“Arts organizations are looking to connect with more audiences in more ways than they ever have before….So how do we do that?” With those words, Robert Sandla, editor in chief of the League of American Orchestras’ Symphony magazine, opened a recent webinar on resources to help arts organizations that want to tackle audience building.
Hosted by the League with panelists from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Chamber Music America and Dance U.S.A., the webinar described and explained how to use a range of articles, videos, reports and other materials that cover audience building from a number of angles. The resources, all developed by Wallace as part of its work over the years in the arts and offered free of charge, include articles from Wallace’s most recent undertaking, the Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative. These stories, provided in written and video format, examine the particular audience-building questions and efforts to answer them from initiative participants including Ballet Austin, Seattle Symphony and World Music/CRASHarts. The webinar presenters also noted key points from earlier reports, The Road to Results and Taking Out the Guesswork, which highlight strategies for reaching new audiences and deepening relationships with current ones.
There’s one particularly welcome lesson for arts organizations of any size or discipline from this body of work: Taking action based on accurate data is imperative, but collecting the needed data doesn’t have to cost a fortune.