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Kenny Blank Receives Nexus Award; Describes the Arts as First Responders for the Heart and Soul

With very special thanks to Veronica and our friends at the Atlanta Contemporary, it is a great honor to accept the Nexus Award on behalf of my colleagues at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, plus our champions for the arts at the Blank Foundation, and everyone here, who works for—or supports—an arts organization in our community.

The word “nexus” in this context has particular meaning for me, because in my experience, success has come from positioning myself at the intersection, or nexus, of many extraordinary individuals who, if I’m lucky, share some of their talent and wisdom with me. A large part of leadership derives from following others we look up to…

What is the Price of Being Stubborn?

By Joy Johnson, The Georgia Ballet

Are you responsible for the financial health of your organization?

Have you been through some hard financial years in your organization? Well, I certainly have.

When I arrived at The Georgia Ballet (GAB) in early 2013, the organization had been through an entire management change with most of the staff leaving. Why this happened is a story for another day. Suffice to say that there were many past due invoices and no documentation. At that point, money was everything — we were just trying to keep the doors open.

“Baby Come Back” to the Rialto!

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

The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University was among five arts organizations chosen to participate in the second cohort of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s Audience Building Roundtable Patron Analysis: Putting Data into Action. We were thrilled to participate in the study. Each organization provided three years of data on Single Ticket Buyers (STBs), Subscribers, Members and Donors.

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Superuser!

By Laura Flusche, PhD, Executive Director, Museum of Design Atlanta

In 2017, when the Audience Building Roundtable of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation offered member organizations an opportunity to be part of a second cohort working with TRG Arts to analyze patron data, MODA jumped at the chance. We have an expansive database — we use Blackbaud’s ALTRU — but didn’t feel that we’d developed enough effective methods for analyzing that data and using it to build audience.

Dad’s Garage Addresses a Primary Barrier to Attendance: Not Having Someone to Attend With!

By Lara Smith, Managing Director, Dad’s Garage

Our “Social Spaces” project addressed one of the primary reasons people don’t attend arts and cultural events: They don’t have someone to go with! We want our theatre to serve as a community gathering space, and we currently host birthday parties, game nights, volunteer appreciation events, fundraisers for other organizations, neighborhood meetings, and many other events. “Social Spaces” took this one step further and identified groups we could engage with our unique brand of arts programming, with fun events before and after our shows.

Audience Building Innovation on Display at the Alliance Theatre

By Gevin Reynolds, Fellow, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

 At the Audience Building Roundtable workshop on July 27, 2018, the Alliance Theatre presented the results of their Audience Building Innovation Grant, awarded by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to fund innovative audience building initiatives in their 48th, 49th, and 50thseasons. Below is a summary of their presentation.

How Theatrical Outfit Joined Forces with MARTA to Better Understand the Transportation Decisions of Atlanta Arts Patrons 

By Gevin Reynolds, Fellow, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

 At the Audience Building Roundtable workshop on June 22, 2018, Theatrical Outfit presented the results of a study that they completed thanks to a grant from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. The study was a partnership between Theatrical Outfit, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), the J. Walter Thompson agency, and six other arts organizations along the MARTA rail line.

Audience Building Practices That Work: A Recap

By Gevin Reynolds, Fellow, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

The Audience Building Roundtable (ABR) workshop on May 17, 2018 was “A Refresher on Audience Building Practices that Work” presented by TRG Arts, a national arts and culture consulting firm that has been presenting workshops to the ABR since the inaugural summit in November 2015. At the close of the workshop, 76 of the 103 attendees from ABR member organizations completed a survey with the following prompt: The workshop by TRG Arts provided me with at least one audience building idea that I can adapt for use in my organization.

Minor Website Changes Produce Big Gains 

By Rhonda Davis, Board Member, Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance (SEFAA)

The Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance (SEFAA) received a scholarship grant from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s Audience Building Roundtable to attend the National Arts Marketing Project Conference on November 11-13, 2017. 

The opening keynote was “You, Your World, Your Future.” The speakers spoke about diverse cultures and how organizations need to gain understanding of different cultures in order to effectively market to diverse audiences. The main theme—in the keynote and throughout the remainder of this conference—was diversity and inclusion. 

My first session was “A/B Testing Your Way to Success.”

How do I get the most from a Google AdWords Grant? 

By Jessica Boatright & Kathleen Covington, Alliance Theatre

 “How do I get the most from a Google AdWords Grant?” 

