Kellyn Lopes

Kellyn Lopes

There have been a slew of discussions lately centered around the potential in combining art and technology, two sectors that operate differently but ultimately share many similarities. A recent article in the New York Times by Alice Gregory questioned if in the physical world, the arts and tech are clashing cultures, or “parallel universes that rarely intersect.” Stephen Tanenbaum, on the other hand, noted that “arts and tech are not in competition with each other,” but are at a juncture that offers exciting opportunities for collaboration and growth, pointing to San Francisco in particular.

Perhaps instead of asking: “Are the arts and tech in competition?” we ask: “How can the arts and tech partner to foster the next wave of culture and technology?” Read the rest of this entry »

Branding and Marketing a Cultural District

Posted by Jessica Ferey On February - 3 - 2015
Jessica Ferey

Jessica Ferey

My fascination with cultural districts first started while living in Richmond, Virginia when the city announced the creation of an Arts District within the Broad Street Corridor. As an avid “culture vulture,” I had strolled through many First Fridays Arts Walks and attended a variety of performances at the newly built CenterStage performing arts center. I was thrilled to know the city recognized the potential impact culture could have on this area. Even after leaving Richmond for Washington, D.C. to attend graduate school, I continued to stay updated on the project and would bring it up in conversation whenever I returned to visit. Read the rest of this entry »


Elias Gross

Submitted before Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC) on Nov. 6, 2014:

As an Atlanta (well, just north of Atlanta) native, I’m beyond thrilled that the National Arts Marketing Conference let out a hearty “it’s fall, y’all!” and headed south for its 2014 conference.

From receiving the first conference materials to downloading the Guidebook app, I’ve been looking forward to absorbing the marketing expertise gathered together for NAMPC. My position with the Lexington Philharmonic requires me to manage all of our marketing, PR, design, and the infamous field of “other duties as assigned.” Now in my third season with LexPhil, I am wearing and delegating the wear of all these hats better than ever, but I have gaps in my knowledge that need to be filled. Read the rest of this entry »

Using Data to Connect Audiences to the Performing Arts: NAMPC 2014

Posted by Ariel Fielding On November - 24 - 2014
Ariel Fielding

Ariel Fielding

How does a marketing director with an audience-centered approach reconcile the growing primacy of data and digital marketing? Would it be possible for such a person — me — to collect, analyze, and mobilize data without reducing patrons to strings of zeros and ones? Would the things I love about my work — using images, language, and design to entice people to join the audience, and to give them a larger context for understanding the performing arts — would these things become less important in the headlong rush towards data? These are a few of the questions I brought to NAMPC2014, and the answers I found were more compelling, nuanced, and heartening than I expected. Read the rest of this entry »

Re-Imagining Beauty, Embracing Complexity

Posted by Andrew Horwitz On November - 20 - 2014
Andy Horwitz

Andy Horwitz

The question of aesthetics in socially engaged art is as fraught and enduring as our varied understandings of what constitutes critical discourse.

In a society so fully enveloped by the market-driven logic of Late Capitalism it is nearly impossible to relate to any work of art in a non-transactional context. We are told we are consumers purchasing experiences at a premium. “Cultural Authorities” tell us we are incapable of assessing the value of “art product” ourselves and so are provided with “reviews” that are little more than consumer advocacy, in newspapers such as the New York Times that are little more than lifestyle guides for the privileged. Read the rest of this entry »

Not Just Pretty: Aesthetics in Social Impact Design

Posted by Annie Wu On November - 18 - 2014
Annie Wu (2)

Annie Wu

Though the practice of design encompasses both form and function, conversation about it often circles around aesthetics—the graphics of the next iOS operating system, for instance, or the sleek lines of the newest Tesla model. In these instances, we assume that the objects are going to work; no one doubts whether or not the iPhone can accommodate newer iOS versions or whether the vehicle can actually carry people. When we discuss design in the social sector, however, this premise is problematic since whether or not a design solution meets a user’s needs can’t be taken for granted.

What role, then, do aesthetics play in social impact design? Read the rest of this entry »

A Conversation Starter: Arts Marketing and Education at NAMPC

Posted by Janet Starke On November - 14 - 2014
Janet Starke

Janet Starke

An Arts Educator’s Report from NAMPC 2014

I had the privilege and honor to attend this past weekend’s NAMP (National Arts Marketing Project) Conference in Atlanta. I co-presented a session with AFTA’s Arts Education Program Coordinator, Jeff Poulin. This stemmed from a conversation we first began last winter, when we discussed the concept of the “shared space between arts marketing and education.” Mind you, even as we might picture the “center” of the highly-valued Venn Diagram, there are varied tracks within that center:

1) Marketing arts education for the advancement of the programs

2) Using education as a tool for marketing the organization

3) Using education as a vehicle for increased audience development and ticketing sales Read the rest of this entry »

What Arts Rapid City learned at NAMP-Camp

Posted by Sara Olivier On November - 14 - 2014
Sara Olivier

Sara Olivier

We’re sitting in a local diner in Atlanta, trying to summarize what we gleaned from the National Arts Marketing Conference in a short blog post. Like it’s possible. Actually, we can’t seem to get away from #nampc this year in Atlanta. Seriously. We cannot leave. During Sha Hwang’s brilliant keynote, in which he rhapsodized about the brave pilots who were the first to “fly west with the night,” United airlines texted that our westbound, evening flight home was canceled. Oh the irony.

