Should You Be Letting It Go?

As I was preparing for my presentation at the upcoming National Arts Marketing Project Conference, I interviewed a number of bloggers, digital media experts, marketers, and influencers to get their take on the highs and lows of using social influencers to promote your products and experiences. 

Social Media in an Arts Marketer’s Promotional Toolkit

Social media has become a bona fide and critical component of the customer path to purchase—and arts marketers are taking advantage, successfully using social media to make their organizations more relatable, promote upcoming shows or exhibits, and gain memberships with special announcements and behind-the-scenes content.

Engaging the Deaf/disability community: A Marketer’s Exploration

My recent foray into professional arts marketing shows me that there’s much we can learn from each other on ways to link historically overlooked and disenfranchised communities with the mainstream theater communities who want to invite them in.

Expanding Audience Connections

Arts organizations often find a delicate balance in planning a season that generates necessary revenue and attendance, while still being driven by a meaningful purpose. The ultimate goal is to provide opportunities rooted in a place of purpose, guided by your mission, that have the ability to reach a largest possible range of individuals.

Striving for Positive Change through Arts Programming

An honest, unreserved commitment to community collaboration brings healing and positive growth. If your arts organization feels like their outreach and engagement is not as successful as they had hoped, remember these four key approaches to bring you back to the root of meaningful arts programming. 

Challenging Teaching Norms: A New Art History Curriculum

In the rise of a socially-conscious zeitgeist, a spectrum of practices across the vast catalog of art institutions and programming have come into question, specifically around the issues of representation and equity. From hiring policies to curation, art audiences are demanding more inclusive narratives. Often our digital platforms provide the unfortunate circumstance of sustaining a highly contentious environment around these conversations. A common response across many institutions has been to remain steadfast and inflexible in questionable practice, as opposed to considering the validity of such cultural objections. But some institutions have found a way to respond to the current state of cultural criticism in more productive ways. 

Get to Know Your Audience: A Human-Centered, Data-Driven Approach

To communicate effectively, it really helps to know who you’re communicating with. As an arts marketer communicating on behalf of an organization, audience research is one of the most important tools we have to understand who our audiences are and what they want.

The Case for Comprehensive Marketing Planning; and/or, Know Your Consumer—or Else

Comprehensive marketing planning will help you know your consumers better, which will help you maintain deeper connections and relationships with them. The process, while rigorous, provides the best way forward to understanding all the issues surrounding marketing efforts.

The Arts Experience and Reducing Audience Churn

If you could attract neophyte audience members and get them to return by buying them a glass of wine, wouldn’t you do it? And if it was even easier to get them to the next step, becoming regulars—say, all it took was greeting them by name—wouldn’t you do that?

Taking Down Practical Hurdles

Try taking a youngster to a museum. It’s not easy. Where will you put the stroller? What about the crackers and the Cheerios? Such practical thoughts, and others like them, run through the minds of people who are interested in participating in the arts—but haven’t yet committed.

The Road to Participation: Countering Misperceptions

Reviewing theoretical and data-driven research, along with practical experiences from arts organizations over the past 10 years, The Wallace Foundation and its partners have developed a much better understanding of the reasons people choose to go, or not to go, to an arts performance or exhibition. The decision is not a simple case of yes or no.

Getting your Priorities Straight

Every new season at a performing arts organization is like a road trip to a new destination. We’re experienced enough after taking these trips for years to know how to prepare and what to pack. But since the trip changes every year, there are still plenty of adventures (and challenges) to be had. 

The Room Where It Happens

The individuals who are in the room when decisions are made can make all the difference to the following weeks and months of labor to build brand, engage the community, and develop future audiences.  Here are a few helpful hints for you to make the case why marketing should be “in the room” to influence positive outcomes.

The More Arts Marketing Changes, The More it Stays the Same

While the arts marketing landscape changes, and the methods are changing with them, some things will stay the same. This week, read tips, thought-provoking questions, and “lessons learned” from a broad range of professionals in our arts marketing blog salon. 

