Archive for August, 2012

August 31, 2012

Film Recommendation and a Post Correction

Yesterday`s blog post title mentioned a job opp for Dance Current. It was incorrect – it should have said Request for Proposals to Provide Management Services, CADAC.

We regret the error.

Meetings and running around all day yesterday and suddenly around 2:00 everything was delivered, dropped off, done and I didn`t need to be at another meeting til 5:00. Visiting friends at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and was told I should go see a movie to fill in that time and that movie should be Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry.

Excellent recommendation. Go see.

Please note that Sue Edworthy Arts Planning will be closed for the Labour Day weekend. Have fun!

August 30, 2012

An Announcement from Metcalf and A Dance Current Job Op

Announcement: New Programs to Support Performing Arts – Town Hall Meetings, Metcalf Foundation

In June 2012, the Metcalf Foundation decided to bring down the curtain on their Strategic Initiatives funding program.  Over the past 12 years, Metcalf has awarded 115 SI grants to 84 different small and mid-sized professional performing arts companies in Toronto, representing a total financial commitment of over $11 million.

Metcalf remains committed to its work of building multi-year partnerships with organizations in the performing arts, conscious of the importance of a healthy performing arts sector to a strong and vibrant city.  During 2012, the Foundation has been examining the SI program in order to determine how we can be more effective with our support for these companies and build collective impact by enabling collaborative learning or activity.

In the fall of 2012, they will be announcing a significant new program to support the performing arts.  They will be presenting our framework for this new program in three town hall meetings.

September 11, 2012; 3:30 pm at The Citadel (the studios of Coleman Lemieux et compagnie, 304 Parliament Street at Dundas)

September 12, 2012; 12:00 pm at the Canadian Music Centre (20 St. Joseph Street, one block north of Wellesley at Yonge)

September 19, 2012; 9:30 am at The Fringe Creation Lab (720 Bathurst Street, Suite 403, south of Bloor

In addition to presenting the new program, the Foundation will be looking for important input from the sector regarding specific areas of focus for our work in the upcoming year.  Please RSVP for one of these town hall meetings by contacting Program Director Michael Jones ( or Grants Manager Heather Dunford


Request for Proposals to Provide Management Services, CADAC

CADAC is seeking an independent managing consultant to lead the organization through a pivotal period in its development and beyond. The consultant will work closely with the Board, members and stakeholders to manage all aspects of the not-for-profit’s business and guide the organization towards greater autonomy and sustainable self-sufficiency.  CADAC (Canadian Arts Data) is an independent not-for-profit corporation serving professional arts organizations and funding bodies at all levels of government across Canada.

The deadline for proposals is September 20th, 2012. The Request for Proposals is linked below.

August 28, 2012

Who You’re Posting to and How You Say It.

A while back I posted an article on timing your social media posts.

And now we have an excellent reminder from Creative Trust on talking to who you’re posting to.

From the post: The professional use of social media requires discussion, thought and – ultimately – policy guidelines about who speaks for your company and what they say. I’m not suggesting that you put a stranglehold on staff, requiring that all posts and tweets go through multiple layers of approval. But it’s important to know that your presence on social media reflects your organization’s values and purpose; that you know who’s posting and why; and that you decide how to turn critics into supporters.

Couldn’t agree more. This is why it’s wildly important to have a social media policy, it’s also equally important to find your voice. Figure out who you’re talking to and how they wish you’d communicate with them. Will they indeed be annoyed by the 2b or not 2b style of tweets mentioned by Creative Trust?

Fun fact: I usually am. The e-card below has been making the rounds for weeks now, and is the first thing that pops up on Google, so it’s not just me.

Sometimes you have more than one voice, let’s face it. Donors may get a different voice than ticket buyers than so and so. For those who claim it’s disingenuous – I have s feeling we all speak to our friends differently than our Grandmas. Still you – but a different voice.

