea: Pay the Audience

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Have you ever been "upside down" in the marketing of a show - where you spent more on marketing than you earned in ticket sales?  That's where this bright idea comes from. Let's admit that sometimes we present or produce works of theater more out of love than out of any expectation that we'll be able to sell tickets. Why must marketeers slog their way thru such efforts - when it so often proves that adage that the easiest way to make a … [Read more...]