Chapter 11

Attracting 21st Century Arts Audiences: An Administrative Perspective of Arts Participation from Portland, Oregon

By Elizabeth Lamb

ABSTRACT: This chapter investigates the ways in which leading arts administrators in Portland, Oregon understand and encourage arts participation of Gen Xers and Millennials, individuals ages 11-43. By examining administrators’ perceptions of arts participation patterns of these age cohorts, the author identifies emerging modes of arts participation and arts programming models. The findings provide insight into programming trends, as well as guiding principles for arts administrators who are developing arts programming for the 21st century arts participant.

I am particularaly interested in how these questions apply to opera companies. What operas attract younger audiences? Is it the opera itself, or the way it is marketed that attracts them? Can “over-marketing” an opera lead to false expectations about what one will see in the opera house? The new Met HD marketing comes particularly to mind… Think about the ad for Die Walkure with Deborah Voigt and the horse. It has an aire of chic, sexiness that I think applies better to perfume adds than a 140 year old opera. No?

Zack Hayhurst 11.12.10 / 3pm

Thank you for your hard work! What excited me most about the chapter were the specific questions offered under the topic of accessibility. As a young (25 year-old) theater maker, I felt compelled to flesh out a questionnaire for the other two categories in your triad of principles. The following are suggested questions for determining relevance and engagement through interaction:

Relevance
• Objective: Why does the art/program/project matter?
• Personal: How does this relate to the mission of the organization?
• Local: How does this relate to your community/audience?
• Global: How does this relate to the greater art world? What does this contribute to the field?

Engagement through Interaction
• Are there opportunities for participants to become involved with content at multiple stages of development?
• Are there multiple levels* of engagement available?
• Do audiences share a sense of ownership in the work?

*Defining Multiple Levels of Engagement:
• Low-Active: Viewing and relating to the content.
• Moderate-Active: Understanding the inner workings of the content through increased education.
• High-Active: Taking personal role in creating the experience with the content.

I feel the need to answer these questions is just as important for artists as it is for administrators. Perhaps because I am young in the ways of creating my art I am hungry for some kind of rubric to keep me grounded. As mentioned in previous chapters of this great book, mentors are difficult to come by. Any advice on or suggested rephrasing of these additional questions would be welcome to me.

Thank you again for your work on this chapter!

Dani Loebs 3.1.11 / 8pm

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