Building Audiences for the Arts: Research from The Wallace Foundation
The Wallace Foundation supports audience-building efforts by arts organizations and commissions research to understand what works, what doesn’t, and why.
Among Wallace’s initiatives is its six-year, $52 million Building Audiences for Sustainability program, which is developing insights into how arts groups in multiple genres can achieve and sustain audience gains. Learn more about Wallace’s Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative.
Here’s a look at studies, articles, webinars, and more resources from The Wallace Foundation—with information that any orchestra can use to build audiences.
Webinar: Building Audiences: Unpacking the Many Resources from The Wallace Foundation, a live webinar highlighting the many resources offered by The Wallace Foundation. Watch the webinar here.
Learn how to best use resources from The Wallace Foundation's Building Audiences for Sustainability program, which is developing insights into how arts groups in multiple genres can achieve and sustain audience gains.
This webinar is aimed at orienting performing arts professionals to the many studies, articles, webinars, and other resources from The Wallace Foundation. With information that can be accessed for free, participants in the webinar will learn which resources may be best suited for discussion in their own organizations and will gain insight into the important work that other organizations have done, and the lessons they've learned on building audiences
Featured speakers in this webinar include:
- Krista Bradley, Director of Programs and Resources, Association of Performing Arts Professionals
- John-Morgan Bush, Director of Learning and Leadership Programs, League of American Orchestras
- Nichole L. Knight, Director of Operations, Chamber Music America
- Bob Sandla, Symphony Magazine, Editor in Chief, League of American Orchestras
- Johanna Tschebull, Communications Specialist, Dance USA
World Music/CRASHarts Tests New Format and Name To Draw New Audiences
How does an arts presenter increase name recognition and attract younger audiences? An article and video from The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative show how the Boston-based World Music/CRASHarts built loyalty and name recognition among younger audiences by creating a new annual festival, rebranding, and using creative marketing techniques to encourage repeat attendance during its regular season.
Think Opera’s Not for You? Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Says Think Again
How can performing arts groups use market research to develop programs that appeal to new audiences? A just-released study and video from The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability initiative show how the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis used market research to understand and reach new audiences—with lessons that orchestras can apply. The report and video track how the opera company deployed intel from market research to close the perception gap to reach younger, more diverse audiences and to refine activities designed to build audiences for the long term.
Read The Audience Journey—three new blog posts incorporating data from
The Wallace Foundation
Three new blog posts by noted arts writer Judith H. Dobrzynski outline The Audience Journey, a conceptualization of the decision-making process of potential audience members. The posts, written for American for the Arts' Optimizing Your Arts Marketing Practice blog salon, incorporate data from The Wallace Foundation's Building Audiences for Sustainability program. The posts suggest ways organizations might engage people who are less inclined to attend or visit; cover how to combat the practical barriers of attending; and discuss how to create a rewarding experience that makes people want to return.
Find the first blog post here. (Two additional links at bottom of the blog post)
Photo courtesy of The Wallace Foundation
Celebrating community at the Fleisher Arts Memorial
Find great ideas applicable to orchestras in this blog post by market-research expert Bob Harlow about how the Fleisher Art Memorial connected with newly-arrived young immigrants in its South Philadelphia neighborhood.
Understanding Audiences, Building Connections: How the Seattle Symphony Uses Market Research
Downtown Seattle is changing rapidly, with new residents, new buildings, and new affluence. To connect with the newcomers, the Seattle Symphony launched a wide-ranging audience-research program, with support from the Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative. An in-depth article in the new issue of Symphony magazine and a documentary video reveal how the Seattle Symphony experimented with innovative concert formats, focus groups, and audience surveys to yield fresh insights and rising ticket sales.
Check out the Symphony article, our new webinar, and the video via the links below. Then, use the Discussion Guide from the League to spark your thinking about market research and adaptation—and to spur group conversations about what might work at your own orchestra.
How can orchestras attract—and keep—millennial audiences? Experimentation abounds.
Arts organizations could help attract millennials by clarifying pricing and better explaining the value of the arts, suggests this Wallace-commissioned synthesis of market research.
Market research expert Bob Harlow shows how arts organizations can use qualitative and quantitative research to attract and retain new audiences.
Additional Wallace Case Studies
These resources are made possible by The Wallace Foundation. The League is pleased to be working in partnership with the Foundation to help share ideas and practical solutions to problems in building audiences for the arts.