AMN’s Round-table Event Fit For a King

$$$ Launch Pad Event. Picture taken by Teri Lonier, Ph.D.

On Wednesday, February 22 at the 916 S. Wabash building from 6 – 8pm, the Arts Management Network (AMN) held a round-table discussion on revenue generation strategies in museums, photography, and journalism.  The AMN is focused on building connections between graduate students, Columbia, and Chicago’s art community.  AMN’s President, Caitlin O’Meara started the event out by introducing the three panelists: Robert Blanford, AEMM Faculty and Arts Management Consultant, Kerry Reid, Freelance Arts Journalist and Theater critic, and Rik Garrett, exhibiting fine art photographer, as well as the moderator, David Mallow.  David did an excellent job steering the conversation by directing specific questions to each of the panelists.

The Money, Money, Money Launch Pad panel covered an important and relevant topic for those in the arts.  It is not only important because of the economic state, but because the arts are a business after all.  Don’t get me wrong; I am part of the arts community because I believe in the value it provides to communities around the world.  However, the arts need to be monetized in someway or otherwise access would be dismal.

The discussion harbored the current economic state and different ways money is being generated today in the arts industries.  While it was clear that the panelists didn’t have all the answers, they did provide useful information.  I don’t think the event was meant to provide an exact path for emerging arts managers, but rather provide food for thought as they look to begin their careers.

Event poster designed by Alistair Porter.

Some of the topics discussed included:

  • Don’t make a five-year plan.  Everything as you know it will change.  Focus on the now and near future.
  • Banding together with other arts organizations to obtain funding.  Offer more value together than apart.
  • Media is heading toward the Internet, but it has been difficult to monetize.  This is where new media managers need to step up.
  • While technology is useful, make sure you are using it wisely.  Always keep your target audience in mind.
  • Kickstarter is an online crowd funding resource for emerging artists.  Kickstarter helps fund arts projects ranging from indie films, music, journalism, technology, and food related projects.
  • If you have real estate, think about renting your space.  Make strategic decisions about how you plan your organization’s calendar.  Rentals can be an excellent source of revenue.
  • There is a current online trend in telecasting/streaming.  Some organizations have started to make money in doing so.
  • Self-promotion through multiple sources of social-networking sites is key.  This will draw larger (regional/national/international) and more diverse audiences.
  • There hasn’t been much success monetizing interactivity outletw. However, it does enhance the patrons experience, which will increase brand loyalty.
  • Spending money on the arts is a choice.  If you want to gain a loyal audience, supply exceptional art.
  • Use statistics and quantifiable data to help make important decisions.
  • Embrace technology.  Some technology organizations started doing what they loved before they knew how they might monetize their business.  An example of this type of business is Facebook.

I’m looking forward to the next Launch Pad event : )