One of the most perceptive arts commentators writing today is Trevor O’Donnell. His blog, Marketing the Arts to Death is a consistently good read. If you are on the board of an arts organization it is both timely and provocative. He doesn’t cater to our genteel sensibilities, but tries to make us more aware of the changing world around us.
Recently he wrote about the similarities (and challenges) of moving the arts forward when they tend to want to remain safe for an older audience which has traditionally supported them.
His post is very timely, what with the election behind us and some winners, some losers. It is called Six Things the Arts and the Republicans Have in Common.
and you must read it if you care about the future of the arts as we enjoy them in the Berkshires. Here is what he sees as the recipe for future failure:
1. Loss of followers.
2. Conservative Wings
3. Out of Touch Leadership
4. Exclusionary Platforms
5. Overemphasis on Fundraising
6. Audiences Mostly Old White People
Certainly the evidence is out there, what with the decline of symphony orchestras across the country, and the battles to pay the musicians who make the music less money in order to survive. The recent battle between the board of Miami Ballet and Edward Villella (story) is another example of a company’s older leadership out of sync with the need to constantly recruit and refresh new audiences.
Why you should read his analysis: Trevor O’Donnell has developed marketing and/or sales initiatives for Disney Theatrical Productions, Cameron Mackintosh, Cirque du Soleil, the Music Center of Los Angeles, Center Theatre Group, Symphony Space, Blue Man Productions, Broadway’s Nederlander Organization, The Autry Museum, Goldstar and for numerous Broadway shows and arts organizations across the US.
A recognized authority on brand activation, cultural tourism and strategic planning for marketing and sales, Trevor specializes in the development of new audiences, new messaging models and new sources of earned revenue for fine arts, performing arts and stage entertainment.