TRG Arts is a partner in a major new program to support the next generation of cultural leaders in the United Kingdom. TRG Arts is working with Coventry City of Culture Trust, Coventry University and other partners on an innovative program designed to strengthen and diversify the next generation of leadership for Coventry’s creative sector which will reflect the diversity and cultural strengths of the city.

Posted July 1, 2020


By Jill Robinson, CEO

Stop. And listen.

This week has been among the most intense I’ve experienced in my professional and personal life.  And based on the conversations we had at this week’s Executive Recovery Summit, I am not alone.

Posted June 5, 2020


By Jill Robinson, CEO

It’s not that recovery is happening. We’re deep in the midst—the messy, dark midst—of this crisis. But as I said in last week’s blog post, I’m going to share observations after each TRG Executive Recovery Summit, and today my observations are about how we’re moving through this time, and what movement must be next.

Posted May 28, 2020


By Jill Robinson, CEO, TRG Arts

Seventy-five arts and cultural chief executives from the around the world are digging in, planning for recovery through the COVID-19 crisis. There are more than these, of course. But I’ve spent time with these 75 over the past month, from mid-April through mid-May, as the impact of the crisis on our sector has changed, evolved, and grown in its realities. And I’ve been inspired.

Posted May 19, 2020


By Jill Robinson, CEO

A crystal ball… in Week 3 of TRG 30 it’s clear we’re all looking for and needing one. The advance questions from our group of more than 800 registrants were almost entirely about the future—when we’ll be able to reschedule, program, open doors. And what to do now that we know, on the main, that this won’t be happening soon.

Posted April 3, 2020


By Jill Robinson, CEO

Week Two of TRG 30 brought more than 500 global arts and cultural leaders together, and it was clear that everyone’s minds are still squarely focused on the “here and now”. Managing and maintaining cash and revenue streams is crucial; it’s where we focused our findings and Q&A. We’re also discovering that so many questions and situations are defined by the market, nation, business model, financial security going into the crisis, and more. Moving forward, TRG 30 will be the place to learn about themes affecting our sector, and our LinkedIn Group: TRG 30 Virtual Network will become the place to get specific questions answered by TRG consultants and peers from around the globe.

Posted March 26, 2020


By Jill Robinson, CEO

On Tuesday, more than 350 international arts leaders joined me for our first TRG 30, designed to provide a sector clearinghouse and gathering place for action during the COVID-19 crisis.  Not surprisingly, everyone’s minds, today, was focused on the NOW.  First up: maintaining relationships with patrons at a time when we’re not open, not performing, not accessible as normal.  As normal.

Posted March 18, 2020


By Jill Robinson, CEO  

It made me cry.  Joyously. 

On Friday, organizational psychologist Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) tweeted a video from Siena, Tuscany, in Italy. I heard it more than saw it: voices coming from open windows, singing a “popular song from their houses along an empty street to warm their hearts during the Italian Covid-19 lockdown,” tweeted the person on-site. (Please, take 15 seconds to watch it. It will lift you; I promise.) 

Posted March 16, 2020


By Stephen Skrypec, VP, UK & Europe 

It’s so tricky to balance the demands of our work and personal lives. I’ve been personally pre-occupied in juggling my work with arts organisations across UK and North America, thinking about my responsibilities, along with the demands of my colleagues and client partnerships. We’d all benefit from having clarity in our busy, easily distracted lives, and to know where to go if we’re not getting the support that we need.  

Posted January 30, 2020


Smart investments drive high returns. Stephen Skrypec outlines three points to consider during the budget planning process. 

Posted December 10, 2019


By Jim DeGood, Director of Client Services
Supporting Analysis: Nariman Tulepkaliev

Nearly every economist agrees that the global economy is overdue for a recession and that the unprecedented decade-long economic expansion in the US is certain to come to an end. It’s critical for the arts and culture sector to start working toward ensuring the foundational elements of a strong operating model are in place before the eventual recession occurs. Jim DeGood shares Six Things Any Arts & Cultural Organization Can Do Right Now in a Looming Recession.

