Couldn’t make it to a panel or address at EALS 2013? Couldn’t come to the day at all?
No problem! You missed the great experience, but don’t miss the ideas. Download the podcasts of each panel and keynote address from iTunes.
Once again, the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University has proven to be a smashing success. The Symposium, known by the acronym EALS, is in its sixth year of existence. The event is an annual meeting of students and young professionals who work in the arts that is held at American University. As national partners with Americans for the Arts, EALS is the official kick off for Arts Advocacy Day, and is held the day before.
It is an opportunity to engage in quality discussion about issues, unique or universal, that affect arts organizations with students, peers, and experienced leaders in the field. Past keynote speakers have included Rachel Goslins, Ben Cameron, Bob Lynch, and Adrian Ellis. All symposium activities and planning is organized and executed by a selected committee of American University Arts Management students.
The framework of EALS 2013 was “Looking to the Horizon.” Each speaker and panel discussed the new and innovative strategies and ideas coming down the road in each of the topics addressed that day. These topics included international arts management, marketing, audience engagement, career advancement, innovative organization models, and fundraising.
As the Executive Chair, I am elated to report that EALS 2013 was by far the largest and most successful Symposium ever. Counting the speakers, attendees, staff, and volunteers, 225 people walked through the doors on Sunday, April 7. That proved to be well over double last year’s number, a record growth for the Symposium. EALS also extended its reach throughout the country. Previous years saw attendees mostly from the surrounding DC metro area and within a few hours’ driving distance. EALS 2013, however, saw attendees from geographical locations spanning the entire eastern coast, the mid-west, and as far west as Utah.
What caused so many people from so many locales to flock to American University? The EALS Executive Committee’s focus on quality programming. At the beginning of the planning process, the Executive Committee made the decision to host big names from the industry that have valuable knowledge and experience to share. Doing so would be a financial gamble, but they had faith that presenting the highest quality programming would pay for itself by attracting more attendees. They were right.
The morning began with opening remarks and a welcome from myself, and jumped right in to the Opening Keynote Address by Karen Brooks Hopkins, the President of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Since taking over as president of BAM in 1999, Hopkins has led the organization with stunning competency, riding the waves of financial and philanthropic ups and downs. The annual attendance has exploded, the budget has over doubled, and the organization’s endowment has almost tripled to over $80 million. Her address connected the ideas we were discussing at EALS 2013 with her real and successful organization. A perfect start to the day.
The attendees then split off, as they went to the morning breakout panel session of their choice. One morning panel was International Arts Management. In this panel, Gail Humphries Mardirosian (American University), Todd Dellinger (Rider University), Stacy White (US Dept. of State), and Arts Management professor Ximena Varela discussed the newest research and issues in this growing area of the arts.
The other morning panel, Marketing for Today’s Organizations, saw leading marketing specialists discuss new strategies, as well as multiple points of view on some hot topic issues, such as subscription plans. Panelists included JoAnn LaBrecque-French (The Washington Ballet), Jennifer Buzzell (Strathmore), Khady Kamara (Arena Stage), and American University Museum head curator Jack Rasmussen.
After a networking lunch, the attendees split again into their choice of three panels. One afternoon panel, Audience Engagement, discussed the importance of engaging audiences…not selling to them…and the strategies to do so. Those panelists included engagement experts Margy Waller (Topos Partnership), JR Russ (Dance Place), Alli Houseworth (Method 121), Doug Borwick (ArtsEngaged), and AU’s Ximena Varela.
The second afternoon panel provided attendees the opportunity to pick the minds of younger arts leaders about starting and advancing their careers in the Career Beginnings and Advancement panel. Panelists included Jojo Ruf (National New Play Network), Christopher K. Morgan (Christopher K. Morgan & Artists), Allison Peck (Freer|Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian), and AU’s Anne L’Ecuyer.
The Innovative Organization Models panel rounded out the afternoon selections. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about some of the most cutting edge organizations, and to pick the minds of the leaders of these organizations. Those leaders were Rachel Grossman (dog&pony DC), Thaddeus Squire (Culture Works Greater Philadelphia), Margaret Boozer (Red Dirt Studio), and AU professor Andrew Taylor.
