Building Arts Audiences

In the fall of 2014, the Wallace Foundation published a report by market research expert Bob Harlow: The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences. The study profiles ten arts organizations that received funding from the Wallace Foundation to develop audience-building initiatives. Among the ten are the Boston Lyric Opera, Minnesota Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Girls Chorus, and Seattle Opera.

The report present nine effective practices identified by the case study participants:

Wallace Foundation Study


1.) Recognize when change is needed.

2.) Identify the target audience that fits.

3.) Determine what kinds of barriers need to be removed.

4.) Take out the guesswork.

5.) Think through the relationship.

6.) Provide multiple ways in.

7.) Align the organization around the strategy.

8.) Build in learning.

9.) Prepare for success.

The entire report can be downloaded for free here.

About the author

Ann Drinan
Ann Drinan

Ann Drinan, Senior Editor, has been a member of the Hartford Symphony viola section for over 30 years. She is a former Chair of the Orchestra Committee, former member of the HSO Board, and has served on many HSO committees. She is also the Executive Director of CONCORA (CT Choral Artists), a professional chorus based in Hartford and New Britain, founded by Artistic Director Richard Coffey. Ann was a member of the Advisory Board of the Symphony Orchestra Institute (SOI), and was the HSO ROPA delegate for 14 years, serving as both Vice President and President of ROPA. In addition to playing the viola and running CONCORA, Ann is a professional writer and editor, and has worked as a consultant and technical writer for software companies in a wide variety of industries for over 3 decades. (She worked for the Yale Computer Science Department in the late 70s, and thus has been on the Internet, then called the DARPAnet, since 1977!) She is married to Algis Kaupas, a sound recordist, and lives a block from Long Island Sound in Branford CT. Together they create websites for musicians:

Ann holds a BA in Music from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an MA in International Relations from Yale University.

Read Ann Drinan's blog here.

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