Posted October 30, 2019


By Caitlin Green, Client Engagement Officer

Think again if you believe subscription isn’t alive and well for presenting institutions. That’s right: Subscription is alive AND well. To illustrate the point, these three presenting institutions Lied Center for Performing Arts, Yavapai College Performing Arts Center and Midland Center for the Arts have all seen tremendous subscription success over the past few seasons.

Posted October 28, 2019


By Caitlin Green, Client Engagement Officer

Think again if you believe subscription isn’t alive and well for presenting institutions. That’s right: Subscription is alive AND well. To illustrate the point, these three presenting institutions have all seen tremendous subscription success over the past few seasons:

Posted October 28, 2019


By Brad Carlin, Consulting Analyst

If you are like me, your jaw tightens and stomach starts to twist when Halloween decorations begin to appear in stores in early September. If so, brace yourself… because now is likely the time to be putting single tickets on-sale for holiday blockbusters in your season. For ballet companies, July means the launch of Nutcracker sales and the semi-annual marathon that will can determine more than 50% of a company’s ticket revenue for the season. According to Dance/USA’s Nutcracker Survey, annual ticket sales to the Nutcracker have grown from $30 million in 2008 to $51 million in 2017, and attendance has increased 14% in the same period.

Posted July 29, 2019


By David Brownlee, Director of International Strategy

This article was originally published in the Arts Marketing Association blog on 25 July 2019.


It’s 25 years since the first AMA Conference. I didn’t go (too busy having babies and promoting festivals) but as an AMA Member I received the conference report and still have it today.

Posted July 26, 2019


Northern Stage knew that in order to be sustainable long-term they needed to reimagine how they were relating to their patrons. TRG Arts’ Senior Consultant, Christina Hill, and Northern Stage’s Director of Communications and Sales, Amy Fawdington, demonstrated how Northern Stage has risen to the challenge.

Christina and Amy shared real-life examples and explored how to tap into audience behaviour to create loyalty. They described how Northern Stage developed strategies to incentivise and reward ticket purchase, membership, and donations, and how to build patron relationships to sustain and grow your organisation.

Posted July 11, 2019


By Lindsay Anderson, VP of Client Development
TRG Arts

Imagine walking down the street and only thinking about each next step in front of you without even looking up or looking around. You continue this pattern without any sense of where you were coming from and where you’d like to go. As you take each step, you just hope that by continuing this pattern you will eventually get to where you want to go. Sounds ridiculous, right? It is - but all too often, venues and producers repeat this exact same behavior when it comes to building loyal audiences. They focus too much on the income chase and bums in seats for each individual show rather than building a long-lasting relationship with the audiences who attend. This is as much in the interest of producers as venues: would you want to tour to a venue with a large, loyal core audience or to a venue that needs to spend more money to generate a new audience for every show?

Posted June 11, 2019


Eric Nelson

Sustainability is no longer enough. Performing arts organizations need to aim higher. Vitality is the new goal. To achieve this, organizations must apply a generous mix of courage, grit and entrepreneurship to a key area of their business: audience building. It requires that board and executive leadership create a culture where this focus and work-style thrives. 

Posted May 14, 2019


By Jill Robinson, President & CEO

We all watched last week as the Notre Dame cathedral burned. Like so many, I was glued to Twitter throughout my day, checking in for status updates, and found myself intrigued by a thread about “The Long Now”—a concept that someone on Twitter described to me as “planning with a time horizon of centuries …which implies sustainability…”. I found and my mind was blown: this organization talks in terms of 10,000-year planning horizons. Indeed, Notre Dame was designed to last for centuries. And, it will.