Find your voice. Use it according to the situation at hand.



August 26, 2012

Sunday Roundup – August 26

And with that – there goes summer as we know it. September by the time we hit the next roundup – amazing.

Back to school, back to the theatre season – here we come!

Business is Booming and Introducing Camp Tech

From Toronto to Detroit

No, You Probably Couldn’t
Have a great summery Sunday – supposed to be hot out there!


August 24, 2012

No, You Probably Couldn’t

Many people don’t  necessarily appreciate what it takes to create art.

“I coulda done that!”

and I say, “No, you probably couldn’t.”

Happy Friday!

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August 22, 2012

From Toronto to Detroit

Couple of articles I read yesterday – both to do with arts organizations, both to do with fundraising, with very interesting results. First, in Toronto:

Now playing at smaller theatres: the handyman special

“Bricks and mortar – the ball has been dropped across the country, there’s no doubt,” said Bradley Moss, artistic director at Edmonton’s Theatre Network, a company that was forced by rising construction estimates, changes in its board membership and the recession to shelve plans for a major expansion of its building, a 1938 movie house.

“[The venues] are all tired and waiting to be renovated – or torn down.”

I agree. unless you’ve got folks behind you with vision, it’s sexier to make something new than patch up what already exists. I worked in a theatre where I walked in one day and my desk chair was gone. It was on-stage because it was of the era the play took place in.
I always say if I ever win the big jackpot, I will have my own arts foundation that funds things like new computers, office supplies, decent chairs for staff and I’d call it the Avery Foundation after the labels.

Now let’s go south of the border –  to Detroit?

Why Arts Managers Short of Cash Are Looking at Detroit

Mr. Beal went to the voters, asking the residents of Michigan’s Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties to pass a modest 10-year-long dedicated property-tax increase known as a “millage.” It would supply up to $23 million in public funding each year for the next decade—91% of the DIA’s annual operating budget—thus buying time for Mr. Beal and his colleagues to build up the museum’s operating endowment to the point where it can bring in sufficient income to pay the bills.

Read the rest of the article to find out if it worked. And have a good day.

August 20, 2012

Business is Booming and Introducing Camp Tech

Homebody goes into rehearsals next week, Proud goes into rehearsals next week, and I’ve signed on to work with two repeat clients that take me well into the new year.  Two social media for artists workshops coming up in the fall. I’m also working with a group out of Vancouver  – a piece for young audiences called Math Out Loud , aimed at high school students to show them how math affects everything in life from the curve of a river bed, to music to Escher. Click here for their promo video.

Jeez, business is good.

If I had time right now – I’d absolutely be going to this – Camp Tech. You’ve heard me brag about Avery Swartz before – she did my business cards and the logo you see on my website, did the design for Proud and is just all around darn good at what she does. Now she’s expanded her business – CAMP TECH.

Camp Tech offers practical, professional tech skills training in a fun & friendly environment. Our relaxed, informative, & hands-on classes in downtown Toronto are for anyone curious to learn more about technology.  Click here for classes in everything from Photoshop to html and SEO.

Nice going, Ms. Swartz.

I marvel every so often about the business I am in and the work that I do. I’m surrounded by talented, creative people and it makes me happy.  And now I’m off to lunch with uber-photog Dahlia Katz, before coming back and finishing cash flows and distribution plans (I didn’t say it was ALL glamorous…)



August 19, 2012

Sunday Roundup – August 19


Fall is coming, there’s a briskness in the air overnight, you need to take a sweater in the evening, and the Ex is in town. You can feel folks sliding slowly out of the long lazy days and into back-to-school mode.


Last week?

A Post, a Clarification, An Addition


When Did Marketing Become Important?

I’ve been hearing from folks that social media is supposed to be spontaneous! and funny! and casual! Fine. It can read that way, but it’s not that way behind the scenes. For some, social media is the only marketing you get to do – they don’t have your brochures, didn’t read the paper you advertised in, and haven’t seen your posters or postcards. Treat social media with the same kind of planning you do every other kind of marketing.

