In the “Arts & Extras” section of Sunday’s (12/20) Roanoke Times (Virginia), Mike Allen writes about 40 + 40, a successful arts and culture festival that took place throughout southwest Virginia this fall. Allen also reports on encouraging audience news from the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, which has been building audiences, unlike the overall trends outlined in the National Endowment for the Arts’ recently released study on shrinking audience participation in the arts. “A statement from the RSO said the orchestra has seen subscription increases in the past four years, including a 316 percent increase in subscriptions to its ‘Picnic at the Pops’ series, and a 37 percent increase in subscribers who buy ‘Symphony-to-the-Max,’ the package that includes all RSO’s concerts. The statement puts much credit at the feet of artistic director David Stewart Wiley for exploring ways to bring in diverse audience. RSO Executive Director Beth Pline said that so far this fiscal year, the symphony is operating in the black.”

Posted December 23, 2009