There was an article this morning that took the side of “the arts will survive.” The writer does not think the arts will be defunded, and if they are, we have other income streams and an ability to call on more support.
There have been articles stating that since cuts have been announced for certain agencies, donations are up for these causes. However, I am not sure this is the case for the arts. We as a society have yet to value the arts to the point that people will rush in to make up the cuts in funding. Have we? It would certainly be a good litmus test to find out, but I rather not use this “opportunity” if possible.
I will say that I am thinking in terms of the big bad wolf coming to blow our arts house down. Do we have a back-up plan for such an occasion or have we come to be so reliant on the funding that we never dreamed that it could be taken away.
I do hope we continue to see government support for the arts, but here are a few thoughts about changes that would be best to see through:
- We finally come up with an arts advocacy campaign that once and for all puts to rest the question of the value of the arts. If the arts were fully valued, as they should be, we would not be having to fight so hard through the years.
- We decide to implement development (audience development) plans that secure funding during all economic climates. Change happens. Bad changes like the big bad wolf blowing down established funding will happen. What are our arts houses made of? Can we be easily blown away when change comes or are we strong enough to survive the storms.
- We put more of existing arts funding toward audience development. Yes, this idea is slightly selfish. I want to see more organizations take the bull by the horns and learn the ways to build a community of support surrounding their art and arts businesses. Audience Development to the rescue! The funding will need to go through avenues that ensure that all types of arts organizations see the benefits. Mainly the funding is distributed to bigger organizations in bigger cities. The arts are everywhere, and it is time to fund the arts and audience development everywhere!
- The arts fight like any other industry/right that is proposed to be shut down. Marches, awareness days, online campaigns, in your face campaigns, and possibly a strike campaign. Could you imagine if the arts went on strike? Seriously, the world would see a major shut down if all artists of any kind complied. No designs, no arts classes, no museums open, no movies, no music…that would show everyone how the arts touch lives daily.
- Arts advocacy starts to use audience development. I had to go looking for the date of the National Arts Advocacy day this year (March 20-21, almost missed it). It did not come to me, or if it did, it was a sad little noise in my overstuffed email box. If someone like me doesn’t know about the day, how do we expect the public to get on board? We need to make more noise and to touch more than our own bubble, but start with our own bubble (which has not been tapped yet either).
I do think we have become a little complacent with how things were, that we forget that how things are can change.
With change can bring new challenges, but if we have the right mentality to begin with, we can face these challenges head on with proper planning and gumption.
Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Chief Audience Builder, Audience Development Specialists
I also read an article that stated that audiences are building for independent film theaters. This can be the case, but they chose a photo that led with empty seats in the middle (they said it was packed), and the audience was mostly the over 55 audience demographic. Hmmm…
Congratulations to TRG Arts for their recent CREATE award from the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts.