Wednesday, May 1, 2013

This blog has moved.

Hi there reader,

Analysis from TRG Arts is now located on the new TRG Arts website, so come on over and join us there.

If you're reading this message on a RSS feed reader, please re-subscribe to this blog (and other TRG content feeds) by clicking here.

Thanks for reading and we hope to see you soon on our new site.

The TRG Arts blog team

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

We're moving! New TRG Arts website coming soon

At the beginning of May, TRG's website and blog will unite on the same site, with a new look and feel.

This means that the Analysis from TRG Arts blog will no longer be on blogspot and this URL will re-direct you to the new blog. If you access this blog through RSS, you will need to subscribe to the new blogand we hope you will!

We've made this move simply to house all of our content under one roof, so you can access blog posts alongside case studies, webinar recordings, and more. You'll be able to browse by artistic genre and topics such as "dynamic pricing". You'll still have access every blog post all the way back to the beginning on the new site.  And, of course, we'll continue to bring you new insights on cultural consumer behavior from all your favorite contributors.

The new website is located at the same URL as the current one ( It will feature:
  • New and updated information on who we are and what we do
  • Staff profiles, so you can get to know our expert team better
  • Better player for recorded webinars
  • Ways to browse blog posts alongside case studies, webinar recordings, and more by topic and artistic genre.
  • And more!
We can't wait for you to visit us at and check out our new look. See you soon!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Risk of Free

Photo via flickr
Some time ago I had a conversation with a theatre manager who had expressed an interest in TRG’s ticket pricing counsel.  The more we talked, the more agitated she became.  She nervously offered that her artistic director would NEVER allow pricing strategies like this happen at her theater. I, laughing, joked, “Oh my.  Your artistic director is a socialist?”  With great seriousness, she replied, “Absolutely not!  He is a communist!  He believes that every ticket should be FREE!”

The argument surrounding free and deeply discounted tickets has been around forever. The Dallas Museum of Art kicked off another round of conversation when they recently announced their decision to provide everyday free admission to everyone.  Museum memberships will also become free, with visitors actively encouraged to join using a very slick electronic system located at entry points to the museum.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Profile in Bravery

Sharon Gersten Luckman.
Photo by Paul Kolnik.
TRG President Jill Robinson and I recently hosted an online webinar entitled “Make Time to Make Money.”  Our central thesis was the need for arts managers to stop trying to do everything and focus on those strategies that can truly move the institutional needle of success. 

Based on considerable feedback, one of my closing remarks apparently hit a nerve for many participants when I admonished the group to “Be Brave.”  Because organizational and industry needs are so great (and feel more dire with each passing week), insignificant or incremental change simply will not get the job done.

It was in that context that I received an invitation to attend a celebration honoring Sharon Gersten Luckman who is retiring as Executive Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  When reading the invitation, it hit me.  Sharon is the perfect example of what I had in mind when describing bravery on the front lines of arts management. 

First, a bit of background.  The Ailey company is a genuine national treasure.  They are big, influential and driven by a powerful brand based on artistic genius, a storied tradition of excellence and the deep passion required to create a uniquely great American institution. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stressed out? You're not alone.

Photo by Eamon Curry via flickr
Lack of time, money and proper staff get in the way of arts and cultural organizations achieving their top priority goals, TRG Arts found in its recent survey of the consulting firm’s eNews recipients, Twitter followers, and blog readers. By the numbers:

•    Too many activities, too little time (53%) – Priorities conflict and as one respondent aptly put it, “I can’t do anything right when I’m doing everything at the same time.”
•    Financial constraints (44%) of insufficient funding and not enough revenue are age-old issues that recent economic factors appear to have exacerbated.  Organizations of all sizes and genres say they cannot afford what they need.
•    People problems (45%) – Not enough or not the right staff, causing these three institutional shortcomings:
     o    Poor collaboration between staff peers and partners
     o    Ineffective leadership that imposes top-down pressures, provides too little or unclear direction and sets unrealistic expectations.
     o    Lack of skills/training staff need to be successful, especially in technology, campaigns, and database activities.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Upcoming Webinar: Make Time to Make Money

Word cloud created from an open-ended TRG survey question on
the greatest challenge practitioners face. Created via tagxedo.
Title: Make Time to Make Money
Date: Wednesday, February 27
Time: 2-3 p.m. EST/11 a.m.-noon PST
Cost: Free--register here.

A recent TRG survey suggests that if you’re stressed out by competing critical priorities and dealing with too many challenges to achieve them, you are not alone. The survey shows a snapshot of arts practitioners pulled in many directions – too many to focus on and still meet big objectives around patronage and revenue.

In this one-hour TRG.Rx webinar, TRG’s CEO Rick Lester and President Jill Robinson prescribe must-do actions to get your organization on track to succeed in 2013.

You’ll learn:
•  What kinds of activities you can stop doing
•  How you can start making patron-based decisions that generate greater and longer lasting revenue
•  Why patron data can help you clear your schedule for activities that matter most

Assemble your colleagues and plan to attend together because we’ll be answering the kinds of questions that your whole team wants hear. Plus, learn about free post-webinar one-to-one consultations that TRG is offering for a limited time to organizations that participate in this webinar.

TRG CEO Rick Lester and President Jill
Robinson team up to lead this new webinar.
To Register:
1. Click here to register at GoToWebinar.
2. Fill in the short form and SUBMIT.
3. You will receive log-in information for the webinar in the confirmation email.

Mark your calendar; mind your time zone:
Wednesday, February 27
11 a.m. Pacific
Noon Mountain
1 p.m. Central
2 p.m. Eastern

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

TRG Arts Partners with new National Center for Arts Research

TRG Arts is pleased to announce its consulting partnership with
the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Southern Methodist University announced yesterday that its Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business are leading a collaboration with the Cultural Data Project (CDP) and numerous other partners to create a National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) at SMU. The center, the first of its kind in the nation, will analyze the largest database of arts research ever assembled, investigate important issues in arts management and patronage, and make its findings available to arts leaders, funders, policymakers, researchers and the general public.

The vision of NCAR is to act as a catalyst for the transformation and sustainability of the national arts and cultural community.