After a coffee break, attendees headed into the Abramson Family Recital hall to attend a panel that discussed one of the most important parts of arts management, yet one of the most uncomfortable parts: Fundraising. Panelists, moderated by Andrew Taylor, included leading minds in the field: Barbara Ciconte (Donor Strategies), Kendall Ladd (Sitar Arts Center), Pete Miller (Local arts board member and philanthropist), and Russell Willis Taylor (National Arts Strategies)
The day was concluded with Aaron Dworkin’s Closing Keynote Address. Dworkin is the founder and President of The Sphinx Organization, the leading organization focused on cultural diversity in the arts, and President Obama’s first ever appointee to the National Council for the Arts. His poignant and invigorating address discussed racial access to the fine arts, and how we as arts leaders must work to make the arts represent the true diversity that is the United States.
For more information on the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium, and to hear audio recordings of the conference, visit http://www.american.edu/cas/arts-management/eals/index.cfm.
Below is the map of EALS 2013 attendee geographical locations. Where did you come from?
It use to be that the success of arts marketers was dependent on how well they could predict the future and then pray for success. But those days are over. Today, arts marketers can rely on data analysis and market research to make well thought out strategic decisions.
I, for one, am glad that marketers no longer have to rely future telling because marketing is an essential part of the arts experience. As a jazz trombonist, I had to learn how to market myself to land gigs and then market my gigs so that people would come to them. Arts organizations have to do the same. But they must market their organization as well as individual performances.
Several years ago Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) ran an institutional marketing campaign with the theme “BAM and then it hits you”. The message they conveyed was that the experience at BAM lingered long after you left. This campaign excited people about BAM as an entire organization, as opposed to a singular performance.
There are countless other examples of successful marketing campaigns in the arts. As emerging arts leaders I think it is essential we pay attention to trends in marketing. What are the latest trends in arts marketing? How do arts marketers use data analysis and market research to make strategic decisions? What type of programming is becoming most difficult to market? There are an endless amount of questions we can ask.
This Sunday April 7th, the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University will feature a panel discussion to answer these marketing questions and more. What questions do you have about arts marketing today?
The panelists for the Marketing Trends panel include:
Jennifer Buzzell – Strathmore: Jennifer Buzzell is the Vice President for Marketing and Communications at Strathmore, a multi-disciplinary arts center in North Bethesda, MD. Accomplishments at Strathmore include leading the efforts to be the first arts organization in the D.C. area to allow patrons to select their exact seats online; starting an innovative grass-roots and guerilla marketing program that reaches out to sell tickets and raise awareness through non-traditional means; spearheading the efforts with the Strathmore staff to have Strathmore branded as a leader in customer service for the arts in the D.C. area by not charging customers separately for parking and ticketing fees and allowing all patrons to exchange concert tickets; and moving from a subscription-based sales model to a single ticket/membership based sales model (Strathmore Stars). Jen has a Masters in Arts Management from American University, and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Boston University. She was named the Montgomery County 2012 Emerging Arts Leader by County Executive Ike Leggett and Catherine Leggett, accompanied by proclamations from Senator Barbara Mikulski, the State of Maryland and Montgomery County. Jen is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery (2009), and serves on the Board of Directors of The Bach Sinfonia, and committees for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington and Wheaton Urban District. She lives in Wheaton, MD with her husband Jeremy and children Zoe and Myles.