Posted April 23, 2019


By: Jim DeGood, Director of Client Services

Data Analysis: Nariman Tulepkaliev, Data Analyst

As a follow up to Millennials Are Not the Answer to Your Revenue Problems blog post, the TRG Arts 2019 Generational Analysis provides an in depth view of North American demographic shifts that are occurring now or will occur in the near future.

Through data analysis, TRG Arts continues to see a link between life stage and arts consumption – arts patronage tends to occur from mid-life onwards, as careers and household earning stabilize, with the majority of arts and cultural patronage still comprised of Silents and Boomers. But the reality is that these audiences are diminishing

Posted March 28, 2019


How State Theatre New Jersey Utilized Membership and Subscription to Grow Audiences and Revenue.

J.L. Nave, Senior Consultant

Seizing on an opportunity, State Theatre New Jersey built a long-term plan rooted in membership and subscription in order to build patron loyalty for their Broadway series.

Posted February 26, 2019


By David Brownlee, Director of International Strategy

TRG Arts collates and analyses the sales figures for the UK Theatre Association whose members include most medium and large venues outside of London.

We’ve just completed the 
initial analysis for the whole of 2018 which, in the context of a tough year for retail and future uncertainty over Brexit, generally looks positive and was record-breaking for the largest presenting houses.

Posted January 29, 2019


How Omaha Performing Arts capitalized on the extraordinary and explosive opportunities around blockbusters.

By Keri Mesropov, Vice President of Client Services

In the world of Broadway, The Hamilton Effect is synonymous with a massive surge of sales a presenter experiences in the year it presents the industry’s most exceptional blockbuster and the desire to replicate it again in the future. The problem is that it is atypical, focused solely on short-term revenue gain, and centers attention around the production itself. To be clear, The Hamilton Effect does not center around the people who come see it.

Posted January 23, 2019


Engaging communities. Developing audiences. The arts field of today must be intentional about these practices. At TRG Arts, we’re honored to work with several clients who are making measurable headway engaging new communities, while also keeping a steady eye on the ticketing and fundraising goals that keep their doors open. 

Posted January 23, 2019


As Christmas and holiday events come in to full swing, Lindsay Anderson shares three ways to optimize your revenue potential during this festive time of year.

Posted December 5, 2018


In our updated national data trends, Nariman Tulepkaliev and Jim DeGood share their analysis of why Millennials Are Not the Answer to Your Revenue Problem.

Posted December 4, 2018


By Jim DeGood, Director of Client Services
TRG Arts

I had the pleasure of working with a client earlier this autumn that gets so many things right. They use data to make decisions and regularly engage in passionate discussions around what data may or may not indicate. They are highly segmented and customized in their approach to building the loyalty of their patrons across every dimension of their organization. 

Posted November 13, 2018


By Eric Nelson, Client Engagement Officer
TRG Arts

For years the arts and cultural industry has been on edge. We keep waiting, and perhaps hoping, for packages that yields our largest quantity of repeat attendance to die. Why?  

Is it because our friends in the media annually declare subscriptions are dead? Or do we want to be the first to say, “I told you so?” Does getting on the bandwagon early allow us to plan so we’re ready for their demise?  

Posted November 13, 2018


Dan Bates
Chief Executive, Sheffield Theatres

"Having the chance to have three months away from major work responsibilities is an exciting and daunting project.”


When I discussed this with my board at the theater more than a year ago, we talked about the purpose of the sabbatical, what I might learn, and what I would bring back to Sheffield Theatres. As the start of the sabbatical came closer and I began the real preparation for being away, I also became focused on preparing our staff team to thrive while I was gone.

Posted October 5, 2018


Vincent VanVleet
Managing Director, Phoenix Theatre

Here’s what I’ve learned about leadership and my roadmap that transformed Phoenix Theatre:


1. Bite off a piece at a time. I can’t emphasize this enough, which is why I placed it at the top of this list. There will be intense pressure from many directions to try and solve everything at once. What I have found is great power in identifying the thing that will provide the biggest lift for your organization, and maintaining focus until it is achieved. 


