For many years, Wallace has supported audience-building efforts by arts organizations and commissioned research to understand what works, what doesn’t, and why. This paper summarizes key findings from that work and related studies.
Among the highlights:
- Building audiences is a top challenge for arts leaders, in part because of heightened competition for leisure time, national slippage in arts participation rates, and a decline in arts education.
- Arts organizations have implemented a variety of strategies to help address these challenges—for example, designing initiatives tailored to address particular barriers, such as inconvenient show times or the perception of the art form as elitist.
- Successful efforts to build audiences shared nine practices, from identifying potential target audiences that makes sense for the organization to ensuring the whole staff backs the audience-building effort.