Grow Your Attendance With an Audience Orientation

The good news: A greater proportion of younger Americans are attending outdoor performing arts festivals. "The crowd at the Mumford & Sons concert at The Boulevard Pool," @ 2011 The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

Some good news: More younger Americans are attending outdoor performing arts festivals. “The crowd at the Mumford & Sons concert at The Boulevard Pool,” @ 2011 The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

It feels like you could just cut and paste this story from year to year, doesn’t it? But, if you’re in our business, even if you’re not in the arts, this should concern you. If you’re here, it’s because you want to sell out your venue, and if you don’t really care about that because your nonprofit feels that worrying about selling tickets is too crass for words, then how about this notion?

If you were selling out, these numbers would be moving in a positive direction.

Here’s a suggestion: Orient your content and your organization to the audience. Yes, deliver on your mission, but do it in an audience-centric way. People get it when what you’re doing isn’t really designed for them, and so they stay away. There are lots of models in the arts world where the audience feels not only welcome, but as though the organization is doing what it’s doing FOR them. That’s the key to turning these numbers around.

Read the full New York Times article: A New Survey Finds a Drop in Arts Attendance.

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