Creative news and views for May 23, 2012


Using collaboration and shared learning to help performing arts companies


Build Capacity   Build Audiences   Build Spaces

So you think you can attend dance performances Canada

“Dance Sees Remarkable Increase in Attendance” according to The Value of Presenting study on dance attendance in Canada, which says that dance attendance by Canadians has grown to 15% in 2011 from about 5% in 1992, in the first Canadian national data on dance attendance available in 14 years. (Dance Attendance Supplementary Analysis ) I don’t know whether Toronto companies have seen this surge at their own box offices (somehow I’d be surprised…) but the report traces this cross-Canada growth to the popularity of TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, and Dancing with the Stars.


As an old (did I mean to say that?) dance manager I am interested in this idea, which was also a strong theme in Creative Trust’s Audience Engagement Survey and Alan Brown’s Ontario Arts Engagement Study for the Ontario Arts Council. Both found a strong connection between  more



Does size matter? 


Not as much as typeface, it turns out, when writing fundraising letters. We’ve read for years that using serif fonts in funding appeals yields higher returns. Perhaps like me, you’ve considered that information, shook your head, and continued using Verdana or Arial.


A new piece of research, discussed here on U.K. fundraiser Mark Phillips’ blog, shows that a serif font like Garamond or Bodoni, because it’s harder to read, causes people to slow down, focus, retain more information – and respond by writing a cheque!


It’s worth testing this out for your end of season appeal.


Thanks to my favorite fundraising website SOFII for the tip.



Joining forces to build audiences


What happens when an arts community comes together to learn how to build audiences? What we’ve seen during Creative Trust’s groundbreaking 3-year Audiences Project – which ends this month – is new skills that are immediately put into practice in the work place; more compelling communications between performing arts companies and their audiences; an increasingly effective use of social media; a deeper reliance on research to inform practice; and steady or growing audiences during an economic downturn.


The Audiences Project is the most in-depth and multifaceted community audience development initiative in Canada. It has raised the bar in Toronto and, we hope, more



Get Smart: So much to learn, so few hours in the day


I have tried, my friends, to keep you informed of workshops and events at the Centre for Social Innovation. But now that we have two spaces, at 215 Spadina and 720 Bathurst with a third opening soon at Regent Park, I realize it’s impossible. From Project Wildfire’s learning sessions for small businesses, to TechSoup’s technology offerings and social media meet ups, to PopUp Labs’ social innovation workshops, to legal clinics, to some of the most inspiring speakers in town, to…well, you get the picture. So it’s over to you. I urge you all to stay plugged in to this wealth of opportunity by immediately signing up for CSI’s newsletter, joining their facebook page or following them on twitter.




@ the Centre for Social Innovation