Speaking, Writing and a little Arts Marketing Haiku

Southwest

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...]

In Favor of Genetically Modified Organizations

gmo

I prefer my vegetables in their 100% organic state. I don't feel the same way about non-profit arts & cultural organizations. There is nothing sacred about the business model and (dare I say it?) the artistic mission of any arts and cultural organization. That doesn't mean that an organization shouldn't stand for anything. Nor would I argue that it's healthy for an organization's business model or artistic mission to fluctuate all … [Read more...]

How You View the Pie

pie

Do you proceed from the premise that the “pie” is of a set size and we are all competing for a slice – or that the pie is expandable and we all stand to win by creating the means for it to grow. For arts & cultural organization leaders responsible for building audiences, here's a quick test to see if what you BELIEVE is consistent with how you BEHAVE: In the past 7 days, what % of your resources (i.e. budget, time & attention) have … [Read more...]

The Great Hibernation is Over

Hibernation

Economists appear to have concluded that the "Great Recession" that began in December, 2007 officially ended in June, 2009. So, what shall we in the arts & cultural sector call the pro-longed period of hunkered-down existence that we've endured ever since? For more than six years, we've persevered in the face of withered philanthropy, slashed public funding, preempted corporate sponsorship and the contraction of consumer spending. We - our … [Read more...]

“Erosion of Arts Participation” is the WRONG Headline

sppa chart

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

Analysis

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...]

On Reporters and PR People

Kyle Lawson

One of the most beloved and respected people in the arts & cultural community of Phoenix, Arizona is Kyle Lawson. Beginning in 1977, and for more than 30 years, Kyle wrote about arts and entertainment in Arizona, first at the Scottsdale Progress, then The Phoenix Gazette, and finally The Arizona Republic. He was awarded the very first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Arizona Governor's Commission on the Arts and a similar award from the … [Read more...]

Live from WAA: Thoughts from a New Perspective

Matt at WAA

LOS ANGELES, CA., August 29, 2013 – In a twist of fate, I’m attending this week’s Western Art Alliance (WAA) Conference in the role of artist representative for Scorpius Dance Theatre, a contemporary dance company from my home town of Phoenix, AZ.  After a decade of running a statewide service organization and NOT playing favorites among a membership of 240 Arizona arts & cultural organizations, it’s revitalizing for me to focus on the … [Read more...]

Audience Development is Retarded

Neon words

Dumb, Invalid, Retarded, Slow, Brain- Damaged, Psycho, Crazy, Insane, Wacko, Nuts, Handicapped, Physically Challenged, "Special," Deformed, Cripple, Gimp, Spastic, Spaz, Wheelchair-bound, Lame...   Please CLICK HERE for an excellent overview of respectful disability language. The words we use matter. Vocabulary doesn't just express our beliefs.  It shapes our understanding.  Just as our imaginations are propelled by the rich concepts … [Read more...]

The 10 Commandments of Classical Music Audience-Building

hhtwitter4

Holly Hickman of Up Tempo Marketing delivers “Spirited Marketing for Music Organizations.”  We have been friends for several years and I have deep respect for her accomplishments in the field.  A few months ago, we started a fascinating conversation about the practical challenges of audience-building specifically for classical music organizations, which I’m grateful she has allowed me to continue here. I absolutely ADORE her 10 … [Read more...]