JoAnn LaBrecque-French – The Washington Ballet: JoAnn LaBrecque-French is currently Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for The Washington Ballet. Her extensive background in performing arts includes working as the Director of Marketing and Communications for Washington National Opera; Director of Marketing and Communications for Houston Grand Opera; Public Relations Manager of Los Angeles Opera; and as an Account Executive with Davidson & Choy Publicity, one of Los Angeles’ premier arts and entertainment firms. Prior to coming to Washington, DC, Ms. LaBrecque-French was the Director of Program Resources at Neuhaus Education Center, a professional teacher development organization where she developed and implemented marketing, website, communications and on-line teacher-training initiatives. Her expertise encompasses traditional and nontraditional marketing, communications, and advertising with an emphasis in branding, positioning, media and community partnerships, website development, and incorporating electronic and social media and community outreach into comprehensive and multidimensional external institutional campaigns. Ms. LaBrecque-French’s consulting client list includes Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet, CalArts, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Khady Kamara – Arena Stage: Khady Kamara joined the Arena Stage in 2001 as a Subscriptions Manager and has been an integral member of the Communications team through her work in Audience Services eventually being promoted to Director of Audience Services before taking over as the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications. Under her leadership, Arena’s sales team repeatedly broke box office sales records for a number of shows, including South Pacific, Sophisticated Ladies, Oklahoma!, and Red. Ms. Kamara successfully administered the recent upgrade and transition of Arena’s ticketing software to meet the ever changing needs of its growing patron base. Her work was integral in the success of Arena’s temporary residency in Crystal City and the opening of the Mead Center for American Theater the fall of 2010. During Ms. Kamara’s tenure, group sales revenue has more than doubled in scope and range of audiences reached. She also pioneered unprecedented efforts to maximize donations with single ticket purchases. Khady is the recipient of national and local awards acknowledging her service and professionalism, including the 2009 Outstanding Box Office Award on behalf of Arena Stage from the International Ticketing Association (INTIX) and as a 2009 Offstage Award Honoree from the League of Washington Theatres (LWOT).
Jack Rasmussen – American University: Jack Rasmussen is the Director and Curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. He previously held Executive Director positions at di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature, Maryland Art Place, and Rockville Arts Place. He was the owner and director of Jack Rasmussen Gallery in Washington, DC. More information can be found on his blog.
We all love to go to our favorite theatre and watch a production, sit and listen to our favorite orchestra, or visit our favorite museum. Traditionally, a person interacted with arts organizations by sitting in the audience of a theater and viewing a performance; but is that enough? I say no way! Like me, many audience members want to get involved and interact with arts organizations in a new way.
Today we live in a world with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other social media platforms. These platforms give us a space to share our views and interact with people from around the world. As a young person in my early twenties, interaction and participation is crucial. Arts organizations are beginning to realize the importance of audience engagement and are finding new and innovative ways to engage their audiences.
Audience engagement includes a range of activities from open rehearsals, online forums, to interactive shows. Here in Washington, DC, Dog & Pony DC produced a production of The Killing Game that whole-heartedly embraced the idea of audience engagement. Audience members were able to decide important events of the play such as who survives the plague and who dies. When asked about their experience at The Killing Game, one audience member stated “We begin like stone-faced spectators; we end like the world’s most talkative flash mob”
Although the traditional way an audience views a performance is still very important, I think arts organizations should try to find new ways to engage their audience. As someone who enjoys participation, audience engagement is very important.
With audience engagement becoming more of a necessity, what are some cost effective methods of audience engagement? How are we using technology/social media to effectively engage audiences without losing the true value of the arts experience? And who do you think are some of the most successful arts organizations in terms of audience engagement right now?
To continue this discussion on the importance of audience engagement, please join us on April 7th for the 6th annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University.
Panelists for this topic will include:
JR Russ – Class Acts Arts, #thearts, Dance Place: JR Russ is a Washington, DC native who received his B.A. in Dance from UMD, and an M.A. in Arts Management from American University. Since then he’s gone on to teach and choreograph in the area, as well as continue to perform, and even work on the administrative & production side of things. This has led to him managing digital and social media for Class Acts Arts & Dance Place, as well as joining the communications and marketing committees for the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington & SpeakeasyDC. He also assist Duke Ellington School for the Arts with their social media efforts, in policy and implementation organizationally and through workshops to students on using new media professionally.
Alli Houseworth – Method 121: Alli Houseworth is the founder and chief consultant and strategist at Method 121. Throughout her entire career, she has brought an innovative way of thinking to her work. Often hired to manage projects and implement changes that require deep analytical and strategic thinking, coupled with highly creative ideas, Alli has drawn on her ten years of experience in the communications field to bring an extraordinarily high level of innovation to her work in both the nonprofit and commercial arts sectors. The core of the work always focuses on branding, new media, service-centric audience experiences, and leveraging the power of community. Constantly passionate about developing audiences for the theatre, Alli has established herself as an industry expert in audience engagement and social media.