2. Put your audience ahead of everything else. Curate every aspect of their interactions and experiences from the first time they visit your website to the moment they enter the parking lot. Take control of all of it. Be intentional about those experiences that shape how patrons feel about your organization.

Posted October 5, 2018


Vincent VanVleet
Managing Director, Phoenix Theatre

“There is much discussion recently of the non-profit arts business model being broken. Some even suggest it is dying. While many things about how organizations operate should be put to rest, I believe there is a growing insurrection to challenge the status quo of how our field can work.”

Posted October 5, 2018


David Brownlee

Director of International Strategy


The prospect of a further tightening of regulations regarding the use of customer data across the UK and EU could have seemed like a disaster to a data-driven consultancy like TRG Arts.


Some of the initial ill-informed panic and scare stories in the arts sector around the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May 2018, certainly caught our attention. It is also fair to say there remains a lack of clarity around some of the implications of how GDPR will play out.

Posted October 5, 2018


Keri Mesropov
Vice President, Client Services 


For 23 years, TRG Arts has been in the business of helping the arts transform sustainability. We regularly evaluate the reasons why particular organizations achieve extraordinary results at an incredible pace. In every case, data has served as a lantern that has clearly illuminated where to focus and what to change to achieve superior results.


But the leaders of these organizations know exemplary results rely on their own stead fast attention in five core areas.

Posted October 5, 2018


Eric Nelson
Client Engagement Officer

“We invest in Barter and our employees. They grow as we grow. We plan for our staff to blossom.”

Richard Rose, Barter Theatre


Data and analytics are important, but they don’t make the work happen. It is the staff who implement plans, build relationships, and deliver results. All too often, our industry finds it difficult to invest in the personal and professional development of staff. This has led to the common wisdom that “to grow, I’ve got to go” in order to gain more responsibility and salary. This lack of corporate ladder has huge ramifications. Staff turnover is expensive.

Posted October 5, 2018


David Seals
Director of Client Development

Every person on your team is growing daily in one of two directions: adding to or detracting from the work. As the chief executive, it’s illuminating to ask yourself two honest questions:

1. Visualize your star performer, the one you can count on when it matters. What characteristics define them? What affect do they have on the organization? On the people around them?

2. Visualize your lowest performing employee. What characteristics define them? What affect do they have on the organization? On the people around them?

Posted October 5, 2018


Christina Hill, Senior Consultant

I was honoured to speak recently at the AMA conference 2018 in Liverpool on the impact of patron loyalty. 

I was energised by the feedback from attendees at both sessions and proud to highlight results of organisations who have built sustainability through loyalty. In our session Rekindling Subscriptions, I was joined by Executive Director Liam-Evans Ford, who shared Theatr Clwyd’s experience of building a strategic loyalty focus with some impressive year-over-year results.

If you don't have a loyalty strategy in place, now is the time to start building one.

Posted August 14, 2018



Five years. As I told a colleague recently, it seems like yesterday and at the same time so long ago that TRG Arts founder, my friend and business partner, Rick Lester, passed. As many of you know, Rick was a cyclist and at the time of his death in the summer of 2013 was riding for a charity event in the sunny brilliance of July’s Colorado mountains. He was having the time of his life, summiting Vail Pass and being his epic, brilliant, enormous self.  That’s his legacy, the way we’ll always remember him.

Posted July 17, 2018


By Stephen Skrypec, Consulting Analyst

In recent weeks, there has been passionate online discussion around whether rising average ticket prices were having an impact on attendance. Frequently, in our work with clients we find that when it comes to pricing, people have opinions or viewpoints that come from personal experience. As always, we recommend taking a hard look at the data to see what’s happening in your organisation. Don’t be distracted by ticket prices alone - there are other key metrics that might be hiding the real story.

