“While some people wait rapturously for the next episode of Game of Thrones, we at IP wait for the Wallace Foundation’s latest installment in its $52 million Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS) Stories series,” writes Mike Scutari in Friday’s (11/24) Inside Philanthropy. “Wallace’s initiative looks at efforts of performing arts organizations to attract and retain new audiences in ways that also contribute to their financial health. The foundation’s latest installment focuses on the Seattle Symphony and its efforts to engage new residents in a rapidly growing city….. The new normal was best summarized by the League of American Orchestras’ Jesse Rosen. ‘It’s shifting,’ he said [in 2016]. ‘It has been a transactional thing … Now, it is: What is the value we make in this community?’… The Seattle Symphony wasn’t immune from this shift…. The symphony suspected that its success would hinge on engaging Seattle’s downtown-dwelling ‘new urban cultural consumers [NUCCs].’… Stakeholders believed these NUCCs—mostly millennials with a smattering of Gen X-ers and Boomers—were out there waiting to be hooked, and so it channeled the ‘let’s get casual’ programming strategy … According to Wallace, the new programming may have contributed to a 40 increase in attendance in the 2016-2017 season.” Check out text and video from the Wallace Foundation about the Seattle Symphony’s audience research here.  

Posted November 28, 2017

Pictured: Ludovic Morlot leads the Seattle Symphony and International Contemporary Ensemble musicians in Giacinto Scelsi’s “Khoom” during one of the orchestra’s late-night [untitled] series of casual concerts in the Benaroya Hall lobby. Photo by Ben VanHouten