Some Sunday reading: Creating an Editorial Calendar for Social Media.

Couple of new books on my coffee table that I’ve absolutely loved: The Art of Racing in The Rain and Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers. I’m on the Paper Cow chapter right now. Happy Sunday!

August 16, 2012

When Did Marketing Become Important?

Fun toy for a Thursday  – Google Books Ngram Viewer.

When you enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books (e.g., “British English”, “English Fiction”, “French”) over the selected years.

So I punched in “marketing” and “advertising” to see what came up:


It’s always fun to look at graphs, and with this one determine just where MadMen sits within in. Then you can go a step further if you click on the date selections below the graph, you can find out which books they’re looking in.

1854 – The Handbook for Advertisers

1841 – Marketing Series, Issues 41-60

Fantastic. Have fun with it – if you come up with anything really cool, let me know.

August 15, 2012

A Post, a Clarification, An Addition


Post on Mission Paradox this week: Don’t Spin Yourself. Two sentences that struck me: To effectively market what you have, you must be able to see it clearly, and If I see the problems they I can create marketing that helps to deal with the problems.

And I was thinking maybe this post was a bit over-simplified – then again I come from the school of defensive pessimism,* so I tend to do this without even thinking about it – I got an email from the author:

Hi Sue

I want to expand on a blog post I wrote titled “Don’t Spin Yourself“.

There is a link between being able to see your art clearly and effective marketing.  If you can understand why people may come to your art exhibition AND why they may not come you can see some pretty dramatic improvements in your outcomes.

The way I make sure that I’m seeing art clearly is by using the pro/con approach.  Whenever I start the marketing process for art I create a list of pros and cons for each production.  For example, here is a pro/con list I created for a show being produced at my day job, August Wilson’s Jitney.


–  Strong history of producing August Wilson productions
–  Good relationship with target audiences, i.e. students, people of color, etc.
–  Good relationship with community partners, i.e. the Dusable Museum, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, etc.


–  The Chicago theatre scene is crowded in the month of September (when Jitney opens) may be difficult to get press attention
–  The bulk of the marketing for the show will take place in late August, a time when it is difficult to get our potential audience to pay attention because they are still in “summer” mode.
–  Top end ticket price is $65.  Is this too much for our target audience?
–  While August Wilson is popular, Jitney is one of his lesser known pieces.  It’s one of his few productions to NOT make it to Broadway.  Will we need to work harder to introduce this work to the public?

Please note that I try to make the list as specific as possible and that I try to include EVERYTHING that may hurt or help the art.  I think about the price, I think about the time of year the art is being produced, etc.

You should also notice that I list cons that I’m not even able to change.  I can’t change the time of year the show is being produced.  That decision is out my hands.  All I can do is make the best of it.

This pro/con list can help me (and you) figure out how to market the art.  For example, if I think it will be difficult to get press attention I may factor that into the revenue expectations for the show.  I may also increase the advertising budget to offset the lack of press attention.

If price is an issue, I may need to work on a limited time sale offer on tickets. You get the idea.

This pro/con list is a surprisingly simple and effective tool for great arts marketing.  Individual artists can do it, small arts organizations can do it, large organizations can do it.

Put your list together and see if it helps you make better marketing decision.

Great initial post, fabulous expansion on it. Love it. Probably because that’s pretty much how I work – I try to look for every possible angle to market to those who will come, lure in those who might come with the right assistance or incentive, and once I’ve determined who’s not coming no matter what – stop worrying about them.

I might at some out lay out a current marketing plan here that I’m working on. Maybe. Anyway – go and make your list!

*Oh stop judging. People like me are the reason the Worst Case Scenario Handbook exists. So next time you need to wrestle free of an alligator, don’t come crying to me.

(You punch it in the nose).

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