Arts organizations once sought patrons primarily from among the wealthy and well educated, but for many decades now they have revised their goals as they seek to broaden their audiences. Today, museums, orchestras, dance companies, theaters, and community cultural centers try to involve a variety of people in the arts. They strive to attract a more racially and ethnically diverse group of people, those from a broader range of economic backgrounds, new immigrants, families, and youth.
The chapters in this book draw on interviews with leaders, staff, volunteers, and audience members from eighty-five nonprofit cultural organizations to explore how they are trying to increase participation and the extent to which they have been successful. The insiders' accounts point to the opportunities and challenges involved in such efforts, from the reinvention of programs and creation of new activities, to the addition of new departments and staff dynamics, to partnerships with new groups. The authors differentiate between "relational" and "transactional" practices, the former term describing efforts to build connections with local communities and the latter describing efforts to create new consumer markets for cultural products. In both cases, arts leaders report that, although positive results are difficult to measure conclusively, long-term efforts bring better outcomes than short-term activities.
The organizations discussed include large, medium, and small nonprofits located in urban, suburban, and rural areas—from large institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the San Francisco Symphony to many cultural organizations that are smaller, but often known nationally for their innovative work, such as AS220, The Loft Literary Center, Armory Center for the Arts, Appalshop, and the Western Folklife Center.
About the Author
Diane Grams, a sociologist and former museum director, directed this project through the Cultural Policy Center at The University of Chicago.
Betty Farrell, associate director of the M.A. Program in Social Sciences and senior lecturer at The University of Chicago, works on the sociology of culture.
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tables ix
Introduction Diane Grams Betty Farrell 1
Building Arts Participation through Transactions, Relationships, or Both Diane Grams 13
Changing Culture and Practices Inside Organizations Betty Farrell 38
Leaders Bridging the Culture Gap D. Carroll Joynes Diane Grams 64
Partnering with Purpose David Karraker Diane Grams 91
Building Youth Participation Betty Farrell 114
Diversifying the Arts: Bringing in Race and Ethnic Perspectives Morris Fred Betty Farrell 143
High-Tech Transactions and Cyber-Communities Wendy Leigh Norris Diane Grams 171
Creative Reinvention: From "One Book" to "Animals on Parade"-How Good Ideas Spread Like Wildfire Diane Grams 194
Achieving Success Diane Grams 221
Postscript Diane Grams Betty Farrell 248
List of Interviews Cited 271
Notes on Contributors 279