A couple of weeks back, when I heard that Kristi Fuoco was going to Arts Reach in LA, I was insanely jealous. I immediately emailed her and asked her if she could take some notes and share some of her learning with us. She kindly agreed to do so.
So, without further ado, here’s Kristi…
From October 8th to 10th I attended Arts Reach (http://www.artsreach.com/conference.html), an annual National Arts Marketing and Fundraising conference that was held in Los Angeles this year. The theme of the conference was appropriately, Are you Ready for the Wave of Change? The first day of the conference was dedicated to Internet Marketing and I couldn’t wait to fill my mind with endless new ideas for social media marketing. The sessions on email marketing and websites were great, and inspired me to make sure that our website and our emails are relevant, interesting, engaging and capture the experience of what it is we’re trying to do whether we are a concert hall, theatre or dance troupe or a museum.
The social media session, “Fans, Friends and Followers: Facebook & Social Media”, was more basic than I’d hoped, but did bring up some ideas from other arts organizations in the US who are using social media in innovative ways.
Here are some of the most creative examples that I want to share:
The National Symphony Orchestra (http://www.kennedy-center.org/nso/) experimented with tweeting programme notes during the Beethoven Pastoral Symphony. The notes were written in advance by the conductor and then sent out throughout the concert at the appropriate moments and included interesting, sometimes funny bits of information about the composition, composer and any other random facts. Apparently they had a certain section on the lawn designated for those interested in receiving the tweets, so that they wouldn’t distract the other non-tweeting audience members. Here is an article discussing how it went from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/31/AR2009073100006.html)
Another phenomenon is the use of IPhone applications by arts organizations. They used the example of the LA Philharmonic (http://www.laphil.com/) and their new sensation, the Venezuelan 28-year-old conductor, Gustavo Dudamel. I was lucky enough to see one of his opening concerts with LA Phil that weekend, and with this new IPhone app you can actually conduct along with Dudamel and as you wave your arm in the air the music plays. They’ve launched an entire microsite (http://www.laphil.com/gustavo/bravo.html) in honour of Dudamel that allows you to download the IPhone app, play a Gustavo game where you can match your conducting skills with his, watch videos of him, listen to his music, and much more. It’s a whole new level of experience, and of feeling connected to a conductor. Is this the way of the future for orchestras? Can other arts organizations use these tools in similar ways?
The third example was the Brooklyn Museum (http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/), one of the first “socially networked” museums, who now have an IPhone app that allows you to visit the museum virtually, and to learn about different works as you move through the museum as well. Here are some interesting blog posts about it: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/community/blogosphere/bloggers/2009/05/31/brooklyn-museum-api-the-iphone-app-released-on-itunes/
The general trend from this session was for arts organizations to see social media for what it is: SOCIAL. We are moving back to connecting with people one on one, and arts organizations need to use their creativity and resources in order to keep up with this new way of connecting.
Kristi Fuoco currently works at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia as the Marketing and Communications Assistant Coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Mt. Allison University and a Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology from UBC. She is a lover and supporter of arts and culture and a social media enthusiast. You can find her on twitter @kristifuoco