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“An Introduction to Engaging Diverse Audiences”: A Useful Guide to Start

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In light of recent reports about best practices on audience diversity, Oregon’s Regional Arts and Culture’s Council (RACC) just published “An Introduction to Engaging Diverse Audiences”  which isstructured as a toolkit to help organizations tackle the diversity and inclusion challenge. The report encompasses six “building blocks” (Establishing a Foundation, Assessing Your Current Audience, Defining Audience Segments, Determining Programming and Events, Developing Marketing and Communications Plan, and Evaluating Progress) that serve both as a guide and check list of tactics an organization can use to strengthen their efforts towards broadly diversifying their audiences.

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“Making Meaningful Connections”: Working Towards Achieving Diversity

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Irvine Foundation just released its latest report “Making Meaningful Connections: Characteristics of arts groups that engage new and diverse participants” authored by Helicon Collaborative. It is a comprehensive analysis of best practices implemented by cultural institutions that are effective at engaging diverse audiences in a broad sense, although it focuses more on ethnic minorities. There are not many research studies focusing on the engagement of ethnic minorities in the cultural sector, so this report will be invaluable to deepen the thinking on what organizations need to change in order to remain relevant in a changing society. Bravo Irvine and Helicon!

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Bilingual Communications: More Than Just Access To Content

IMG_0913The Bilingual Exhibit Research Initiative (BERI) just published a study (PDF) that aimed to better understand current practices in bilingual exhibitions and Spanish-speaking visitors’ uses and perceptions of bilingual exhibitions. The project was funded by the National Science Foundation through the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, and lead by Steven Yalowitz (a brilliant museum evaluator) and Cecilia Garibay (one of the strongest voices in the country on informal science education with minority groups). Some of the most fascinating insights from this study resonate with something we at Contemporanea have been saying for some time now: that the most important outcome of bilingual interpretation is not the functional need it fulfills, but the emotional one.

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The Never-Ending Refinement in Surveying Audiences

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The NEA released its latest Survey of Public Participation in the Arts in late September, 2013. One of the key findings is that “Non-white and Hispanic Americans saw no declines in their arts attendance rates from 2008 to 2012.” We already know that the recession made people more selective in their decisions on arts participation, but this finding at first seems counter-intuitive to me.

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“Upscale Latinos” and cultural participation

Neilsen studyAlthough the label “upscale” sounds a bit misplaced in this recent Nielsen study, what is important is that we are starting (finally!) to see segmented analysis within the Latino population. 50 million (+) of Latinos in the US are not a monolithic bloc and we need to understand the nuances.
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What 2013 looks like for Contemporanea

hearst-buildingRenovarse o morir (renew or die)! That’s our motto for 2013. In that spirit, we have some news to share with you:

1. We moved! Although the physical move is not too dramatic (we stayed in SOMA), the new office feels completely different. Check our new address in the historic Hearst Building!
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The SF Symphony embraces community

The SF Symphony’s Día de los Muertos Community Concert will celebrate its 5th year engaging the Latino community in a stronger way. This year’s concert for the first time will highlight the SF Youth Orchestra and the SF Chorus, as well as Viva Fest as co-presenters.
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New Study on Latino (or should we say Hispanic?) Identity Released by Pew Hispanic.

One of the most common questions we get is whether people should use “Latino” or “Hispanic”. Well, based on the latest study by Pew Hispanic the answer is neither. The majority of Latinos prefer to use their, or their family, country of origin.

This is just one of the findings of this study, that is fast becoming a must if you are interested in understanding this growing population. Click here for the study, or find an abstract below: Continue Reading

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Participatory Arts among Immigrant Communities

With so much attention currently on participatory engagement in the arts, we thought it important to go back to the way immigrant communities all around the globe have created and celebrated the arts in their communities.

Participatory arts have always been the norm among many immigrant communities, as a way of preserving their cultural identities. Although a bit old, here’s an excellent study on the way immigrants create participatory arts experiences.

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Getting in on the Act Study released by James Irvine Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation released the study Getting in on the Act, conducted by WolfBrown, which defines the audience involvement spectrum from merely spectators to the audience as an artist.

In our point of view, this study, based on case studies from more than 100 arts groups in the US, UK and Australia, is important to understand trends in audience participation and to recognize that there are many ways of engaging in the arts. Passive contemplation has not been the norm all along.

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