Margy Waller – Topos Partnership: Margy Waller is a Senior Fellow at Topos Partnership and former Vice-President of Research and Strategic Communications at ArtsWave. Previously she was Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, with a joint appointment in the Economic Studies and Metropolitan Policy programs. Prior to Brookings, she was Senior Advisor on domestic policy in the Clinton-Gore White House. Before joining the Administration, Margy was Senior Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. She also served as Director of Public Policy at United Way of America, and Director of Policy Development at Public/Private Ventures in Philadelphia, and a congressional fellow in the office of U.S. Representative Eric Fingerhut (D-OH).
Doug Borwick – ArtsEngaged: Doug Borwick holds the Ph.D. in Music Composition from the Eastman School of Music and is an award-winning member of ASCAP. He gained experience as an arts administrator and producer working with the Arts Council of Rochester (NY) and through founding and leading the NC Composers Alliance in the mid-1980’s. Dr. Borwick also served for nearly thirty years as Director of the Arts Management and Not-for-Profit Management Programs at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. Dr. Borwick is also a leading advocate for community engagement in the arts. He is author of Engaging Matters, a blog for ArtsJournal and author/editor of Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S.
Ximena Varela – American University: Ximena Varela is a researcher, educator, and consultant with more than 20 years of experience in international cultural policy, management practice, marketing strategy, arts management research, and sustainable development. She has worked with and advised international organizations, national and regional governments, city agencies, as well as private and nonprofit organizations in arts funding and arts policy. Currently, she chairs the Research Council of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, and has been a board member of the Latin American Institute of Museums since 2000.
Washington is full of young, ambitious, up and coming leaders – politicos, entrepreneurs, engineers, and of course, those of us in the arts. We live in an exciting time and as we prepare to dive into the working world, we are faced with some unique challenges. But we are young and energetic and up to the task.
One universal challenge emerging leaders face in every field is the evolution of the ever expanding “work day.” Gone are the days of a typical 9 to 5. (Though, did they ever really exist in the arts?) In this iPhone, iPad, Blackberry world, we are continually and constantly connected. Emails are sent and expected to be read at any and all hours. Tweets and Facebook comments don’t take the night off. We are embarking on a career world that never stops and rarely sleeps.
And how does one break into this world? Ah yes. The internship. Internships have the potential to be great career launchers. They also have the potential to become traps. All work and no pay makes Jane a tired intern. The New York Times recently published an article detailing the struggles of many 20-somethings – “a population historically exploitable as cheap labor” – as they learn that “long hours and low pay go hand in hand with the creative class.”
But the good news is, it feeds us (maybe just ramen noodles at first.) We in the arts get the extra perk of our work feeding our souls. It’s why we do it. And it’s an exciting time to dive in.
The Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University on April 7 will feature a panel discussion on career beginnings and advancement. Come get in on the discussion!
Jojo Ruf – National New Play Network: Jojo Ruf is the General Manager of the National New Play Network, an alliance of 47 nonprofit theaters across the US that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays. Jojo is also the Coordinating Producer for the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University, an Associate Producer for the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, a freelance writer for theatreWashington, and works as a Teaching Artist for Ford’s Theatre. She has worked with Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center, Theater J, Welders Theatre, and Georgetown University as a freelance producer and director.
Most recently, Jojo served as the Coordinating Producer for Georgetown University’s Convening on Global Performance, Civic Imagination, and Cultural Diplomacy and as the Coordinator for Theater J’s Spinozium and other Beyond the Stage events for New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza.
Christopher K. Morgan – Christopher K. Morgan & Artists: Christopher K. Morgan is Artistic Director of Washington DC area contemporary dance company Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, the Artist in Residence in the Dance Program at American University and the Director of the Dance Omi International Dance Collective, an annual residency for choreographers in New York. All of his work stems from a belief in the urgency of live performance in an increasingly isolating, commercial, and digital world. His choreography has been presented in 18 countries on 5 continents. In April 2011 Dance Magazine profiled him as one of six breakout choreographers in the United States. Christopher is the recipient of a 2011 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Choreography, a 2012 and 2013 Individual Artist Grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, and a 2013 Native Arts & Cultures Foundation Fellowship.
