In two weeks I’ll take a few days away from classes to attend the Performing Arts Exchange at the Southern Arts Federation convention in Atlanta, GA. For details, go to http://www.southarts.org/ . As a newly elected member of the local arts council, my mission is to channel the spirit of legendary talent buyer “Hiram Cheap” and bring home the acts for the upcoming 2009-2010 season. I’ll be blogging live from the convention and sending you little video interviews of performers, agents, and random miscreants as time permits.
Sample panel discussions include: Advanced Contract Negotiation, Using Second Life to Engage Audiences, Federal Taxes on Foreign Artists: It’s Time to Comply, and Arts in Healthcare: A Rewarding Way of Reaching New Audiences.
There are a couple of issues I’m working through as I mentally prepare for this trip:
(1) What is the right balance between “art-lite” (i.e. entertainment like magic acts, regional theatre companies’ A Christmas Carol presentations, and the Kingston trio) and “art-stout” (i.e. heavy art like modern dance, opera, classical chamber groups, etc…)?
(2) How do you convince people to “buy-in” to the season tickets when popularity (and thus attendance) has been abysmal the past few seasons?
(3) Do we book according to our funds in the bank or take a risk (major act) and hope to increase the subscriptions? I can predict the vote of most of the council on this one…but should I try to turn this thing around?
We’re trying to revive the idea of a market survey and get some data collection done within the next week, and this may help create a buzz. Personally, I’d love to have an outdoor songwriters’contest/festival to coincide with a big arts/crafts festival our town has each year, but this would be a LOT of work for me and a pretty big financial risk to take if the weather is ugly that weekend.
As always, your insights and ideas are appreciated.