Building Arts Audiences
APAP and The Wallace Foundation support arts organizations’ efforts to reach new audiences and deepen relationships with current audiences. Together, we are proud to share The Wallace Foundation's findings and resources on audience-building efforts with the performing arts field.
What you’ll find here:
Best practices you can start using now
Small and Mid-Sized Presenters in the United States: Stories and Perspectives, a preliminary report
Case studies of success and failure in growing audiences
How you can engage more deeply with these resources
The Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) is preparing to take the next steps around Small and Mid-Sized Presenters in the United States: Stories and Perspectives in our new report commissioned with support from the Wallace Foundation. This initial pilot study gives a first look at the realities of small and mid-sized presenters, and the shifts they are weathering.
Read the Report
Read the Inside Arts interview where the report's collaborators talk about the takeaways and next steps.
The Wallace Foundation has identified nine practices that successful audience-building efforts have had in common. Review the nine practices and read more about them in the downloadable report, The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences.
Recognize When Change Is Needed
Identify the Target Audience that Fits
Determine What Kinds of Barriers Need to be Removed
Take Out the Guesswork
Think Through the Relationship
Provide Multiple Ways In
Align the Organization Around the Strategy
Build In Learning
Prepare for Success
Focusing on one of the nine effective practices, this guide Taking Out the Guesswork: A Guide to Using Research to Build Arts Audiences, seeks to help arts organizations get over the hurdles of research. It details how to carry out the research effectively – in both low-cost and more elaborate ways – and how to bring together an organizational team to manage the work. This separate infographic summarizes the guide’s key points.
These principles emerged from case studies of ten arts organizations that undertook audience-building projects as part of the Wallace Excellence Awards initiative. You can read more examples of successes and challenges from the work of museums, opera companies, a theater and other institutions.
5 Minutes to Shine: "Building Arts Audiences" Session
One of APAP|NYC’s most popular events, 5 Minutes to Shine (5MTS) showcases today’s most innovative engagement and audience-building work. 5MTS is an opportunity for artists, presenters, agents, and others to share their compelling story or idea in an exciting pecha kucha-format; one speaker will be selected to present their story at the annual APAP|NYC Awards Luncheon. Inspired by the Wallace Foundation’s Nine Effective Practices for Building Audiences in the Arts, this session highlights how to go from ideas to action.
Meet the 2019 participants and learn more about the APAP|NYC 2019 session.
At APAP|NYC 2015, APAP and the Wallace Foundation hosted a professional development session on Welcoming New Audiences featuring participants from case studies. Listen to the audio recording to learn about their strategies, successes and setbacks.
Learn more about the vision behind the Building Arts Audience initiative, visit the Wallace Foundation website at ThrivingArts.org.
Inside Arts articles on Building Audiences
APAP has reported on the importance of building arts audiences, the tools and research needed to this and how the 5 Minutes to Shine competition brings forth new ideas.