Our twitter feed is full of Rapid City, South Dakotans documenting the ensuing polar vortex. The public library’s handyman, Wade, is plowing the streets around the building. Eager librarians invite you to come in and warm up (this is the truth…no slant. Wade is a real person, and librarians in South Dakota tweet AND have 3D printers. Deal with it). Read the rest of this entry »

A four step plan to engage younger patrons

Posted by Elaine Maslamani On October - 21 - 2014
Elaine Maslamani

Elaine Maslamani

Every organization needs a plan for their board members and major donors of the future. If engaging young professionals ages 25 to 35 is integral to your organization’s objectives, here are four tips that other young professional groups for arts organizations that I have worked with have found helpful.

  1. Project a inviting welcome

From the outside looking in, arts organizations can sometimes appear to have a “clique-y”-culture that would ignore new members unless they have the proper pedigree. Often, the ideal candidates for young professional art groups are shy to come forward thinking that they won’t “belong” if they can’t name the artist, converse in a detail about the composer’s work, quote Shakespeare, or be able to contribute more than $1,000. Read the rest of this entry »

The art of upgrading active patrons

Posted by Jill Robinson On October - 10 - 2014
Jill Robinson

Jill Robinson

I want to point your attention to the most important patrons in your audience. They’re not necessarily the ones who have given or attended the most over their lifetime. They’re your “right now” patrons—the audiences that are participating and engaging with you for your most current event and could do any number of things in the future.

These currently active patrons allow your organization to operate right now. They’re the ones that your mission serves today.

But don’t assume that they’ll be there tomorrow. Research indicates that first-time attendees—a large portion of many organizations’ patrons—tend to come once and then never return. Read the rest of this entry »

Subscriptions Are Not (un)Dead

Posted by Al Stilo On October - 10 - 2014
Al Stilo

Al Stilo

Sometimes I feel like a Zombie because everything I read says the one thing that I believe most in — is dead. You see, I am a subscription guy, I LOVE subscriptions. But the obituary is clear, as eloquently stated in Terry Teachout’s 2013 WSJ article, Theater’s Expiring Subscription Model. (The statistics are plain to see in TCG’s 2012 Theatre Facts. Theatre subscription revenue is down by 13.7% from 2008-2012. Is trying to breathe life into subscriptions like “The Walking Dead?” Have my brains been consumed?

I don’t think so. I always have and never stopped believing in membership. Subscriptions give patrons the best value. Plus, they give organizations the ability to take artistic risks that can result in brilliance (or failure) without worrying about the commercial viability of every individual endeavor. Believing is one thing, but I have also looked for new and innovative ways to sell subscriptions. Read the rest of this entry »

All The Places You’ll Go (Once You Get Out of the Gate)

Posted by Ann-Laura Parks On October - 10 - 2014
Ann-Laura Parks

Ann-Laura Parks

Ever come back from a conference inspired, energized, and ready to unleash your brilliant ideas on your colleagues? You’re cruising along on a creative high until you hear, “That’s a good idea BUT…” followed by the reasons why it can’t be done.

When yours truly was a young worker bee, I heard some reasons that made head/desk contact a regular occurrence:

“We don’t need a blog. Nobody reads those. They are just vanity projects for people with big egos.” – executive director of a large nonprofit

“Why on earth would we ever want to post anything on YouTube?” - marketing director at a federal agency

More likely, though, you’ll hear something like, “I’d love to but we just can’t spare the money/time/staff for that.”

If you want to avoid the quick, early death of your idea, getting the go ahead from the authorizers in your organization will be your first challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Inverting the Pyramid

Posted by Gerald Yoshitomi On October - 10 - 2014
Gerald Yoshitomi

Gerald Yoshitomi

Who in the organization already knows how to increase audiences and revenues? It’s the Marketing Director and the Marketing Team. They’ve been attending Marketing Conferences, participating in online webinars, reading and commenting on blogs, etc. They are hired and paid because they are expected to know more about marketing than anyone else in the organization. They have the responsibility to hit the numbers, but lack the authority to implement the practices that would assure success. Read the rest of this entry »

First Steps: Thoughts Regarding Value-Creation in Arts Marketing

Posted by Amy Fredericks On October - 10 - 2014
Amy Fredericks

Amy Fredericks

I must be honest; the thought of having influence in marketing strategies used to make me cringe. Business as a practice, for that matter, used to leave a bitter taste in my mouth, partly because I had always associated the term with tactics that lured people into an endless cycle of commercial-driven behavior. I realize now that that view was extremely short-sighted. I reached a transitional point when I realized that my strong passion for the arts encompassed the entirety of arts experiences, not solely the ‘art-making’ and creative process. Read the rest of this entry »

The Role of Selfies in the Artistic Digital Space

Posted by Brianne Logan On October - 9 - 2014
Brianne Logan

Brianne Logan

I can’t lie to you all about this, nor can I really explain my reasons. Whenever the field gets into one of those spectacular debates about the place of selfies, or photography, or technology in artistic spaces I find myself gleefully watching it all unfold on twitter, reading the resounding “no way” opinions penned by, often British (to my delight), art historians, or the “experimentation is healthy for forward motion” responses written by the more digitally native arts marketers among us.

I find the fear of the archetypal selfie-snapping hordes of visitors—of course, besmirching the integrity of fine arts experiences with dumb poses–to be such a fascinating thing. The issue has raised real questions for the field on what it means to be present in an artistic space. Read the rest of this entry »