Presenting Data in New Ways ... Mapping the Web Experience ... And other Audience Building Tales

By Kristie Swenk Benson, Director of Communications, High Museum of Art

On July 16, I landed in Washington, D.C. for my very first Nonprofit Marketing Conference. Being new to the nonprofit industry, I thought this conference would be a great entry point for me as the director of communications for the High Museum of Art.

Adjusting Course: Reframing for Better Results

By Liz Hartnett Santamaria, Aurora Theatre

For 22 seasons, Aurora Theatre has worked to be the theatre that reflects our community. We have been committed to diversity through our casting, storytelling, programming, and hiring. As much as our audience diversity has evolved in those years through specific, conscious choices, we still have work to do when it comes to our audiences.

Pleased to Meet You, I’m Your Neighbor

By Michael Van Osch, Georgia Ensemble Theatre

Although Georgia Ensemble Theatre (GET) is entering its 25th Anniversary Season in Roswell, we still run into people who have lived here for many years and have never heard of us. We have two major challenges that contribute to this: our home in The Roswell Cultural Arts Center is tucked away in the trees and is not on a main thoroughfare, and because we are in the Roswell Historic District, we are governed by a strict sign ordinance.

Customer File Analysis Leads to New Patron Campaign

By Tammy Moore, Marketing Manager, Spivey Hall at Clayton State University

Spivey Hall, located on the campus of Clayton State University, is a 400-seat, acoustically-superior performing arts venue that has presented the best in jazz and classical music to the metro Atlanta area since 1991. Its celebrated concert series receives regular national and international attention as one of America’s finest, and the Hall’s acoustics and design are routinely lauded by patrons, pundits and performers...

The “Stop Doing” Concept: Saying NO to Some Things so You Can Say YES to Other Things

By Nena Gilreath, Executive Artistic Director, Ballethnic Dance Company

For more than 27 years, Ballethnic Dance Company has celebrated multicultural diversity in dance, with a uniquely Atlanta style.  The Company, and its vibrant Ballethnic Dance Academy, has touched thousands of children, youth and adults throughout its history.  However, as the organization embraces its mission and looks ahead to its next phase, it is grappling with financial challenges.  These challenges resulted - in part - from saying “yes” to too many programming requests without stopping to evaluate the implications of each “yes” answer.

Everything is Bigger and Better at NAMPC, Including the Learning About Consumer Behavior

By Darlene Hamilton, Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications, Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University

Thanks to the scholarship award from the Georgia Repertory Theatre and The Arthur Blank Family Foundation, I was fortunate enough to represent the Rialto Center for the Arts at the 2016 National Arts Marketing Conference (NAMPC) in Austin, Texas, in November 2016. Having visited Dallas a couple of times, I knew first-hand that “everything is bigger and better” in Texas—the food, the public transportation, the clothing (with generous offerings above size 10!) and of course, the art and culture! I expected Austin, the home of “Austin City Limits”, would be no different.

Investing in Capturing Audience Data Pays Off – And Leads to Important Insights

By Shelli Siebert, Executive Director, Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts

It has been an exciting year for Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts! Since we received an audience building grant from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in October 2016, our audience has grown by leaps and bounds. As a smaller arts organization, receiving this grant was the catalyst for us to upgrade our communications, helping us to grow our audience.

Attracting Audiences in Proximity: The Signs Were All There – Except on our Building!

By Danielle P. Varner, Springer Opera House

Organizations near the Springer Opera House were investing in high-tech marketing strategies by the minute. However, the historic Springer Opera House building was becoming archaic. We had beautiful, ornate rooms and a breathtaking stage. What we didn’t have was a way to let people walking and driving by know that. Our downtown district is bursting with more tourists, residents, and students every day. We had to find a way to draw them in as they were passing by.

Put These 3 Tactics in your Social Media Toolbox to Drive Audience Engagement

By Scott Hazleton and Rebecca Danis, Atlanta Opera

One of the best things I’ve learned from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s Audience Building Roundtable is to stop trying to do everything. Have I been personally successful at implementing this lesson? Nope. Not even close. But, we have applied it to our social media strategy at The Atlanta Opera and seen wonderful results.

The ACP Journey of Audience Building: From Data Desert to Data-Informed

By Amy Miller, Executive Director, Atlanta Celebrates Photography

During 2016, the Audience Building Roundtable offered member organizations a four-part workshop series about audience building practices. TRG Arts, a national consulting firm focused on the arts and culture sector, led the workshop series.

After the first workshop, we had a realization. We are a visual arts organization that produces mostly free and open events at various partner venues (including outdoors) so data collection through ticketing is not something we have ever done. Most of what the workshop presenters spoke to the Audience Building Roundtable about would not apply to us.

Short and Sweet: Adapting to Attention Spans of Online Audiences

7 Stages began releasing production trailers during the 2015-2016 season. The first trailer we produced was for Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists. It was a production that already had a following due to the playwright’s local and national name recognition, as well as the current staging at Cincinnati Playhouse gaining rave reviews.

What Need Does our Audience “Hire” us to Fill?

A Conversation with Marguerite Hannah, Associate Producer, Horizon Theatre Company

Marguerite Hannah attended the November 2016 National Arts Marketing Project Conference with a scholarship provided by the Audience Building Roundtable initiative of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Marguerite shares her insights from the conference in this blog.

My biggest takeaways from the National Arts Marketing Project Conference are (1) the importance of living your brand, and (2) being empathetic to the needs of our audience.

Make New Friends: Arts Marketing Innovations

By Caitlin Thomas White, Marketing Director, Synchronicity Theatre 

Make new friends, but keep the old.

To me, this sentiment from a familiar children's folk song succinctly captures the central goal of audience building.  It certainly speaks to Synchronicity Theatre's current focus, as we work to attract new audiences to our three-year-old performance space and build innovative programs without losing sight of our core mission and audience.  

Brand vs Vision: Embracing Your Brand

By Tricia Ekholm, Chief Marketing Officer, Atlanta Ballet

In August 2016, Gennadi Nedvigin joined the Atlanta Ballet as the third artistic director in its 89 year history. His arrival provided the marketing team with both a challenge and an opportunity. 

The challenge: shifting our brand to reflect a new artistic vision and aesthetic. 

The opportunity: put renewed energy behind our brand.

Experiencing the National Arts Marketing Project Conference

By John Turner, Board Member, DeKalb Symphony Orchestra

The DeKalb Symphony Orchestra received a “scholarship” for one person to attend the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in November 2016; the conference scholarships were a joint project of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and the Georgia Repertory Theatre through the Foundation’s Audience Building Roundtable initiative.

As a board member of the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra, I utilized the scholarship to attend the conference. At the time, I was relatively new to the Board of DeKalb Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and new to the Atlanta arts community.

The Michael O’Neal Singers: Engaging our Audience – Part 2


 In Part 1 of our blog post, we gave you the beginning story on the Michael O’Neal Singers’ investment in ways to engage new and current audience members.

In October 2016, we received a grant from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s Audience Building Roundtable project for audience building. We used this funding to create an app to help us attract new audiences. According to Pew Research, 77% of U.S. adults now own a smartphone.

How Did We Make Audience Engagement Our Key Strategy?

By Cammie Stephens, The Michael O’Neal Singers

Thanks to The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, audience engagement has become the key strategy around which our organization focuses its programming. As Sara Leonard wrote after the Foundation’s initial Art of Change Audience Building Workshop in November 2015: “How do we invite audiences in and develop relationships with them that entice them to stay with us and become our partners? The answer lies in a process of relationship building in which engaging and serving the audience is at the organization’s core.”

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