TRG Arts and BON Culture to come together to form international arts consultancy
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TRG Blog: Analysis from TRG Arts

TRG Arts and BON Culture to come together to form international arts consultancy

Amelia Northrup-Simpson | January 11, 2017 5:00 PM


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UK-based arts consultancy BON Culture is merging with US-based TRG Arts to create an international firm focused on increasing the resilience of the arts sector. From March 2017 the company will be known throughout the world as TRG Arts, with the former BON team establishing TRG’s UK and Europe office.

The integration of BON’s team enhances TRG’s position as the world’s leading experts in patron loyalty and demand management for the arts. A new office in London will better serve existing and new consulting clients in the UK and Europe. The new office will also continue to deliver major industry conferences and provide subsidized support services to the National Campaign for the Arts (NCA).

BON Director David Brownlee will join the TRG senior leadership team and serve as Vice President for the UK and Europe. His fellow BON Director Mari O’Neill will become TRG’s Director of UK Operations, overseeing the conference program and support for the NCA.

In 2017 the UK and Europe team will be enhanced by TRG’s Vice President of Client Development, Lindsay Anderson, who for one year will help establish the new office and act as a lead consultant for UK and European clients.

As well as training more than 40 UK CEO’s at Masterclasses promoted by BON, in the last 18 months TRG has worked with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, and the Rose Theatre Kingston and has ongoing consultancy partnerships with the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, Sheffield Theatres, and Nottingham Playhouse.

David Brownlee commented: “Very soon after we established BON it became clear that TRG Arts had skills and experience that could be transformative for UK arts organizations. The more we have worked with them, the more we have got to know and like their incredibly talented and friendly team and been impressed by the phenomenal results that have been delivered for clients all over the world. This coming together is a natural progression from what has been a highly successful partnership, that should better serve the needs of clients in the UK and around Europe and provide more capacity to satisfy the amazing demand for TRG’s services.”

TRG’s President & CEO Jill Robinson added: “As we have become more familiar with the UK arts and cultural sector in the last two years, we’ve realized that the UK has developed something very special that should be safeguarded and cherished. Arts and cultural organizations in the UK and beyond can be sustained and sustainable. I am delighted that by coming together with BON we will not only be able to help arts organizations increase their revenues from box office and individual giving but also facilitate the NCA’s work to increase public understanding and support for the local and national government funding that helps make the UK’s cultural sector a world leader.”


TRG Arts will formally launch in the UK on Thursday 23 March 2017 with a simultaneous event in London and the TRG Arts Center for Results in Colorado Springs, Colorado. TRG will then hold its fourth CEO Masterclass in Manchester on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 March.


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For further information in the UK & Europe contact Gemma Nelson
020 7438 2040. In North America please contact Amelia Northrup-Simpson 719-684-3164.


Notes to Editors


TRG Arts

The Results Group for the Arts (TRG Arts) is a data-driven consulting firm that teaches arts and cultural professionals a patron-based approach to sustainable revenue.

TRG believes in the transformative power of arts and culture, and that change in the business model of arts organizations leads to artistic innovation and the ability to better inspire entire communities.

Data informs every strategic solution at TRG, and further advances the expert knowledge of our experienced staff team. Since its founding in 1995 by Rick Lester, TRG has gained a reputation for achieving results for non-profit and commercial entertainment clients. TRG is an industry pioneer in areas like dynamic pricing, audience loyalty development, database modelling, and the subscription model.

In 2015, TRG opened the TRG Arts Center for Results, a venue for arts and cultural professionals to learn best practices online and live in Colorado Springs.

Throughout its history, TRG Arts has also been known by the names Lester & Associates, Target Resource Group, and The Resource Group for the Arts.

BON Culture

BON Culture was created by Mari O’Neill and David Brownlee to support the arts industry to become more resilient by:

  • Bringing the sector together
  • Sharing international best practice
  • Providing new insight
  • Supporting effective campaigning for the arts

Since BON began trading in September 2015 it has facilitated the largest ever UK theatre industry conference, supported the relaunch of the National Campaign for the Arts, published several major research and data analysis publications and brought the work of TRG Arts to the UK through a series of Chief Executive Masterclasses.

