Foundations partner to share learnings on innovative audience-building strategies for the arts
Book commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the United States’ Cleveland Foundation released online today
RELEASE DATE: 9.11.2015
LONDON AND CLEVELAND – Attracting and retaining new audiences is one of the most important challenges for arts organizations in the UK, Europe, the United States, and worldwide. The United States’ Cleveland Foundation (in Cleveland, Ohio) and Great Britain’s Paul Hamlyn Foundation (in London, England) have each focused grantmaking on empowering local arts organizations in their communities to attempt new and creative ways to develop their audiences of the future.
Both foundations have received national acclaim for their efforts and decided to more broadly share their learnings and innovative strategies by commissioning a book. “Imagining Arts Organizations for New Audiences” by respected evaluation consultant Annabel Jackson was released online today. It highlights 14 case studies of innovative audience development approaches led by arts organizations that the foundations funded in their communities.
Arts and culture is one of the grantmaking priority areas for the 101-year old Cleveland Foundation, the world’s first community foundation. Arts and culture support makes up approximately 10 percent of its $95 million in annual grantmaking. The foundation’s Engaging the Future initiative ran from July 2011 through September 2014 and was specifically designed to empower local arts organizations to test approaches to reach younger and more diverse audiences.
Most of the Cleveland arts organizations profiled in the book also participated in Engaging the Future. The highlighted organizations include: The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Public Theatre, DANCECleveland, GroundWorks, Great Lakes Theater and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland.
“The Cleveland Foundation has been so impressed by the innovative work undertaken by the arts organizations in our Engaging the Future initiative and we are proud to showcase their accomplishments alongside those of similarly important British cultural institutions,” said Kathleen Cerveny, Program Director for Institutional Learning and Arts Initiatives at the Cleveland Foundation. “Annabel Jackson has conceived a view of audience development for the arts from within and throughout the structure of these organizations that often requires doing business very differently, even to the point of changing the organization’s internal culture. We hope that these case studies, while unique to each organization’s goals and situation, will offer a fresh perspective for others seeking to engage new audiences in their creative offerings.”
The Paul Hamlyn Foundation was established in 1987 and is one of the largest independent grantmaking organizations in the United Kingdom. It focuses on helping people realize their potential and improve quality of life through the arts, education and social projects. A substantial part of its £20 million in annual grantmaking supports projects that allow communities to access, enjoy and benefit from the arts.
Organizations funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation that are profiled in the book are: BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the National Theatre, Opera North, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Shakespeare Company, Sadler’s Wells and Tate in the U.K..
“Paul Hamlyn Foundation is delighted to have jointly commissioned this book from Annabel Jackson with the Cleveland Foundation. We have known Annabel for years and respected her work. Indeed, she has supported many organisations we know (and, in some cases, fund),” said Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Director, Grants & Programmes, Régis Cochefert.
“As part of the new strategy that we launched in June 2015, arts evidence and the understanding of impact are amongst our main themes – together with access & participation in the arts. This close look at particular case studies – and the opportunity to compare and contrast US and UK approaches within a broader framework on thoughts and reflections – felt like an opportunity too good to resist and we are delighted to have played our part in contributing to a lively debate through this book.
“Audience development, retention of audiences and working with hard-to-reach communities, groups and individual are as important as ever – if not more – in a context of reduced public subsidies in the UK. It is something we care passionately about and is very much in the DNA of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. We very much hope that Annabel’s book will become a springboard for action in the arts and culture ecosystems across the United Kingdom,” Cochefert said.
The book’s author, Annabel Jackson, has an evaluation practice that specializes in evaluating arts and culture, and working with – and building capacity in – arts organizations. Jackson is the co-chair of the American Evaluation Association, Arts Culture and Audiences Topical Interest Group.
In the forward to the book, she outlines her goal for the project, “This book is not intended to be prescriptive. It is a source of ideas and practical principles, not of rules. I see new audience development as urgent, as others have described it, but also as fundamentally positive and full of choices…New audience development is not a threat to organizational integrity, but rather a process of reimagining the organization’s work while being rooted in its essence.”
* * *
Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.2 billion and 2014 grants of $98 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – economic transformation, public-school improvement, youth development, neighborhood revitalization, and arts advancement – and responds to the community’s needs.
Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Paul Hamlyn Foundation was established by publisher and philanthropist, Paul Hamlyn, in 1987. Upon his death in 2001, he left most of his estate to the Foundation, creating one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in the UK. The value of the endowment is currently around £675 million, and annual spend from 2015 is expected to be around £25 million. The Foundation’s mission is to help people overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity, so that they can realise their potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives. It has a particular interest in supporting young people and a strong belief in the importance of the arts.
For more information on Paul Hamlyn Foundation, visit www.phf.org.uk