Friday, March 13, 2009

Artists as Public Programmers - is this about audience?

artist,  public program, museum, phil ross, critter salon, maria mortati

Building on the theme for the week of exploring the role of artists who “do” public programs, I began to wonder if this was a question of demographics and audience? I mean, look at the picture above- everyone is in their 20’s - 40’s, and possibly single or newly married.

Which got me to thinking about other public programs that aren’t held in museums which reach a similar demographic- science cafés. I love the idea, and went to a fun and informative science cafe session at ASTC last fall (I made a comic about it, you can find it, and DIY links here).

Ever since, I’ve been encouraging clients to pursue this particular audience through such a mechanism (going to them, or catering to their lifestyle). I mean, why should kids have all the fun?

It’s pretty clear that “in this economy”, folks are looking to do more with less, and closer to home. This could be a silver lining for museums- especially small ones. Take advantage of the moment and start a relationship with a local bar or restaurant. Start a science lecture series or art or whatever. Great resources and examples abound for how and why.

Which is what I think artists are doing. However, their interest isn’t geared so much at reaching a certain demographic-- that just IS their demographic.

Phil Ross wants to understand modern science, and as part of his process, he’s making it accessible.

Isn’t that what your museum wants to do?

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