On Friday and Saturday I went on my first business trip to the National Arts Marketing Conference at NYU presented by ArtsReach. It was geared more toward ticket office managers and marketing directors but I got plenty of ideas for the Curtis Crescendo Club, corporate and foundation giving, and even Recovering Oboist!
A potential pitfall of these types of marathon conferences is information overload and then never being able to implement anything. On the train back to Philly last night, I went through my notes from two full days of seminars and pared it down to what I can realistically start putting into action today.
The best sessions were with Donna Walker-Kuhne, Vice President of Marketing at NJPAC; Vince Ford, Director of Digital Media at the New York Philharmonic; and Jill Robinson, President of TRGArts. (Check out their site for webinars, case studies, white papers, etc.)
The most important part of the conference was networking and it was great to meet people from leading institutions including the New York Philharmonic, School of American Ballet, Apollo Theater, and the Park Avenue Armory.
This networking snagged me a comp to the Armory's sold-out Octophonie sound and light show. The performance was awesome in scope, technical expertise, and uniqueness. Kathinka Pasveer, who performed the music aspect, actually worked with Stockhausen for 20-some years. Stockhausen is important, whether you like him or not, so I'm very glad I got to experience it.
I also attended a faculty recital at Mannes and caught up with college friend Caitlin who just had a successful performance at Carnegie Hall and runs the growing InterHarmony Music Festival in Germany and Italy.
Importantly, I feel much more energized, optimistic, and I am ready to dive right back into all of the work I left waiting for me back here. The nonprofit performing arts sector is undoubtedly going through a lot of changes -- that's a fact, not an opinion. We are fortunate to have so many creative, talented, passionate, and capable people who are leading -- or soon will be leading -- the way. The possibilities of the present and future are very exciting and I'm so lucky that this is my work and my life.
Say what you want about New York City Opera's recent artistic and managerial decisions: They have one of the best thrift shops ever! I picked up a Free People sweater and a pretty little purse, each $15. Their store is on an excellent little strip of 23rd Street that includes the very high-end HousingWorks Thrift Shop as well as a Goodwill, Salvation Army, and SPCA thrift shops that aren't as ritzy but do have nice stuff.
Usually I don't have great luck with restaurants in New York because there are just so many. This time I did a little bit better: I'm a repeat customer at Pick-a-Bagel on 23rd and 3rd (great for thrifting pre- or post-game). After the conference ended, I wandered around and found myself in Little Italy, where I had some excellent, reasonably-priced gnocchi and charming service at Benito One. I will be back!