Jazz Audiences Initiative
The Jazz Audiences Initiative will tackle fundamental questions about how and why people engage with jazz. Jazz artists and presenters nationwide will learn new ideas for building audiences, and infusing the art form with new energy. Over the next 21 months, the project team will research and test new strategies for overcoming barriers to jazz participation and for building jazz audiences through more targeted marketing and programming efforts.
Relatively little research has been done on jazz audiences and what they value. We know that jazz audiences are aging, jazz media outlets and festivals are fading, jazz organizations are struggling, and jazz musicians are overly burdened. In addition, the jazz field lacks meaningful opportunities to network and learn as a professional community.
Simultaneously, we know that in general, audiences crave participative, interactive and intimate experiences that they help create. They make last minute decisions to attend events, and subscription buyers have declined drastically. As more people look to create a “work-life” balance, they are interested in modest “perfect moments” as a result of experiences that are authentic, community-based and unforgettable.
The long-term sustainability of jazz depends on new knowledge and insight about the needs, attitudes and motivations of existing and potential audiences.
- What does “jazz” mean to people? How do people relate to jazz as an art form?
- How do people develop preferences for different forms of jazz?
- What are the pathways into the art form?
- How much “taste diversity” is there within the jazz audience?
- What kinds of live jazz experiences do people want?
- How does setting affect preference and attendance?
- What are the connections between attendance and personal practice?
The Jazz Audiences Initiative will be comprised of three main tracks:
Investigate and create deeper understanding of the musical tastes, and perceptions of jazz and music preferences, with particular attention on the language used to describe the music. This work will qualitatively explore the potential jazz market in Columbus. Research will begin by exploring how people construct preferences for different forms of music and especially jazz, and what language they use to describe it. This will involve comparing what styles of music people say they like, with how they respond to various types of music played when they actually hear it. In other words, we’ll see how their perceptions align with their actual tastes. This research will create a new vocabulary for describing jazz and will reveal how jazz artists and presenters can communicate about jazz more effectively.
Develop new segmentation models for current jazz audiences and potential jazz audiences.
This track will have two components:
1) survey current jazz audiences in a number of cities nationwide to understand their attitudes and behaviors related to jazz – knowledge and experience, modes of engagement, consumption patterns, preferences and tastes – and develop a new model of jazz audiences.
2) Develop a simpler “market model” for prospective jazz audiences by surveying music lovers in Columbus who do not attend live jazz concerts. These new tools will inform the development of new marketing and programming strategies to broaden the audience for jazz.
Topics to be investigated in the jazz segmentation research:
- Knowledge, experience, and familiarity with jazz
- Preferences for other genres of music
- Preferences for different styles of jazz/overall ability to express preferences for different types of jazz
- Past and current participatory involvement with music
- Past and current patterns of attendance at live jazz concerts
- Venues attended for live jazz concerts/setting preferences
- Ownership of jazz recordings in various formats/use of digital listening technologies
- Intentions or aspirations for future behavior – attendance, digital consumption, and personal practice
- Personal beliefs and core values related to culture
- Demographics are NOT allowed to drive the model
Nurture and sustain a community of practice. A vital element of the Jazz Audiences Initiative is developing and sustaining a learning group of project partners and jazz stakeholders to discuss and debate the use and implications of the research findings. To support this work, an online community will be created with discussion threads, message boards, research posts, music samples, and other data related to the project. The intent is to host meaningful conversations that support the project, and to translate research findings and lessons into support for the everyday work that happens in arts organizations. The jazz field is lacking in networking and convening opportunities and the “community of practice” will help fill that void during the Initiative and into the future. The community of practice will convene in Columbus in June 2011.
Implications of the market and segmentation work:
- Strategies for how to engage more people with jazz (all types of experiences)
- Ideas for what types of involvement opportunities (programs, venues) will speak to a larger constituency
- Ideas for how to message more effectively about jazz to current and potential audiences
- A multi-dimensional community of practice for jazz professionals supports ongoing dissemination of information and diffusion of effective new ideas and practices
Financial support has been secured from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Some matching funds have been secured from the Ohio Arts Council and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. The Jazz Education Network (JEN) and AllAboutJazz.com will provide in-kind support for disseminating the new knowledge.
Christy Farnbauch, Strategic Links, LLC, has been hired as the project director, with JAG Director of Marketing & Communications Scott Vezdos actively participating in the study. The team of highly skilled professional researchers with national and international credentials in helping organizations understand and use audience participation trends and data will include:
- Alan S. Brown, Principal; Rebecca Ratzkin, Consultant; and Jennifer Novak-Leonard, Senior Consultant, WolfBrown
Alan Brown is a leading researcher and management consultant in the nonprofit arts industry. He has studied audiences, visitors and patterns of cultural participation in almost every major market in the U.S. His work focuses on understanding consumer demand for cultural experiences and on helping cultural institutions, foundations and agencies to see new opportunities, make informed decisions and respond to changing conditions. He has authored numerous articles and reports on audience behaviors, trends in cultural participation, engagement practices and stakeholder value.
