Social media and innovative programming

This week’s assignment was to find an interesting use of social media by an arts organization.  My students found some really, really interesting stuff.

First thing we learned: MASS MoCA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams) remains one of the coolest organizations in the country.

Second thing we learned: innovative programming often goes hand-in-hand with social media participation.

Michelle Bastyr and Ben Hogan both posted articles about innovative programs at MASS MoCA.  One was an interesting use of a Flickr group asking patrons to post their own pictures of MASS MoCA works. Tree Logic by Natalie Jeremijenko has been one of the museum’s signature pieces since its opening, featuring several trees planted and suspended upside down outside the museum’s main entrance.

The artist explained to community members in the early days of the museum that a sculpture which changed with the seasons allowed community members to view the piece in a very different way than occasional visitors to the museum or even art “experts” — it allowed community members to be the experts on the piece.  Inviting museumgoers and community members to share photos of the piece in different light, different seasons and under different conditions continues this intimate participation with art.

Ben posted an item about a unique event at MASS MoCA, Solid Sound Festival featuring the popular band Wilco.  The festival included interactive pieces and artwork by Wilco members.  The social media involvement was a scavenger hunt in the museum using bar codes and smart phones.

Alexia Petit tells of a theatre company that used social media to invite patrons to extremely exclusive events on very short notice — like a play for twenty people that would start in an hour from the time they posted the tweet.  Alexia initially questioned how that kind of activity could possibly bring the theater enough revenue, but we decided that the exclusivity factor was one way to encourage more people to come to the regular offerings, or at least “like” the organization on Facebook in the hope of hearing about the next event.

I am really turned on by the innovative things being done by arts organizations using social media to involve the audience.  I’ll share more in the next post.

But for now, I’m off to a board meeting of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, where I’m bound to hear even more cool stuff.

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About Ellen Rosewall

I am Professor and Chair of Arts Management and author of Arts Management: Uniting Arts and Audiences in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press, 2013). I believe that arts and culture are undergoing a profound change in the 21st century, and I love talking with people about how we continue to bring arts to our communities and individuals give the brave new world of social media, technology and economic changes. Join the conversation!
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2 Responses to Social media and innovative programming

  1. Gerri says:

    What interesting finds!

    It seems to me organizations will have to keep finding new/better/different ways to use social media too, because any late adopters of a clever idea are probably going to encounter fatigue by the time they implement it. Isn’t it amazing how quickly things become “trite” in cyberspace?

    😉

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