Jill Robinson, President & CEO, The Results Group for the Arts

Jill Robinson is a true believer in the power of arts and culture to transform individuals and communities. She also holds the belief that financial success enables organizations to do more of the vibrant, creative work they were designed to do.

Driven by this belief, Jill was an early adopter of TRG’s services in 1995, joined TRG in 1998 and quickly became an owner and company President working alongside founder and CEO, William “Rick” Lester. Together, they grew the firm from a marketing consultancy focused on symphony orchestras to a data-driven consulting firm that engaged across the North American performing arts sector. TRG also became the leading provider of community-wide data sharing networks across the US.

After Rick’s untimely passing in 2013, Jill now drives TRG’s ambitions to help make sustainable change happen in the international arts and cultural sector. TRG’s insights, tools, teaching, and hands-on support help clients achieve their biggest goals, and the firm has now served more than 1,200 clients of all genres throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and now the United Kingdom. TRG’s new team in the UK also provides support for the arts sector by facilitating major cross-industry conferences and providing subsidized support services to the UK’s leading campaigning body for public funding of culture, the National Campaign for the Arts.

Jill serves as TRG’s lead consultant and innovation catalyst. Her work has spanned successes among organizations of different budget sizes, genres, and in all countries in which TRG operates, including the Kennedy Center, Guthrie Theater, National Ballet of Canada, Vancouver Opera, and the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly Experience Music Project). She also leads executive masterclasses and intensives across the UK. Her consulting work has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue—earned and contributed—for orchestras, opera, dance, and theatre companies, museums, arts centers, and festivals. A futurist at heart, Jill seeks to provide the field with the adaptive strategies it needs to remain relevant to the arts patrons of today and tomorrow. Recently, her work has focused on helping launch TRG’s new Center for Results professional development curriculum; Jill is also developing results-oriented strategic business planning programs that help leaders execute on a strategic vision.

Jill regularly inspires arts and cultural professionals at industry conferences world-wide. She serves as TRG’s master teacher, leading workshops, webinars, and writing blog posts on Analysis from TRG Arts. She serves on the board of Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research and the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. She is adjunct faculty at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, where she teaches the Marketing the Arts course.

Jill earned her MBA from the University of Colorado, and a Professional Direct Marketing Certification from the University of Missouri. Prior to TRG, Jill served as marketing director for several American orchestras, including those in Milwaukee and Kansas City.


Lindsay Anderson, Vice President of Client Development, The Results Group for the Arts

Lindsay Anderson has spent the last 10 years of her career helping arts organizations develop data-informed audience loyalty strategies with TRG Arts. In her current role, she helps organizations develop data-informed strategies that will allow them to grow sustainable revenue and build patron loyalty. As leader of TRG’s client development team, Lindsay is responsible for introducing prospective clients to TRG’s suite of consulting and data analytics services. She is a regular presenter at arts industry conferences and workshops across North America.

Formerly, Lindsay managed the team of TRG consultants who implement the best-practice counsel that has evolved continuously to achieve results with clients over 20 years. She has served as lead consultant with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Hollywood Pantages, New York City Ballet, Carnegie Hall, Sheffield Theatres, Nottingham Playhouse, and New Wolsey Theatre, among others. Her career achievements prior to TRG include marketing, sales, and public relations positions with the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Colorado Ballet, and Colorado Symphony Orchestra.


David Brownlee, currently Director, BON Culture, to become Vice President for the UK and Europe, The Results Group for the Arts

David worked for a quarter of a century in the arts and cultural sector before co-founding BON Culture.

David’s early career was in arts marketing and fundraising. While at St Donat’s Arts Centre in South Wales, he managed the marketing for the re-launch of the Vale of Glamorgan Festival as a celebration of living composers. He moved on to become Sales Manager for London’s Royal Court Theatre, also marketing productions in the West End and on tour. He joined London’s largest multi-arts Festival as Marketing and Development Manager and re-launched it as the Greenwich + Docklands Festival before becoming Marketing Director for the Coin Street Group at the time of the launch of the Oxo Tower development on London’s South Bank.

