As we revealed in a recent report, arts organizations are learning that the work they create can be more meaningful and relevant to their audiences depending on where it’s presented. Harkening back to a couple of centuries ago when gorgeous, bespoke, architecturally magnificent arts centers weren’t the norm, groups nationwide have been taking a more flexible approach to “where” art takes place, programming in innovative ways that connects with new audiences. It’s the era of, dare I say, “(W)Here Comes Everybody” (apologies to Clay Shirky).
Several opera companies around the world are shaking things up, sometimes dramatically. One company in Italy is performing opera on the beach! In Brooklyn, Loft Opera performs programs in unusual places at affordable prices – warehouses, studios, and lofts – something that is not new to art in the city, but is new to the “mainstream” opera of today.
Chamber music was written to be performed in, well, chambers, not concert halls, and those chambers were often people’s homes. While most of us can’t hire musicians to come play in our living room, arts organizations can, and many are now discovering how much audiences love it.
Some organizations are redefining what a concert experience can be. In Brooklyn, an old sawdust factory is being transformed into a combination night club, concert hall, and music studio featuring such establishment companies as the New York Philharmonic, among others.
The San Francisco Symphony has turned one of its rehearsal halls into a performance space complete with cocktails and mood lighting to attract a younger audience.
In Toronto, arts organizations have been turning train stations, abandoned factories, and even bustling malls into concert spaces.
These metamorphoses are not limited to music – on Chicago’s Southside, the Beverly Area Arts Alliance is turning long-vacant storefronts into art galleries.
These innovative approaches have the potential to breathe new life into organizations and art forms at a time when many artists have struggled to find their voice, their audience, and their place in a rapidly shifting culture. These are but a handful of the ways in which organizations are looking here, there, and everywhere to program and connect with their community.