Expanding Audiences and Cultural Participation

Audience Development Initiative

Over the past five years, the eyes of the world have turned to Staten Island in a way never before experienced. The attention is not just because of The Wheel, Empire Outlets, or Lighthouse Point. The NYC Department of City Planning projects that the borough’s population figures will grow by 4% by 2020 through an influx of new residents seeking space, greenery in “The Borough of Parks” and less expensive rental and sales prices for real estate. Ethnic demographics are changing, too. The island’s population now include new immigrants from Sri Lanka, Eastern Europe, Africa and Mexico – shifting the long-held statistic that 75% of the island is Caucasian.
This growth presents an exciting new chapter for Staten Island but also renders challenges and highlights long-standing issues. For the cultural community, this includes audience development and diversity: a challenge has been not just to reach a different ethnic demographic but also to capture residents who are not arts inclined or engaged with local cultural resources.
Staten Island Arts is addressing these challenges by creating a new initiative to provide technical, professional and financial resources enabling cultural organizations (from emerging to established) to better market their work, build strong relationships with both existing constituents and unfamiliar communities, and welcome new audiences. This initiative, “Expanding Audiences and Cultural Participation,” is made possible through the generosity of New York Community Trust, the Staten Island Foundation, and the Altman Foundation.
Over the next 22 months, “Expanding Audiences and Cultural Participation” will provide training in the areas of audience development (including marketing, relationship management, program development, and community building) and professional development (grant writing, graphic design) so that 25 local organizations can deepen their thinking around audience development to achieve a broad reach on the island and beyond.
The centerpiece of the “Expanding Audiences and Cultural Participation” will be a regrant program through which Staten Island-based organizations will be eligible to receive funding for the creation of audience development strategies to be implemented throughout 2018. $335,000 in regrant funding is available for distribution. The intent is to support sustainable approaches that have not previously been possible or that the organization has not tried before. In order to be eligible for regrant funds, organizations will participate in a series of professional development workshops taking place July-September 2017. Organizations will receive a $300 stipend for participation.
Staten Island Arts is thrilled that this initiative will provide Richmond County artists and administrators with the opportunity to work with Donna Walker-Kuhne and the staff of Walker International Communications Group. Ms. Walker-Kuhne has been acknowledged by the Arts and Business Council as the foremost expert on audience diversification in the United States. She currently consults as Senior Advisor, Community Engagement at New Jersey Performing Arts Center and was formerly Director of Marketing and Audience Development for The Public Theater and Director of Marketing for Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Participants for the professional development workshops will be chosen after submission of a Request for Participation.
Download the Request for Participation Form here>
The Form must be submitted to Executive Director Elizabeth Bennett at ebennett@statenislandarts.org by June 30, 2017. All those with questions are encouraged to contact Ms. Bennett via email or by phone at (718) 447-3329 x 1002.