Posted July 13, 2018


David Brownlee, Director of International Strategy

Over the last fifteen years I’ve been lucky to get a variety of international perspectives on how the arts are funded and delivered in different nations. A trip to China a decade ago blew my mind. Everything thing was so different and changing fast. As managers struggled with the notion of getting audiences to pay for tickets (previously tickets were distributed free and you were expected to attend), armies of builders were constructing massive, iconic new performing arts venues. No-one seemed quite sure what would be filling their stages or where their new audiences were likely to come from.

Posted July 13, 2018


"I was excited to have contributed to the discussion session ‘Venues and Producers: New ways of working’ at the 2018 Theatre & Touring Symposium and to have provoked some new ideas around possible incentives that both producers and venues need to offer each other in order to achieve mutual success."

Continue to read Jill's blog post >>

Posted July 2, 2018


 Eric Nelson
Client Development Officer

I recently rejoined TRG Arts team in the newly created role of Client Engagement Officer (having been on staff previously as a Senior Consultant). Having been a consultant, and now on the Client Development team, gives me a unique perspective on how I can work with I recently rejoined TRG Arts, 
having been a Senior Consultant from 2007 to 2009. In my newly created role, Client Engagement Officer, I strategize with potential, former, and current clients regarding how they can achieve deeper patron engagement and realize greater revenue growth.

Posted June 19, 2018


 Jill Robinson
President & CEO, TRG Arts

This past April, CEO Jill Robinson attended the Canadian Arts Summit at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity for a weekend of arts leadership conversation and cultivation across Canada.  As an invited guest speaker and panellist, Jill shares her insight and perspective on the experience.

The Canadian Arts Summit is one of the most high-impact professional experiences I’ve had the pleasure of being included in.  Wonderful speakers, creative locations, and great dialogue that is operationalized in a way to help cultivate a set of intense experiences for arts leadership in Canada.  “How do you do it?” I asked Nichole Anderson Bergeron, President & CEO of Toronto-based Business for the Arts, the host and creator of the event.

Posted May 23, 2018


Neil Chandler, Venue Director, Fairfield Halls, attended our UK & Europe Executive Summit in London in 2018 with a group of senior leaders from arts and cultural organisations across the UK. 

He reflects on his time attending the Executive Summit and opportunities ahead.  

Posted April 24, 2018


If we believe our patrons want and deserve the best, then why are we offering them the least. In this new blog post by Senior Consultants, Lory Bowman and Kate Hagen, contemplate how smaller packages represent a missed opportunity with full subscription.

In an effort to provide choice for potential package buyers, we can undermine our ability to acquire full season subscribers with the right strategic messaging. This is problematic for loyalty, as TRG Arts research shows that flex buyers have double the attrition rate of subscribers.

Posted March 16, 2018


Jill Robinson
President & CEO

At the close of 2017, the National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) published a report The Burden of Rising Expenses: The Bottom Line in the Arts. 

The report looked at financial data of over 4,800 US arts organizations between 2013 and 2016, and raised the question "Are organizations bringing in enough revenue to cover their expenses?"

Jill's latest essay examines the findings alongside what we see in our work at TRG Arts: sustainability continues to be hard work for arts and cultural organizations. 

Posted January 22, 2018


There was a moment during dinner when one of the executives started singing.

 David Seals 
Director of Client Development

It often happens, sharing great food and wine together, that we ask our Executive Summit attendees to describe one of the most meaningful (or hilariously bad) arts experiences of their lives. We ask the question because, after a day of data-driven conversation about success metrics, leadership, and management—it’s important to remember why we all got into this business.

We don’t sell widgets. The art is The Why.

Posted January 16, 2018


This blog post was originally posted on the PatronManager Blog on December 19.2017. Many thanks to Gene Carr, CEO PatronManager for the invitation to contribute. 