Recently, Alan has been writing and speaking about the value system surrounding arts experiences. His essay “An Architecture of Value” appeared in the spring 2006 edition of Grantmakers in the Arts Reader, and serves as the basis for keynote addresses at conferences in Chicago, Los Angeles, Auckland, Sydney, and Edinburgh in 2007.
Prior to his consulting career, Alan served for five years as Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, a multi-discipline performing arts presenter in Michigan. He holds three degrees from the University of Michigan: a Masters of Business Administration, a Masters of Music in Arts Administration and a Bachelors of Musical Arts in vocal performance. Alan makes his home in San Francisco, California with a yellow Labrador Retriever named Golden Brown.
Rebecca Ratzkin joined WolfBrown’s San Francisco office in 2008, bringing her unique outlook on arts and culture as it relates to economic and community development. Her interests and skills focus on bridging theory with practical and achievable solutions and seeing opportunity in the midst of the deepest challenges. With a background in arts administration and urban planning, Rebecca has applied her skills and experience to a variety of consulting projects, including feasibility studies, market research, and strategic and cultural planning. Her clients have ranged from small culturally-specific arts groups to children’s museums and arts districts. She has authored several articles and papers focusing on the role of the arts in community development.
Rebecca graduated with honors and Phi Beta Kappa from Oberlin College with a BA in art history, and completed a Master’s degree in urban planning from UCLA School of Public Policy. She is the recipient of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies Thesis Award and the California Planning Foundation Award. Rebecca has worked in various galleries and arts nonprofits, including Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles, and SOHO20 Chelsea in New York, and has been a member of Collage Ensemble, a Los Angeles artist collective. She also plays the clarinet, experiments in various art media, particularly photography, collage, and water color, and teaches yoga.
Having joined WolfBrown in 2007, Jennifer Novak-Leonard brings with her an excitement for an experience in applying rigorous research methodologies to cultural policy issues. Jennifer has been trained as an econometrician and as a dancer. She uses those experiences as a foundation for her research, which focuses on the nexus between art – in all forms – and its connection to broader public policy issues.
Jennifer is co-author of Arts and Culture in the Metropolis: Strategies for Sustainability (RAND, 2007) and a contributor to Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts (RAND, 2004). She is also co-author, with Alan Brown, of the 2007 WolfBrown report Assessing the Intrinsic Impacts of a Live Performance, commissioned by a consortium of major university presenters.
Jennifer is completing her PhD at the RAND Graduate School where she specializes in both cultural and immigration policy. Jennifer graduated from the University of Chicago with a Masters in Public Policy and holds BAs in Art History and International Relations from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
- Joe Heimlich, Professor and Specialist, OSU Extension@ COSI, and Senior Research Associate, Institute for Learning Innovation
Dr. Joe E. Heimlich
Dr. Joe Heimlich is a leader in the field of research and evaluation. He is a Professor at The Ohio State University and Senior Research Associate for the Institute for Learning Innovation. Heimlich is known for his work in teaching-learning exchange theory across the lifespan. He holds a doctorate in Adult Education and Learning Theory from The Ohio State University; M.A. in Policy Education; and a B.A. in Communication Arts, Theatre and Dance. He is the author of two widely used textbooks and of numerous academic journal articles. Heimlich serves on numerous national and international committees and boards, and is a past president of the North American Association for Environmental Education. Heimlich was recommend to JAG by Kerri Mollard, who observed and participated in the development of evaluation and assessment strategies for the Columbus Museum of Art. After meeting with Heimlich and learning more about his background and experiences, it was determined he would be well suited to assist in the key assessment strategies for the Jazz Academy.
- Jerry Yoshitomi, Chief Knowledge Officer, Meaning Matters, LLC
Gerald D. Yoshitomi
Gerald D. (Jerry) Yoshitomi is the Chief Knowledge Officer for his company, MeaningMatters, LLC. He has been engaged by foundations, public arts agencies, arts organizations and individual artists to read, research, and provoke innovative new practices, with just in time knowledge to increase:
-participation in the arts
-personal benefits and public value of the arts, artists and arts organizations
-adaptability, creativity and leadership in changing environments
-earned and contributed income
Methods from his writings/workshops have been successfully implemented by several thousand arts workers and arts organizations in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to increase attendance and earned/contributed income.