Allison Peck – Freer-Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution: Allison Peck is the Head of Public Affairs and Marketing for the Freer|Sackler, the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art in Washington, D.C., where she oversees all strategic marketing, public communications, media relations and advertising for the museums’ exhibitions and programs. She has a professional background in project management, and has worked in communications for a variety of non-profits, including museums, art dealers, and social service providers. Allison has a graduate degree in Arts Administration from American University in Washington, D.C., and an undergraduate degree in Art History and Strategic Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Anne L’Ecuyer – American University: Anne L’Ecuyer is a writer and a consultant who stays closely connected to an international network of city leaders, cultural professionals, and individual artists. She is an expert in creative industries and cultural tourism, as well as the contributions of the arts toward educational, social, and environmental goals in communities throughout the United States. Anne previously served as Associate Vice President for Field Services at Americans for the Arts and is the author of Public Funding for the Arts at the Local Level. She owns and operates the Washington Writer’s Retreat, a private writing and research residency in the nation’s capital.
Register for EALS 2013 HERE.
And now it is time to announce the amazing arts leader who will provide us with the EALS opening plenary address:
Karen Brooks Hopkins is the president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), where she has worked since 1979. As President, Hopkins oversees the institution’s 179 full-time employees and facilities, including the 2100-seat BAM Howard Gilman Opera House and 874-seat BAM Harvey Theater, the four-theater BAM Rose Cinemas, the BAMcafé, and the BAM Fisher–opening in fall 2012.
Since taking over as president of BAM in 1999, Hopkins has led the organization with stunning competency, riding the waves of financial and philanthropic ups and downs. The annual attendance has exploded, the budget has over doubled, and the organization’s endowment has almost tripled to over $80 million. She has also introduced a number of new programs. Such programs include educational programs that serve children, underprivileged teens and senior citizens. In 2004, she unveiled an $8.6 million restoration that returned the iconic BAM neo-Classical building to its former glory. Hopkins has also partnered with Robert Redford to establish the Creative Latitude Festival, which brought Sundance Film Festival winners to BAM.
In May 2004, Hopkins concluded a two-year term as the Chair of The Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), which consists of 33 prominent New York City cultural institutions. In this capacity, she also served as a member of the Mayor’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and is currently a member of the Board of NYC & Company, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and New York’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Hopkins is an active member of the Performing Arts Center Consortium, a national association of performing arts centers, and served as its chair from 1994 to 1996. She was also a participant on the Advisory Committee of the Salzburg Seminar Project of Critical Issues for the Classical Performing Arts from 2000-2002 and a fellow of The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation from 2001-2002.
Hopkins has received national and international recognition for much of her work. In 2005, Hopkins received the Encore Award in Arts Management Excellence from the Arts & Business Council of New York, and chaired the Hospitality and Tourism cluster of the Initiative for a Competitive Brooklyn. In 2006, she was elected by the New York State Legislature to the Board of Regents for a term that expired in 2010.
In the spring of 1995, Hopkins served as the executive producer of the Bergman Festival, which celebrated the life and work of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. The success of the Bergman Festival earned her a medal from the Royal Dramatic Theater of Sweden–the first time the honor was awarded to anyone outside of Sweden. Additionally, in recognition of her work on behalf of the Norwegian National Ballet, Norway awarded her its King Olav Medal.
In November 2006, Hopkins was awarded the honor of Chevalier de L’Ordre des arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France, for her work supporting the French arts in the United States. Then in 2007, she was named one of the “100 Most Influencial Women in New York City Business” by Crain’s. That same year, she was appointed Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star, in recognition of her role in solidifying ties between the performing arts communities of Sweden and the United States. And in May of 2012, Hopkins was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.
Hopkins graduated from the University of Maryland, and received her MFA from George Washington University in Washington, DC. She also served as an adjunct professor for the Brooklyn College Program for Arts Administration for four years. Her widely read book, Successful Fundraising for Arts & Cultural Organizations, is currently available in a revised second edition through Greenwood Publishing.
For more information on BAM, click HERE.
Register for EALS 2013 HERE.