Goodbye Galas, Outside the Arts Box and The Critic Stumbles

glalas
Beautiful weekend. Beautiful day.

Three articles last week struck me during my daily stuff to read – the first two speak to each other and are from the same publication, so that makes sense – but then I was wandering around Seth’s Blog and another one struck me as fitting into this trinity of new ways of thinking.

 

Why Toronto is Saying Goodbye to Galas
I came of Arts Admin age just at the edge of big galas – the silent auctions that made thousands, five hundred dollars a plate, four thousand for a table and the It girls were always there in the grand ballroom of the It Hotel. It will be interesting to see what we do differently in the future. I don’t necessarily think the old-school gala is a great tool for engagement, not only do I want your money, I want your time. And most folks are a little short on one or the other, and usually both. I’d personally enjoy the end of the silent auction. So tired of it. So little money made in most cases. So much effort. Next up,

Arts groups thinking outside the box – and way beyond the box office  The final paragraph, the whole final section, hits quite literally close to home:

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, with 185 commercial and non-profit members in theatre, dance and opera, is exploring new strategies for survival in a volatile environment. “Toronto companies have recognized they need to embrace adaptive change, and there are many already working on it,” says Jacoba Knaapen, executive director of TAPA, noting how mobile technology is transforming the consumption of arts and culture.

Since 2011, as part of a project with Arts Research Action, a consulting group, TAPA has worked with members to explore new approaches to a range of issues, including how to attract younger, more diverse audiences. The results will be included in a report to be released next year. “There are some really deep-seated assumptions that our organizations inherited in a language that dates back to when the companies were founded 35 to 40 years ago,” observes Knaapen. “The assumptions they have inherited are part of the old way, and the old way has to change to a more adaptive model.”

In 2009-10, ticket sales for theatre, dance and opera in Toronto dropped to $132-million from $170-million in 2005-06, according to TAPA.

Grim stuff. The final piece of today’s triptych comes from Seth Godin: The Critic Stumbles. His words:
For me, the opinion of any single critic is becoming less and less meaningful as I choose what to view or engage with. And the aggregate opinion of masses of anonymous critics merely tells me that the product or content is (or isn’t) mass-friendly. I’m far more moved by the insistent recommendation of a credible, raving fan than I am the snide whispering of some people who just didn’t get it.”

You see why these articles struck me as a fit together. All talk about needing to embrace new ways of fundraising, engaging, working. Some things to think about. Many in fact – think, talk, share, engage.

 

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