This is an actual question I typed into Google (where else?) a couple of years ago. At the Alliance Theatre, we had applied for and received a Google Ad Grant, which meant we had up to $10,000 per month in “credit” toward Google AdWords campaigns that was ours to use. The problem was, we were hardly using it at all.

Variable Pricing - Increase Revenue While Capturing Data

By Stacey Lucas, Children’s Museum of Atlanta

The Challenge

Children’s Museum of Atlanta, like most organizations with the word “Museum” in their moniker, has a very long history of not collecting data from guests. In general, Museums have fostered a “walk-up” culture, sometimes collecting zip codes but rarely collecting full data sets of their guests. Without accurate data, patrons become a “moment in time” as opposed to a potential return guest, member, or donor. 

Marketing at the Speed of Culture

By Cammie Stephens, Michael O’Neal Singers

I was pleased and thankful to attend the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Memphis, Tennessee in November 2017 through a generous grant from Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s Audience Building Roundtable (ABR). As Executive Director for The Michael O’Neal Singers(MOS), a 29-year-old choral music performance organization in north Atlanta, I am always seeking new strategies for attracting audiences to our programs.

Pull Audiences like the Duck March…. or “Market like a Cockroach”

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

The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University attended the 2017 National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee last November, thanks to the scholarship award we received from The Arthur Blank Family Foundation Audience Building Roundtable.

How to Market the Unknown…and other ways to “Tell our Story”

By Angela Harris, Executive Artistic Director, Dance Canvas

I attended the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in November 2017 on a scholarship provided by The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s Audience Building Roundtable initiative. I have attended the NAMP conference several times in the past, and it has always been one of my favorite opportunities to gauge arts marketing trends from across the country.

The National Arts Marketing Project Conference: What Grabbed Our Organization’s Attention (Other than the Marching Ducks)

By Hollie Rivers, Georgia Ensemble Theatre

So much grabbed my attention at the National Arts Marketing Conference in Memphis in November 2017, which I attended on a scholarship provided by The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s Audience Building Roundtable initiative.

First of all, MEMPHIS—what a city! This city was buzzing with arts and culture anywhere you looked: from the colorful mural-lined streets, marching Peabody Ducks, Beale Street blues, and barbeque EVERYWHERE.

Soul Food and Social Media Strategy

By Vanya Foote, Executive Director, Atlanta Chamber Players

In November of 2017, I attended the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Memphis, TN, thanks to a grant from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s Audience Building Roundtable. Memphis, with its history rich in music and art (and not to mention having some of the best soul food around) provided a beautiful backdrop to bring together colleagues to collaborate and discuss some of the toughest challenges that arts organizations face.

Drafting Your Fantasy Audience

By Kacie Willis, 7 Stages

In October 2017, I was sitting in a coffee shop with Sara Leonard during a consulting session that was provided through a grant from the Audience Building Roundtable of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. I was feeling pretty nervous about conceiving a marketing strategy for the production The Followers; A Retelling of the Bacchae due largely to the ambitious thematic nature of the show and perhaps my own preconceived notions about “the types of shows” that Atlanta audiences wanted to see.

Strategies that Succeed

By Sara R. Leonard, Founder and CEO, Sara Leonard Consulting

As any client of mine and any attendee of the February 2018 Audience Building Roundtable (ABR) meeting will attest, I always remind organizations I’m working with that there is no silver bullet in audience building. If there were, all of the brilliant and diligent nonprofit arts administrators I see would have found it and put it to use. There is no single strategy or tactic that will be successful for all organizations. Each has a different identity: different missions, different values, and – of course – different audiences. But it occurs to me that when we make the time to create really good audience development plans, we’re equipping ourselves about as well as we possibly can.

Aspiration over Desperation

by: Rebecca Danis, The Atlanta Opera

How is a brand significant in the lives of its users? Cynthia Round (former senior vice president of marketing for The Metropolitan Museum of Art) posited this question during her session – “Can We Make Our Cultural Institutions Irresistible?” – at the American Marketing Association Nonprofit Marketing Conference in Washington D.C. in July 2017. Thanks to a scholarship from the Audience Building Roundtable of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, I attended on behalf of The Atlanta Opera.

The National Black Arts Festival: Communicating with our Audience

By Vikki Morrow, President & CEO

In early 2016, faced with a declining audience base, the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) looked to better understand who our audiences are, why they support us and how we are serving them.

Current Situation: Our 30th Anniversary

One of our challenges is a change in programming that NBAF implemented during the last several years, moving from a festival season to year-round programming...

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