We are beginning the New Year. Intentions and resolutions are on everyone’s lips. It’s all part of the January ritual, defining anew what you want and how you’re going to be a “better person” this year. (Why do you need to be better, by the way?)
But what no one is talking about is that if you’re making a resolution or an intention and not putting energy behind getting yourself into an optimal place to realize your vision, you’re doing it wrong. Read More
There are dozens of business books, seminars, videos, podcasts, articles, blogs and advice columns that tell you that successful people have routines they do everyday that set them up for that success. What are the benefits of a routine that includes thoughts, feelings and actions? Read More
Long before you were on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn, you were the sole subscriber to a continual, perpetual one-person, private feed: your own inner narrative.
This means that for as long as you have been conscious, you have been digesting everything that is happening in your life, and interacting with yourself about it, inside your head. Read More
...so pay attention to how you're telling it.
Reality check: every visible bit and byte out in the digital world with your name on it, affects, and over time, shapes how people perceive you. So in your approach to your own outputs, are you your best friend, a frenemy or completely oblivious? Read More
Our ability to envision new possibilities has created incredible sights, technologies and ways of interacting. And yet vision is rarely practiced regularly. Here are four reasons why. Read More
Loyal patrons are the foundation of any successful brand. But what’s the secret sauce? What instills loyalty, anyhow?
In short: personal experiences.
In fact, usually it’s repeated, positive personal experiences. Read More
The arts are a very natural platform for creating with others. After all, what is a live performance but a natural coming-together of two partners, the performers and the audience? Inherently, these parties exchange energy, each bringing something valuable: the performers, their craft and their expression, and the audience, their receptivity, their openness to the experience that is unfolding. Read More
Play is integral to my life and work.
Why? First, it’s fun. Second, it works. Play puts me in a receptive place where it’s easier to see new perspectives and solutions. Read More
“…the play’s the thing / wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.”
This phrase is on my mind, although not at all for Hamlet’s reasons. Far from an intention to incite guilt, I’ve been applying an alternate, much more satisfying meaning of Shakespeare’s couplet.
More on that in a moment.
Let’s start with the concept of the play, or just play in general. Read More
…with our patrons.
Oftentimes, we are so wrapped up in our work that we forget that we are in an evolving, dynamic long-term relationship. With our audiences. Read More
A compelling artistic vision and a high-quality artistic product are absolutely fundamental to every successful artistic venture. If something incredible, transformative or exciting isn’t at the basis of what you do, you can forget about your ability to perform the other business functions effectively. (My mentor Michael Kaiser is 100% right about this). And most of what’s on stage – maybe not the details, but many of the broad strokes, such as the who, where, and what of the season – is an administrative exercise.
Where, then, does the audience fit in? Read More
Imagination is our muse. Creativity is our medium.
Inspiration, vision, creation are all part of the creative process. And the lifeblood of transformative work. Read More
Have you noticed that in a room of artists, arts managers, and board members, simply mentioning strategy can bring an instant sense of relief? The word itself can feel like a salve.
Why is that? Read More
I recently began to notice that working backwards is a vital practice in my career as an arts manager and consultant. Early on, I learned never to enter a classroom without identifying a desired objective, having a plan for achieving that objective, and having measures at hand to prove that the objective was indeed achieved. Thus, at the end of a lesson, it was clear whether or not the objective had been achieved. Read More
Our work is about art – the essence of human expression, transmitted through a particular medium and shared with others. In my opinion, there could not be a more pure, transcendent, incredible field of work.
There are people who experience what we do one time and who instantly become lifelong champions of our work. But on the whole, loyalty is not linear. Read More
If you work in the arts, you will be faced with this question at some point in time.
“After all, if [insert current catastrophe on people’s minds and lips] is happening, shouldn’t we devote our time and resources to solving that? Wouldn’t that make more of a difference?” Read More
If you aren’t familiar with J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic, click here to catch up to speed.
Fast forwarding, according to Wikipedia, the translation of the inscription on the magic “one ring” created to dominate the land and the people is:
One ring to rule them all,
one ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
Darkness aside, this is not how audience development works. There is no “one ring” in our work. Read More
Today, performing artists and managers hear constantly about the importance of diversifying and developing new audiences for their work. In my opinion, this perspective comes from an attitude of lack, that there are not or could not possibly be enough people interested in what we do in order for us to keep moving ahead, to persevere in the long run. Read More
In the arts, there are two key phenomena: the creation and the experiencing of the art.
Artists are typically focused mainly on the creation of the art, and (usually) less so on the experiencing of the art. Their primary work is to transmute the pure creative potential of their vision into something more concrete, into a more tangible form. And often, as in the visual and performing arts, that form is intended to be shared, to be experienced by others. Read More
From my perspective, all of us in arts and culture – from artistic, marketing, board, volunteers, staff – are in the business of audience development.
Quality, exceptional art is the beginning, but it is most certainly not the end, unless we choose it to be. Is great art truly great if it is never experienced by another human being? Perhaps. But I find that the more compelling questions are: are we really taking responsibility for the way we approach reaching current and potential audiences? Do our expectations of our approach and efforts really align with the ways we expect our audiences (or ticket buyers/donors/board members/community) to respond? Is our approach thinking more of ourselves or of them? Read More