So, what as marketers might we be able to start or try that would be a step on the way to exploring the kinds of working methods suggested at the AMA conference. Obviously, some organisations may be on the way, some have already made radical change, but others might be looking for ways to introduce these ideas. I don’t know how helpful this is, but it makes me feel a bit better, that nirvana could be within reach (even if only a little bit)!
The conference recommended that arts organisations need to…
1. Be more open and porous
Try one thing and see how it goes… and keep talking about it internally.
2. Broker relationships between audiences and art
Maybe start with a monthly brainstorm across departments around a new season or event.
3. Allow the art to be digitized and re-appropriated by audiences online, to allow better access and co-creation with audiences – (recognise that if it doesn’t exist on the internet, it doesn’t exist). Find a good partnership with an artist or other organisation and experiment.
4. Offer a platform/space for social interaction around the arts (recognise that seeing other people is as important as seeing the art). Is just having a bar enough? Should we be offering more concrete opportunities ie. the equivalent of book clubs?
5. Allow audiences to become co-creators. We need to embrace the shift to a pro-am culture, and recognise the value of all art no matter who made it.
6. Invest in audiences. Realising that taste is cumulative, we should educate our audiences to help them develop a deeper appreciation of the arts (e.g. Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beyond the Score programmes: http://www.cso.org/beyondthescore/about.html)
7. Avoid growth for the sake of growth, and seek relevance and impact instead. Organisations should beware that they must constantly strive to retain the relevance that they have only precariously attained. Institutions cannot and should not be maintained for their own sake. Ironically, as institutions have grown, audiences have declined – we need to reverse this trend.
8. Foster adaptation and diversity. Creeping normalcy must be avoided, but this must also be balanced against avoiding ‘premiere-itis’ and over-valuing new work.
9. Collaborate to grow the shrinking pie. Like social service organisations collaborating to tackle social issues, arts organisations should join together to tackle the issue of declining arts attendance.
10. Manage audience expectations – by being honest, and building the idea that not everyone will like everything, we will gain more trust. We should also avoid over-intellectualising the arts, and ensure that audiences are made to feel that an emotional response to art is equally as valid a rational response.