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...]

Not Just Bad for Business

Dear Arizona

Though I love my home state, these are not proud days to be an Arizona resident. I'm talking, of course, about Senate Bill 1062, the so-called "right-to-refuse-service" legislation that has recently passed our State Senate and House of Representatives - and is currently awaiting the sign/veto decision of Governor Jan Brewer. Over the past few days, there's been an impressive roll call of leaders of business, tourism, economic development, … [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...]

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...]

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...]

The Drive to Audience Avenue

audience_ave_shadow

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...]

The Rising Ick Factor

icky-face (1)

This really isn't news: That credit bureaus monitor our actions and marketing agencies score our consumer propensities is well known. That we routinely sign-up for mailing lists and make all sorts of on-line purchases without bothering to even read the privacy policy, is commonly accepted. That Facebook, Google, Amazon and who-knows-how-many other on-line systems track our clicks, preferences and patterns to deliver fundamental parts … [Read more...]

Be More Entrepreneurial

money stack

In a recent post, I wrote, "Stakeholders are demanding that non-profit arts & cultural organizations “be more entrepreneurial” – which is, too often, code for, “figure out a way to operate in which you don’t have to keep asking us for money." Literally, of course, that would be the uncharitable meaning of the phrase. Today, let's try for a more charitable interpretation. Suppose that such stakeholders are simply pointing out the … [Read more...]