Thu, March 19 2009

Why are arts orgs and newspapers folding faster than you can say A-I-G?

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

I heard a scary stat yesterday, cited by the social media guru Allison Fine on Twitter.  Apparently one in ten arts organizations is on the brink of collapse.  So I tweeted Allison to ask why.  Movie attendance is up - why are the arts down? 

She answered with a whole blog post, bless her heart.  And she wove in the issue of our dying newspaper industry. Read it here, along with the great comments.

Then Beth Kanter, another social media guru you should be reading, weighed in here.

How is your arts organization faring?  What do you think of these posts?

I really like Brian Reich’s take in the comments of Allison’s blog:

To be successful today, you must focus on the content - the substance of what you do, and whether that provides something to the community, or audience, that is valued. Many of the arts organizations (and nonprofits) who I work with seem to believe that their offering is unique and that the audience thirsts for what they offer. But they don’t ask the audience what they want, or try to understand how to fit their work into the busy lives of the people who they seek attention from. They measure success by the amount of money raised or open rates on their email and not the inspiration they offer, people they feed, or happiness they bring. That simply won’t work. The audience is in charge (always has been, they just know it even more now). Arts groups don’t want to adapt to what the audience wants, they want the audience to come to them. And when that doesn’t happen, the arts groups often blame the media for not covering the arts or the economy for failing and leaving people without extra income to spend on things other than basics. Its not the audience’s fault. It’s not the media’s fault. It’s not the economy’s fault. Its your fault (arts groups, and everyone else). Its our fault (audience) for not demonstrating even more clearly what we want and expect from the arts and how we are willing to support it.


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