I’m at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference, and ideas are flowing like wine (wine is also flowing, but that’s another story). As you might imagine, a lot of the conversation has to do with social media and technology — integrating both into both programming and marketing.
One of the most intriguing ideas I’ve heard is the thought that your relationship with your audience doesn’t have to begin and end on performance night. I’ve preached this before, but more in a marketing sense than a performing sense; that is, my message has been about keeping in contact with audiences before and after arts events and giving them news about arts experiences. What intrigued me about the Misnomer Dance Company‘s message is that our relationship with our audiences can be longitudinal and multidimensional. That is, it can take place at multiple points during our rehearsal process, after the performance, and in more ways than a one-way conversation between the marketing staff and the audience’s e-mail inbox.
We spend enormous amounts of time in preparation for performance (or exhibition). At some point, the curtain goes up and the public views it. And, each member of the public has approximately the same experience with the performance. Misnomer is exploring ways to involve the audience in the art during the development process and after the performance — by inviting select audience members to “show-hearsals,” artist talks, mentorships and Skype chats. Another intriguing idea is that Misnomer invites people to attend a dance performance with a member of their company, who can share insights before and after the performance.
I’ve promoted this blog here at NAMP and I hope that will mean that we get more insights from people doing exciting things. Newcomers: this blog started as an experiment with my students, and so your thoughts are helping develop the next generation of arts leaders.
So have at it. What do you think of involving the audience in the creation of art? Does that create problems for artists? What are other ways to involve audience members during that long stretch of time in between formal performances?