The Wallace Foundation has released the first in a new set of case studies analyzing strategies used by arts organizations to build audiences. Stemming from the foundation’s Wallace Excellence Awards initiative, the Wallace Studies in Building Arts Audiences series provides evidence-based information about audience engagement that can be applied by performing arts organizations including orchestras. The new study, Someone Who Speaks Their Language: How a Nontraditional Partner Brought New Audiences to Minnesota Opera, describes the opera company’s project testing new ways to attract women aged 35-60 to performances through a partnership with a local talk-radio host. The effort brought newcomers to performances and generated return visits.

The new study is the fifth in what will be a series of ten case studies about what it takes to engage audiences today. The first four are available free of charge at, with the remaining five studies to be released in 2015. Based on an analysis of the projects, nine practices were identified that arts organizations can use to increase audiences. The practices are explained in the foundation’s recently released publication The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences.

Posted December 23, 2014