In the coming weeks leading up to the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium on April 15, we will feature a number of entries about the panels our planning committee had been working hard to prepare for you this year. You may find the schedule of the Symposium here.

This is the first entry of the series and I am excited to tell you about the first panel, Hitting the Target Audience: Keeping up with Market Trends.

A wise arts manager once told us to “know thy audience.” These days with prevalent social media use, smartphones and web 3.0, the level of engagement the average individual expects is quickly changing. The arts is a classic audience driven field; after all if a painter paints something no one ever sees or a singer sings only for the trees, does it matter? As we increasingly try to compete with the entertainment industry for audience attention the questions arises: what are we fighting for? What are the marketing trends arts organizations must be aware of and is it essential for us to follow them? As arts managers and arts marketers, how do we go about and beyond engaging the audience and shape and predict their needs?

This panel will be moderated American University Arts Management Professor Ximena Varela. Her research interests include culturally sustainable development, arts and social inclusion, Latin American cultural policy, marketing and audience development, comparative cultural policy, organizational change, research methods. Ask anyone in the arts management program and they can tell you how knowledgeable, colorful and personable our dear Professor Varela is and how much we learn from her marketing (introductory and advanced), art and the city, and other classes.

We are beyond thrilled to present you with a wonderful panel of successful arts managers with various experiences in marketing:

1. Jennifer Buzzell

Jennifer Buzzell is the Vice President for Marketing and Communications at Strathmore, a multi-disciplinary arts center in North Bethesda, MD. She is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery, and serves on the Board of Directors of The Bach Sinfonia. She is a graduate of the Masters in Arts Management program at American University and we are excited to have her back in the Katzen Arts Center.

2. Karalee Dawn

Karalee Dawn has wide-ranging professional experience in theatre production and management throughout the United States (Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional, Non-Profit and Commercial). She has served as a general manager, a managing director, and in various capacities at different theatres, festival, theatre group, and agencies etc. As a publicist she has worked with many high-profile productions, associations and theatre companies, as well as a number of Broadway productions, various Off-Broadway and regional shows.

At the Arts Management program at George Mason University, she teaches courses in Public Relations and Marketing Strategies for the Arts and Seminar in Arts Management (Foundations). You can read her very impressive professional profile here.

3. Dana Allen-Greil

Dana Allen-Greil is an account director and digital strategist in social marketing practice at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. She also teaches graduate‐level course on “Museums and Technology” in the Museum Studies program at George Washington University.

She was most recently the chief of digital outreach and engagement at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where she managed online communications (the Museum’s Web sites, blog, monthly e-mail newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube) and other digital projects. You can find some of her professional slide show presentations here, and read some of her publications through the links here.

4. Alli Houseworth

Alli Houseworth graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a BFA in Acting, and from Columbia University with an MFA in Producing and Theatre Management. She has worked as stage manager and producer, as well as in press, marketing and advertising, in various productions, theatre companies, and festivals in Maryland, New York City and beyond.

She currently lives in Washington, DC where she works as a social media consultant for theatres and service organizations. Before starting her own company, Alli was the Director of Communications and Audience Development at theatreWashington, and previously was the Marketing and Communications Director at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. She is also on the faculty at Columbia University where she teaches Audience Engagement: In Line and Online to MFA Theatre Management and Producing students. Read her full bio here.

Curious about trends and issues in arts marketing? Do you have questions for our panelists? Got anything in particular you want to hear from these panelists?

Share with us and bring the questions to the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium on Sunday, April 15, 2012. See you there!