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.

Building Your Audience: Where Data Fits in the Process, Part II

by Brad Pilcher

In Part I of this piece, I encouraged you to think of data and its relationship to audience building more in terms of a process. Rather than focus on the data, in all of its intimidating glory, focus on your circumstances, where you are in the process of connecting with the audience ...

Finding New Fish for Your Organization: They’re swimming closer to you than you think.

By Keri Mesropov, TRG Arts

ALERT: Arts administrators in your area have been overtaken by a new obsession. Believed to be a relative of the mania induced by Pokémon Go, symptoms include an insatiable desire to find brandnew patrons for your organization. 

If you’re not obsessed with new audiences, you are really behind the trend...

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.” 

Art of Change: Three Lessons Emerge from the Fleisher’s Audience Building Work

Magda Martinez sat down with The Art of Change for an interview about audience building, portions of which are excerpted here.


Art of Change (AoC): What are the most important things you and your colleagues learned in your audience building work?


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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