MayPic

The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe is primed to support more artists, reach more audiences, and bring more art to Philadelphia from around the world through year-round programming. Our new space on the Delaware River waterfront will feature a state-of-the-art theater, studio, administrative offices, and a restaurant/bar.

Art Place asked Live Arts: What have been your most effective strategies for attracting the attention of people who matter?

1) Get personal
Individual tours of the space before demolition have been a very effective way to get people’s attention. Our building was originally a High Pressure Fire Service station that pumped water throughout center city Philadelphia, protecting the city from catastrophic fires for over one hundred years. The original gas engine pumps remain, as well as pressure gauges and maps of the underground pipelines. Discussing with Producing Director Nick Stuccio about how our contemporary arts center will help preserve this historical landmark (when actually in the space) is a truly captivating experience. Tours allow potential supporters to really see the project at the beginning, they feel part of the journey, and can visualize how the space will be transformed to include a bar/restaurant, studio space, and a 225-seat theater. What is so important about these visits is that they are one-on-one, usually involving Nick and just one or two other people. Supporters who are already acquainted to your organization may prefer individualized attention, but as you’ll see from the next noted strategies, some people won’t hop on board until you make a splash.

2) Make it an event
These personal, individualized visits with our Producing Director are very important but sometimes a larger cultivation event can be more effective in attracting people who may not already have a strong connection to your organization. Events at a larger scale give board members and those who have already supported the opportunity to invite their colleagues and friends. Last Thursday, we held a catered event in the new space with displayed renderings and video. In the upcoming months, we will continue to have larger events, maybe even involving some hard hats!

3) Make the space come alive- integrate the space with what you do
We held an “Inside Look” event last Thursday with our past supporters and producers at our new building. We spoke about the building and our future, but the biggest part of the night was giving people the chance to meet Sylvain Èmard, one of the artists in the 2012 Live Arts Festival. He will be creating the largest performance in Festival history, Le Grand Continental, a festive 30-minute adventure that assembles 200+ local dancers of all ages and backgrounds to show off the talent, charisma, and personality of Philadelphia. Originally created for Montreal’s internationally renowned Festival TransAmèriques (FTA) in 2009, the Philadelphia version at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Plaza will be the largest presentation of its kind in the world. At the event, we showed a video of our Philadelphia recruitment sessions and Sylvain even taught everyone part of the dance! It was a fun way to get everyone actively involved in the type of art we hope to produce at the new space.

4) Goody bags go a long way
Live Arts has developed a 12-page capital campaign booklet that includes the overall timeline for the project, renderings of the transformed space, functions of the building, and our anticipated community impact. A brochure is a helpful tool for discussions and serves as a reminder for the potential supporter of their visit to the new space. A capital packet or brochure is also a great way to introduce new individuals to the project.

PHOTO: Producing Director Nick Stuccio stands by gas engines and pressure gauges in the High Pressure Fire Service Building, built in 1903, soon to be Live Arts’ new home.

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