What is our impact?

Impact. That is what every arts educator hopes for when they greet a new crop of students. To impact their lives through the art form they love. Whether a student develops an appreciation and love for the arts, decides to pursue it as a career, or just discovers something within themselves they may not have known without experiencing the arts, it all comes down to impact. A few weeks ago, we had an opportunity to see this impact on a national level as people all over the world told their stories during National Arts in Education Week. The #BecauseOfArtsEd hashtag gave us a chance to reflect on our story and how it was shaped by the arts. Like many of you, I was excited to post stories about the educators we work with and add to the tapestry of stories across the country. The response to our educators was overwhelming.

Americans for the Arts Introduces the Arts + Social Impact Explorer

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Today, Americans for the Arts unveiled the Arts + Social Impact Explorer, an interactive online tool that draws together more than 1,000 data points on how the arts impact and integrate into 26 different sectors ranging from education and innovation, to health and wellness, immigration, faith and environment. The tool provides quick top-line research, example projects, core research papers, and lists service and partner organizations doing this work, as well as provides printable PDF fact sheets to share with decisionmakers.

Introducing the Arts + Social Impact Explorer

To improve the perceived public value of the arts, we must connect into the places where people find value. To get members of our community to stand up and say, “We want more,” we have to tell them why “more” matters. If we’re trying to create advocates for arts and culture among the members of communities, we need to increase the occasions where thinking about the arts makes sense. Because the truth is, the arts make more things possible, from better education to greater health outcomes to a more civically-engaged citizenry—it’s just that people don’t always see the connection to the arts when change happens. Knowing people prioritize core issue areas like education, job security, housing, public safety, and health and wellness, how do we show the important ways the arts intersect with their day-to-day lives? At Americans for the Arts, our answer is the Arts + Social Impact Explorer.

Spark a Creative Conversation During National Arts & Humanities Month

Happy National Arts and Humanities Month! Each October, millions of people across the country celebrate the transformative power of the arts in their communities. National Arts and Humanities Month is a “coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America,” with the goals of: FOCUSING on the arts at local, state, and national levels; ENCOURAGING individuals and organizations to participate in the arts; ALLOWING governments and businesses to show their support of the arts; and RAISING public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our communities and lives. During National Arts and Humanities Month, some truly amazing celebrations of arts and culture take place across the country. One of the big initiatives for the month is Creative Conversations, which gather community leaders to “discuss local arts, culture, and creativity to generate partnerships and increased energy around the grassroots movement to elevate the arts in America.” 

Of Safe Havens and Wide Awakeness: Arts Educators as Agents of Transformation

This is the second year that I have taught a freshman course at Berklee College of Music about Neurodiversity. Over the 15-week semester, we examine topics and issues in neurodiversity and their relationship to the arts. We start by talking about the origin of the term “neurodiversity,” and we go on to consider issues of language, power, and representation as they relate to individuals with disabilities. We work with scholarly writings in disability studies and the arts to better understand and question the rhetorical frames at play in various cultural contexts when it comes to artists with disabilities. Every time I teach this course, I am struck by the openness with which these freshmen—brand new to Berklee, just getting to know each other, only recently living on their own—share their personal experiences and challenges. The respect and kindness that they show their classmates helps us all to create a safe space for learning and vulnerability for every student.

A Step beyond the Stats: The Miraculous Impact of Music on the Mind, Body and Brain

We’ve all seen the extraordinary figures released earlier this year by the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis: The arts and cultural sector contributed over $760 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015. Staggering statistics, to be sure; indisputable in their depth and breadth. But within and behind these statistics lie stories—stories about human capital and the limitless power of the arts to transform, to teach, and to trigger the brain to soar and to accelerate well beyond its own limits. What falls beyond these extraordinary figures—and here, I refer to music and music education in particular—is a piece of knowledge that is at once as simple as it is profound: Music matters.

Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018: An In-Depth Look at Perceptions and Attitudes About the Arts in America

In a society struggling to find equity and social justice, Americans believe the arts improve the quality of our communities. How do we know? We asked. Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018 is the second in a series of national public opinion surveys conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Americans for the Arts. One of the largest ever conducted, it gauges the public perspective on (1) personal engagement in the arts as audience and creator, (2) support for arts education and government arts funding, (3) opinions on the personal and well-being benefits that come from engaging in the arts, and (4) how those personal benefits extend to the community. Here are some findings of the survey. 

Americans Speak Out About the Arts in New Public Opinion Poll

Americans Believe the Arts Strengthen Communities Socially, Educationally, Economically

Thursday, September 27, 2018

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Americans for the Arts today released Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018, one of the largest national public opinion surveys of American perceptions and attitudes towards the arts and arts funding. The new research demonstrates that Americans continue to be highly engaged in the arts and believe more strongly than ever that the arts promote personal well-being, help us understand other cultures, are essential to a well-rounded education, and that government has an important role in funding the arts.

Two Sides, One Coin

As an arts educator, it’s crucial to your students that you’re able to bring your artist self into the room as a living example of how they too can be artists. However, it can be difficult for individuals like myself who work as arts teachers and administrators. So how do you balance the two?  For me, the solution has been to let the two be one. It took me a while to do this intentionally, but I let my creativity influence my approach to administrative solutions and let my task-oriented thinking manage the flow of my class. The key is remaining aware and perceptive of when it’s time to let things be, and when it’s time to stay organized—or as I frequently say, “create structure for the chaos to happen in.”

Americans for the Arts Reports Record Number of Celebrations Held During National Arts in Education Week September 9-15

Monday, September 24, 2018

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Americans for the Arts reported that more than 800 celebrations were held in communities across the nation for the 8th annual National Arts in Education Week, September 9-15 – a significant uptick compared with 428 in 2017. The celebrations ranged from block parties to city hall meetings to online visibility campaigns. 

Beyond Autism Awareness Month, from a Teen’s Perspective

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta is working on developing inclusive programs that will support visitors on the autism spectrum all year long. In 2016, the museum began partnering with Tapestry Public Charter School to pilot inclusive programming for students on the autism spectrum. Through this program, the museum works closely with educators at Tapestry to create curriculum-based, student-relevant guided tours and interactive workshops. They receive invaluable feedback from both teachers and students. One such student is Glen Sheppard, a ninth-grader at Tapestry who has participated in the program for the past two years. Glen wrote about his experiences at the High, and we’re thrilled to share his thoughts with you on ARTSblog.

Fostering Dialogue and Taking Action: Creatively Breaking Down Barriers is an Ensemble Effort

In an age of unpaid internships, I have done my fair share of work for the “professional experience” it might bring. (I’ve also been asked to do arts-related events for free or at a very low cost—presumably because I am a young person and might want the “exposure.”) I have experienced some of these systemic barriers on my professional journey. It is my hope that arts education can begin to pull away from that linear mode of thinking and gravitate more toward the concept highlighted in our research—a cyclical leadership—that can foster authentic, diverse, and collaborative work environments. This year, as a candidate for the Arts in Education Ed.M Program at Harvard University, I seek to continue this discussion with my academic cohort of teaching artists, arts managers, curators, and nonprofit leaders. We each have a role to play in breaking down the barriers for emerging leaders. 

Advancing Diversity by Empowering the Arts in Our Nation’s Education Decision-making

As young people around the country return to school, educators take the helm of their classrooms, and educational leaders build learning communities that inspire creative and innovative teaching and learning, the arts education community along with public and private sector leaders join together once again to celebrate National Arts in Education Week. As this school year begins, local school districts and state education leaders have more resources and policies under their supervision than ever before. Our job is to encourage, enable, and empower advocates to get to the negotiating table to strengthen arts education! They need to hear from us. Starting this week, we should get arts education leaders at every table for every decision impacting education and certainly arts education from here on out! 

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