Few people are talking about the arts industry’s biggest threat. The problem barely shows up in conference sessions, industry publications or workshops. It is not cuts to arts funding. It’s not greying audiences or Millennials. It’s not a lack of data. Though these issues deserve attention, the problem is patron retention—and its extent is staggering.

Posted December 22, 2017


It is the end of another year and time to celebrate the time that has passed and accomplishments that have been made. 2017 has been whirlwind of a yearwith so many highlights that we at TRG Arts will remember for years to come. Check out the highlights and most popular content of 2017 

The top content from our blog reflects the topics which we see getting the most attention in our industry today. Some topline observations:

  • Subscriptions and case studies featuring the success our clients are seeing with this tried-and-true loyalty model continues to inspire conversation.
  • The importance of data hygiene and the notion that “Data doesn’t do. People do,” when making decisions and activating on data analysis is a basic point that still needs our industries attention.
  • The evolution of pricing best practices that move beyond dynamic pricing and moving organizations to think more about demand management.



Posted December 14, 2017



Lindsay Anderson
Vice President of Client Development

Why do we in arts organizations care so much about the Christmas holiday season? Yes, we program amazing events—shows that get us into the holiday spirit, concerts that have us humming well-known tunes, and ballets that can elicit memories taking us back to our childhood. But we also care because the events and exhibitions we run at this time can make or break our financial year.

Chances are you’ve been thinking about your 2017 Christmas or holiday offering since before last year’s events even opened.  Some of you put your 2017 Pantomime tickets on sale right before Panto began last year.  Or maybe you gave your loyal subscribers or members access to this year’s A Christmas Carol tickets when they attended in 2016.  It’s safe to say we in the arts field spend a lot of time planning and executing campaigns in preparation for this time of year.

Posted November 30, 2017


 Kate Hagen
Senior Consultant, TRG Arts 

The Grant Park Music Festival came to TRG in 2014 with one goal: to build a patron loyalty pipeline that will sustain the organization, regardless of fluctuations in government or foundation funding. But there was one catch. The strategy needed to fit within the mission on which the organization was founded in the 1930s: free access to classical music for all.

To solve this challenge, the Festival expanded its existing membership program to include One Night Pass options. Though Chicagoans and visitors could always attend for free, membership offered many benefits including the ability to reserve seats close to the stage for any performance in advance. The introduction of One Night Passes allowed non-members to reserve seats in the Frank Gehry-designed pavilion for individual concerts, effectively serving as a test-drive for membership. In addition, the passes enabled the Festival to overcome one of the biggest challenges faced by free festivals: capturing patron data to build a pool of contacts who could be cultivated for membership and donations. The end result is a festival that remains free while creating a new patron-driven revenue stream to address potential funding fluctuations. 

Posted November 29, 2017


Have arts leaders increased the loyalty of their patron in recent years? TRG Arts is the longest-standing aggregator of loyalty metrics in the arts industry and has recently refreshed its aggregated Patron Loyalty Index. In this presentation, we'll describe the ways patrons are behaving in terms of their recency, frequency, monetary investment and growth over time, across transactions in single tickets, membership, subscription, and donation.

Posted November 15, 2017


David Seals
How does the country’s largest theatre company, who sells 450,000 tickets a year, get to know each individual patron so well that they write thank you notes of joy? How does a large organization speak so relevantly that its patrons describe themselves as “flabbergasted” and “blown away?” The answer is nerdier than you’d expect: data segmentation.

Posted June 28, 2017


Have you ever looked at your ROI numbers and thought that your money just doesn’t go as far as it used to? If so, you’re not alone.

Our partners at the National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) put out a report recently on metrics by sector for arts organizations. Among the metrics they analyzed was response to marketing efforts.


Posted June 9, 2017


Once you know what your needs are, you’ll want to be to calibrate the size of your segments for a given campaign. In this case, size does matter. In the last video in our Ugly Data Series, Amelia Northrup-Simpson, Director of Strategic Communication, will show you how to use your patron data after it is cleaned and organized.

