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Converting Family Into Fans: How the Comtemporary Jewish Museum Expanded Its Reach

May 31, 2016

The last in a series of 10 case studies explores how The Contemporary Jewish Museum in SanFrancisco worked to attract families of all backgrounds and build the next generation of museum supporters. It describes how the museum convened focus groups to better understand the needs of families with young children, designed programs and exhibitions to meet those needs, offered family discounts and entered into community partnerships to build awareness of the museum's offerings.Although The Contemporary Jewish Museum sought to attract families, it did not want to become a children's museum. It therefore took extra efforts to balance the needs of children and adults. It worked to manage parents' expectations, created spaces for children to work on activities and trained its staff to draw families to areas most appropriate for children.These efforts resulted in a nearly nine-fold increase in family visitors over seven years, the report finds. Authors suggest that the museum's successes relied in part on a nuanced understanding of its target audiences, mutually beneficial partnerships with schools and libraries and careful evaluation and refinement of engagement strategies.

Opening New Doors: Hands-On Participation Brings A New Audience to the Clay Studio

August 11, 2015

This case study examines how The Clay Studio, a ceramic-arts studio, gallery and shop in Philadelphia, attracted younger audiences to its workshops and exhibits. In 2007, the studio became concerned that its audience was getting older and few newcomers were signing up for classes or making purchases. The studio then sought to engage younger professionals ages 25 to 45. Audience research helped identify elements of activities that could attract younger professionals, including flexible schedules, shorter courses and the ability to socialize. The studio therefore added new experiences such as "Date Night," a Friday evening event where novices could experiment with clay in an informal environment. It also redesigned its website and print materials to emphasize the visitor experience rather than the skills participants might learn.Five years later, the number of students taking classes tripled and revenue from the school more than doubled. Monthly workshops regularly sell out, and many newcomers have gone on to take longer classes.But challenges remain. The organization must now balance the needs and desires of long-time students and collectors, who want to see the more serious side of Clay, with those of the newcomers, many of whom prefer a more social, informal experience.This publication is part of a set of case studies and reports looking at the efforts of arts organizations that received Wallace Excellence Awards to reach new audiences and deepen relationships with current ones. In three accompanying videos, Clay Studio president Chris Taylor and Magda Martinez, the program director of Fleisher Art Memorial, another Philadelphia arts organization that received a Wallace Excellence Award, discuss their audience-building efforts.

The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences

October 31, 2014

Based on case studies of 10 arts organizations that undertook audience-building projects as part of The Wallace Foundation's Wallace Excellence Award initiative, this guide pinpoints nine successful practices projects had in common, including:Identifying a target group that made sense for the organization;Using market research to understand the audience's views;Making sure the organization's leaders and staff members understood and embraced the strategy and their roles in it; andDetermining what barriers had to be removed for new members to become engaged.Not every institution that was studied adopted each practice but, generally speaking, the more practices used, the greater the success achieved. "Taken together, these practices promoted audience engagement in two ways," the report says. "First, they created a shared sense of purpose that kept an audience-engagement program front and center for leaders and staff, thus enabling the initiative to permeate a wide range of an organization's activities. Second, the practices helped an arts institution make meaningful connections with its target audience."Filled with examples of successes and challenges from the work of museums, opera companies, a theater and other institutions, the report can serve as a guide to audience building for all arts groups.This publication is part of a set of case studies and reports looking at the efforts of arts organizations who received Wallace Excellence Awards in order to reach new audiences and deepen relationships with existing ones.

Attracting an Elusive Audience: How the San Francisco Girls Chorus Is Breaking Down Stereotypes and Generating Interest Among Classical Music Patrons

November 30, 2011

Describes the chorus' efforts to raise its profile using findings from focus groups, including rebranding and a targeted marketing campaign; outcomes, including impact on organizational decision making; contributing factors; and remaining challenges.

Building Deeper Relationships: How Steppenwolf Theatre Company Is Turning Single-Ticket Buyers Into Repeat Visitors

November 30, 2011

Describes the company's strategies to engage all audience members, including through post-show discussions, special events, diverse online content, and equal treatment of subscribers and non-subscribers; outcomes; and contributing factors.

Cultivating the Next Generation of Art Lovers: How Boston Lyric Opera Sought to Create Greater Opportunities for Families to Attend Opera

November 30, 2011

Examines the evolution, outcomes, and factors shaping BLO's efforts to expand its audience through high-quality productions of abridged operas for families, supplemented by free previews and workshops at community venues. Outlines lessons learned.

More Than Just a Party: How the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Boosted Participation by Young Adults

November 30, 2011

Describes an after-hours program designed to boost attendance among young adults and factors contributing to its success, including the elimination of perceptual barriers, encouragement of informal interaction, and exploration of galleries.