He joined the fledgling Ambassador Theatre Group to open two large-scale venues in Stoke-on-Trent, attracting over 500,000 visitors in their first full year of operation. He then became Head of Arts & Entertainment for the London Borough of Lewisham, managing the Council’s theatre, arts team, and events program as well as the National Theatre’s Art of Regeneration program at the Albany in Deptford.

He then spent five years with Arts Council England in a variety of roles in the East Midlands and National offices, including time as national Director of Public Engagement and Strategic Partnerships. In his national roles, he was responsible for the development of the A Night Less Ordinary free theatre initiative for young people. He also commissioned the research on local arts engagement that has been used to select the areas for Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places program.

He left Arts Council England to become Head of Culture, Sport and 2012 for London Councils, the think tank and lobbying organization for local government in London. He then became the first Chief Executive of the National Network of Audience Development Agencies which he re-launched as Audiences UK.

After helping to establish The Audience Agency as a new national audience development agency for the arts, he joined what was then the Theatrical Management Association. As Executive Director he led the successful re-launch of the organization as UK Theatre in 2014. He left UK Theatre with earned income, membership, and turnover all at record levels and the organization benefiting from an unprecedented level of profile and influence.

While running UK Theatre, in 2012 he also became the founding Director of the Family Arts Campaign, one of the UK’s largest and most successful ever audience development initiatives. He continued in the role until December 2016.

In a voluntary capacity, he was actively involved in the campaign to establish an Audience Development Agency in London and subsequently served as the Vice Chair of Audiences London. He served on the Board of the National Campaign for the Arts from 2013 to 2016 and has led the work on the 50p for Culture campaign and all three editions of the NCA’s Arts Index. In 2016 he joined the Board of Nottingham Playhouse.

As well as his data analysis for the NCA, David has co-authored major studies for the sector including two editions of the British Theatre Repertoire Report. He has delivered keynote speeches on cultural policy and audience development in the UK and internationally and is a frequent contributor to The Stage.


Mari O’Neill, currently Director, BON Culture, to become Director of UK Operations, The Results Group for the Arts

Whilst undertaking a Performance degree on viola at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, Mari worked as a Box Office assistant and Senior Usher for the Events team, as well as taking responsibility for various marketing and administrative tasks for other departments within the College. During her second year, she developed and managed a series of informal monthly musical showcases, raising money for a local children’s cancer charity. In the summer following her third year she volunteered at Buxton Opera Festival, acting in a variety of roles from stage manager to shop assistant, administrative assistant to bar attendant.

These experiences convinced Mari to develop a career in arts management, whilst feeding her love of classical music through the amateur orchestra scene. After graduating with an upper second class honors degree Mari joined Anvil Arts in Basingstoke, Hampshire as Marketing Assistant, before moving to the marketing team at HQ Theatre’s then newly-reopened Watford Colosseum. There, she was responsible for setting up and implementing the communications and social media strategies, managing a loyalty scheme, and developing the venue’s involvement in street arts festival Imagine Watford.

In June 2013, just in time for the launch of the inaugural Family Arts Festival, Mari became the newest member of the Family Arts Campaign team as Communications and Administration Officer. This UK-wide, cross-art form initiative aims to increase family engagement in the arts through public-facing activity such as the Festival and Family Arts Standards, and sector-facing training, resources and supporting Local Family Arts Networks.

Mari took on more strategic responsibility and was promoted to Family Arts Campaign Manager in spring 2014, managing the day-to-day delivery and finances of the Campaign. With an extension to the original period of the Campaign confirmed, Mari became co-Director.

In September 2015 she left the Campaign to launch BON Culture. As well as overseeing the new company’s strategic marketing and communication Mari has led on the development and delivery of a new business plan for the National Campaign for the Arts.




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