Mr. Yoshitomi is the facilitator for a collaborative of performing arts presenters at major U.S. research universities and served as facilitator for the START (State Arts Agency) Initiative of the Wallace Foundation, managed by Arts Midwest. He was Lead Consultant on Information and Network Strategies for LINC – Leveraging Investments in Creativity, a national initiative to improve the lives/conditions of artists. He chaired the National Task Force on Presenting and Touring the Performing Arts, resulting in the 1989 seminal report, An American Dialogue. Jerry chaired three panels at the National Endowment for the Arts, served four years on the California Arts Council, was Treasurer of the Music Center of Los Angeles County and was the Executive Director of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a Masters in Public Administration from Arizona State University.
National Research Partners with the Jazz Arts Group:
- Jazz St. Louis
- Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City
- San Francisco Jazz
- Monterey Jazz Festival
- Scullers Jazz Club, Boston
- Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
- Consortium of University Presenters w/ Jazz Ticket Buyers
National Information and Dissemination Partners:
About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation:
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and the prevention of child maltreatment, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.
The foundation’s Arts Program supports performing artists in contemporary dance, jazz and theatre, and the nonprofit arts organizations that nurture these artists and produce and present these art forms.
Christy Farnbauch, Director of Special Projects – Jazz Audiences Initiative
Christy Farnbauch is a community engagement strategist who is dedicated to helping people, organizations, and communities achieve their vision and goals. With over 20 years experience in non-profit leadership, Christy has extensive training in new ways to broaden, deepen, and diversify arts participation from a wide range of audiences, including ticket buyers, board members, artists, and donors. She facilitates planning conversations, designs training materials, and teaches workshops for organizations across the country and internationally. Christy served Ohio’s nonprofit arts and cultural organizations through her work at the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) between 1991 and 2004. As the OAC’s Community Development Director, she received extensive training in the area of recognizing, creating and communicating the public value of non-profit arts organizations through the Wallace Foundation’s START Executive Leadership Program. In 2003, Christy completed a nine-month fellowship with the Academy for Leadership and Governance, and she is currently facilitating the program with a group of ten mid-level non-profit leaders. Christy is a member of the American Association of Grant Professionals and has served as a grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, Ohio Department of Education, Columbus Foundation, and many state arts councils.
Robert Breithaupt, Executive Director
JAG Executive Director Robert Breithaupt enjoys one of America’s most diverse musical careers. While leading the Jazz Arts Group since 2001, he has also served as the drummer of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra since 1981. As a consultant and speaker, he promotes the organizational structure of JAG as a model to be replicated by other communities. Breithaupt is considered one of the nation’s leaders in music education. He is professor of music and department chair of jazz studies and music industry studies at Capital University, and has developed one of the most recognized undergraduate percussion programs in the United States, producing students that are successful in performing, teaching, and working in the music industry. He is the co-director of the Summer Drum Set Workshops; the author of the textbook, The Complete Percussionist, and the DVD titled Snare Drum Basics; and presents clinics and seminars worldwide. He is also a past-president of the Percussive Arts Society, the international society for drummers and percussionists. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Breithaupt was awarded Bowling Green State University’s Outstanding Graduate Award.
Carol Argiro, Managing Director, Director of Operations and Community Programs – Jazz Academy
Carol Argiro has worked in central Ohio non-profit arts since 1983. Argiro spent almost nine years at Dublin Arts Council (DAC), a multi-arts organization in a northwest suburb of Columbus, as Education Director. Argiro oversaw all education activities at the Council, including the development of public and school programs as well as at Dublin Arts Center, a community cultural arts facility. Prior to DAC, Argiro worked at Columbus Music Hall and assisted in the development of Firehouse Arts Resources, a non-profit organization that presented live music to audiences of all ages. Argiro has presented her work nationally, most recently at the American for the Arts annual convention in Las Vegas in June 2007, and has been published in the Journal of the National Art Education Association’s publication Art Education. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Japan America Society of Central Ohio and an active advocate for arts and education in the community. Argiro is a graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelors of Science in Organizational Communications.
Scott Vezdos, Director of Marketing & Communications
Scott Vezdos has spent close to 20 years in the non-profit arts sector including 10 years as a radio personality for WCBE Public Radio in Columbus and five years as Marketing Manager for KUNI/KHKE Public Radio, which quickly evolved into the Marketing Director for the statewide Iowa Public Radio network. He has spent time with the Drexel Theatres Group as Marketing Director and Special Events Coordinator leading the promotional efforts of the Drexel Theatre in Bexley, the Drexel Grandview and the Arena Grand Theatre. Vezdos is an honors graduate of the Max M. Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University with a B.S.B.A in Marketing and Communications. He is also an executive committee member of the Columbus Arts Marketing Association (CAMA).