Your Audience is a Precious Survey Data Resource – Treat Them That Way

By John Turner, President, Turner Research Network

As arts and culture organizations go forward with a data-driven approach to building audiences, one element of this is to generate information from your audience through surveys. We want to know who the audience members are and what they think about the performances or the exhibitions or the venues. We want to know about their experience with us.

Here are some tips about managing that process.

Perfect Strangers

An Audience Building Roundtable Blog by Greg Burbidge

Kari Mesropov reminded us in the July blog post that TRG Arts’ data shows “50% of audiences are brand new. That’s right: half of your customer base is new.”  As organizations struggle to build audiences, this is no time to stay at home and wait for Balki Bartokomous’ to show up on our doorstep. We need to find innovative ways to find and invite interested non-attendees, Perfect Strangers, through our doors.

What is wrong with these people? Uh-oh….

By Ellen Walker, Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB)

Observing participants in a focus group dispassionately dissect your life’s work is a little like strangers disparaging your children – it’s difficult not to feel reactive. In my first such experience, the print collateral that my team had worked so hard on was described by focus group members as “boring,” “stuffy,” “elitist,” and “completely uninteresting.” My first thought: “what is wrong with these people?!”  My second thought: “…uh-oh.”

Darwin on the Arts: Adaptation is Key to Audience Growth

Guest Blogger: Christopher R. Taylor, President, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia

Arts organizations need audiences. They bring earned and contributed revenue to your organization, and more importantly, they are an indicator of your success in fulfilling your mission. Whether you’re training young artists, presenting opera, displaying new paintings, or teaching art to children, your mission likely includes some version of “make arts accessible.” 

What’s the Missing Piece in Audience Building?

This post is excerpted from the plenary session of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s November 2, 2015 workshop, Art of Change: Building Your Organization for Audiences. This is from an exchange among Dr. Bob Harlow, the moderator and lead researcher for the Wallace Foundation’s audience building initiative and three panelists, all of whom were participants in the Wallace initiative:  Ellen Walker, Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Ballet; Magda Martinez, Director of Programs for the Fleisher Art Memorial; and Christopher Taylor, President of The Clay Studio.

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