myfestival.com

Submitted by: Arts Enterprise - Bowling Green State University

(mentor: Nathaniel Zeisler)

In response to The Savvy Musician Challenge #2 

Attracting New Audiences.  Design a chamber music experience (4 players or less) that will engage new and untraditional audiences.  Describe your target demographic(s), why they will be interested, the event design, and marketing strategy.

If the arts are to reach new audiences, they must find a way to become relevant while still preserving the integrity and spirit of the artistic process.  In our world, we have a way of putting art on a shelf for preservation purposes.  However, with the rise of social media, global technology, and constant connectivity, this generation of artists has an incredible opportunity to connect with a vast number of new audiences, while at the same time being relevant and applicable to everyday life.  In the spirit of artistic collaboration, experimentation, and presentation, we propose the first ever online arts festival.

The Event

An online arts festival will utilize many of the services our generation already uses on a daily basis– video streaming, mobile apps, posts, and chat forums.  The beauty of an online festival is in its ability to run continuously, constantly being updated and expanded as to include music performance, visual art, poetry, and any other type of creative work from around the globe.  Artists submit work to the central website where it is screened and then displayed both on the site and via mobile apps that allow festival “attendees” to access images, videos, and writings.  Live performances from across the world will be broadcasted at scheduled times, with the option to purchase tickets to select premium performances with proceeds going to the artists themselves.  Those who “attend” the festival (i.e. visit the site page or download the apps), have the option of creating profiles that will suggest events, galleries, writings, and postings that they may find relevant to their interests, based on their viewing history.  In this sense, artists will be able to connect with audiences that find their work intriguing.

Our Process

This idea came out of a brainstorming session during which we discussed reasons why people don’t connect with the arts.  Some of the comments made include:

  • Formality of arts presentations
  • Impersonal performances (disconnect between audience and artist)
  • Lack of audience engagement
  • Predictability of performance or display
  • Length of performance or inconvenience

While these are not always true of arts performances, they echo a few of the concerns we have heard from our peers and non-music colleagues.  We believe that an online festival would break down these barriers and allow for a compromise, bringing art to the people in the same way that social media has allowed us to integrate instantaneous communication into our lives.

New Audiences: Gen Y

The target audience for this initiative is broad and vast.  Our thoughts gravitate toward young, tech savvy Generation Y-ers who find themselves indulging in and exploring on sites such as Pandora Radio, StumbleUpon, YouTube, Chat Roulette, and Facebook.  Creating a mobile app option for the Festival gives access to thousands of people who will tune in “on the go”.  This demographic may be more likely to take the risk on art and creative projects when they can access it at their convenience rather than physically traveling to attend an exhibit or performance.  The Internet makes for a safe place to explore new ideas, without having to commit.  Additionally, interested visitors can interact with artists and participate in discussions by leaving comments.  This type of interactive environment is also a characteristic of our demographic, and a feature that will help fuel the buzz for this continuous event.  Our strategy in approaching this unreached demographic was to bring art performance and exhibition into the world in which they live. 

Entrepreneurship

Not only will this event put the arts on a global stage, it will also inspire artists from across the globe to create and give them a space to share, sell, and communicate about their art.  In the spirit of entrepreneurship, an online music festival becomes a marketplace for artists.  Artists are able to find and communicate directly with their niche market, giving them a greater opportunity for success.  Broadcasting and sharing art across the world opens up a global marketplace for even local, small regional artists.  Not only will the Festival serve as a place for audiences and artists to connect, but also as a career development and entrepreneurial opportunity for many artists, giving them an entry point into the global market.

Conclusion

Art has always been a form of communication for society.  With the rise of the Internet and technologies, our means of social communication has rapidly developed.  While still preserving the integrity and overall purpose of the arts, we believe leveraging these new technologies will allow for even more collaboration and artistic distribution across the globe.  Art has always found inspiration from the convergence of varying cultures and ideas; an online festival therefore becomes the epitome of artistic creation and communication for the 21st century artist and his or her audience.

Arts Enterprise BGSU is a Bowling Green State University (OH) student organization dedicated to educating, promoting, and supporting emerging leaders who blend entrepreneurial thought and artistic creativity to inspire social growth and sustainable ventures. The chapter is an affiliate of the national Arts Enterprise network, and is one of seven chapters nationwide.

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