Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ownership, Collaboration and Participation

The Flynn Center for Performing Arts received the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Innovation grant. As a MFA graduate student, I have been given the tremendous opportunity to work with their Innovation Lab through a partnership with the Emergent Media Center.

I recently attended their 5-day Intensive Week at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, VA. The goal of the intensive week was to investigate ways to stimulate a deeper engagement with their diverse community of stakeholders through online communication strategies. This innovative process would strengthen and embrace new media through the variety of ways we interface with the community.

Arts organizations are confronted with rapidly evolving online user generated content and it is essential that they use new media tools.

Audiences are yearning for a meaningful and participatory online experience. They are no longer satisfied to simply observe. Ben Cameron, Program Director, at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, also attended the intensive week. He stated, “Audience members are hungry for unmediated conversation.”

During the Intensive Week we metaphorically described this extended engagement as “Animating the Arc.” This would extend our communities’ experiences before, during and after the events, utilize video, interactivity and an enriched social media strategy, increasing the communities’ ownership, collaboration and participation in the artistic experience.

Chad Bauman, the communications director at Arena Stage in Washington D.C was graciously able to attend the retreat. His knowledge and experience helped increase our understanding of three major components needed for the undertaking of this innovation journey.

1. Organizational integration: How does an organization improve internal communication to expand on individual exceptional work? How can an organization embrace partners and stakeholders through multi-channel interconnectivity?

2. Mobile integration: Smart phones are becoming a key method to reach out to arts organizations. In order for ease and accessibility, an organization’s website must be smart phone friendly.

3. Social Media integration: The Web. 2.0 environment is friending, blogging and tweeting at a rapid rate. Organizations must take an active role in this online space in order to “Animate the Arc,” especially to engage younger demographics.

My experience with the Flynn has been extremely rewarding. They are at the leading edge for arts organizations in this country. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to help their mission of expanding relationships, deepening engagement and sharing experiences with their communities. I was inspired by the diverse and collaborative innovation team members including, John Killacky, Executive Director of the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, board members, and staff. Their passion and motivation was electric. It is my pleasure and honor as an MFA graduate student, working with the EMC, to support the Flynn internally and externally by embracing new media in this innovative process.

Check out:

The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts on Facebook

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