A House of Creativity

Posted by Americans for the Arts, Nov 04, 2007 1 comment

Over lunch today, Elena Park, from the Metropolitan Opera, gave a richly textured case study of how an organization, steeped in tradition with a deeply loyal constituency, innovated over a 2 year period without sacrificing its values or standards. The Metropolitan Opera is not your average venue it is one of the largest opera companies in the world, yet it has been artistically and socially isolated. Since 2001, the Met experienced an audience decline from 90.8% box office sales to 76.8% box office sales in 2005. Through a major re-visioning of its visual image and its institutional culture, the Met turned things around and operated at 84% capacity last season and this year looks even better. How did they do it? What can be learned from their story?

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Worth Our Time? J. Walker Smith @ NAMP

Posted by Americans for the Arts, Nov 03, 2007 0 comments

In his keynote kickoff of the NAMP conference, J. Walker Smith (a.k.a. Research Rockstar to Julie Peeler) explained that time is the new currency in a time-starved world. He studies lifestyle trends and ultimately seeks to understand the ways in which people understand the 'good life' what people want to get out of their lives. To marketing directors and brand developers, this information is the Holy Grail. But it keeps shifting and, in fact, Walker proposes that the extent and range of this change in consumer behavior has not been seen since World War II.

I liked 90% of what he said but the missing 10% gives me pause and I want to stir the pot a piece.

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What Makes a Viable Non-Profit Website?

Posted by Americans for the Arts, Nov 03, 2007 0 comments

Jay Wilkinson of Firespring has developed a list of criteria to assess whether your non-profit website is strong or not. By the way, most non-profits score between 60-65 on Firespring's website scorecard. He cautions that many non-profits fall victim to the common mistakes of web design. In organizations with small staffs and small budgets, they typically develop websites in house or by volunteers; by necessity, they have to do it cheap. But when organizations enable their website to animate their mission, they approach this tool as an investment in their communications and in program dissemination. Jay stressed understanding the end user of your website, which he referred to as: information seekers, volunteers, employers, job seekers, donors/contributors, public agencies, peer non-profits, etc.

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Public Art and Value Added Sponsorship

Posted by Americans for the Arts, Nov 03, 2007 0 comments

Recently, United Technologies Corporation (UTC) celebrated 25 years of sponsorship of the arts and they decided to celebrate the public art way. Since they wanted greater logo real estate as corporate sponsors, they decided to commission original works and installations on their own. This session presented a case study of UTC's sponsored public art in Madison Square Park, NYC and Broadgate Arena, London, UK. The most interesting component of this case was how they used surveys, conducted by Audience Research & Analysis, to measure the impact of this endeavor.

How to you measure the value of public art, which by nature, has a more elusive, serendipitous, and iterative visitor experience than say a theatre or museum?
How can you design an assessment survey that documents valued added to both the consumer as well as the sponsor? (The presenters generously shared their powerpoint with me for this blog).

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