This is the final video in our Ugly Data series where we are bringing you the fundamentals of data stewardship. 

Posted June 7, 2017


Is your data ugly? Your arts organization may have terrific branding, a high converting website, a top-of the-line CRM system, and beautiful photos of your productions or exhibitions. Unfortunately, if the data you have on your patrons is dirty, incomplete, or poorly segmented, building patron relationships and loyalty is much harder. That’s why data stewardship, the ongoing process of maintaining data for action, is so important.

This is the first video in our Ugly Data series where we are bringing you the fundamentals of data stewardship. 

Posted May 24, 2017


The Results Group for the Arts (TRG Arts) has won the 2017 CREATE Award at the 30th annual Business for the Arts Awards, hosted today in Denver by the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA).

Each fall, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region nominates at least one deserving business from our community for the statewide Business for the Arts Awards.

“We are proud that such an elite, for-profit consulting firm with an international reputation in the arts world has been based here in the Pikes Peak region for two decades. In addition to acknowledging TRG’s impactful work in the creative sector, this recognition from CBCA is an important opportunity to represent Colorado Springs in a positive light at the state level,” said Andy Vick, Executive Director of the Cultural Office.

Posted March 15, 2017


 Jill Robinson, 
President & CEO, TRG Arts

Like many of you, I watched coverage of the inauguration on Friday. It is a time like none of us have seen; regardless of political affiliation, we all hang in suspense about the specifics of our collective future. Many marched (good!), others wring hands and despair, and many in our country are sanguine, even pleased.

Luminaries in arts and culture have spoken on the implications of the Trump era for our country and our field in more articulate ways than I can. Yet, I am moved to write, inspired by our field’s response to our divisive political reality.  

I’m inspired by initiatives like Arena Stage’s Power Plays, which in the next 10 years will develop 25 new plays and musicals exploring American stories of politics and power. I’m stirred by the cast of Hamilton’s thought-provoking demonstration. I talk daily to the leaders of arts and cultural organizations in this country, Canada, and the UK; I’m reminded of our role as a sector as I listen to their stories of the experiences they provide in their communities that create joy, learning, beauty, dialogue. 

The arts bring people together. In today’s polarized global climate, that’s more important than ever.

Posted January 23, 2017


Photo: Chris Devers via flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“What should we be paying attention to?”

TRG gets this — and similar questions — often. As a firm that operates in four countries with a variety of clients, we have a catbird seat to the latest industry trends each year. In 2016, the trends that caught our attention included:

- The importance of “integrated patron loyalty

- How to make a business model based on subscription thrive

- Why arts organizations should use data to program a balanced season

- The reasons that arts marketers still place low-return marketing ads, and what you can do stop the practice

Still craving more? Below are our most popular posts from 2016. We thank you, our loyal readers, who continue to inspire, teach, and engage with our content. And, we thank the many clients who have collaborated with us to tell their story of organizational change and revenue results.

Posted December 22, 2016


Photo by Corey Balazowich (CC BY-ND 2.0)

In 2015, the consulting firm Oliver Wyman released a research study in partnership with the League of American Orchestras that grabbed my attention and hasn’t let go. The central question of their work: is the existing subscription model for symphony orchestras still viable? In the age of Netflix, Amazon, and Uber, does it need a small tweak, a substantial jump start, or a complete-and-total-tear-down-and-rebuild to remain a worthwhile offering?

The study illuminated a few key findings for the orchestra sector:

  • Subscription audiences are declining, not due to dissatisfaction with their experience, or to competitive forces in entertainment. Instead, they’re losing interest in programming (both how seasons are structured, and with classical music overall), and most of all patrons are dissatisfied with subscription products as they currently exist.

Posted December 5, 2016


Ronia Holmes

Because it isn’t central to your mission. Period.

I hear you harrumphing as mission/vision/values/beliefs and goals statements are dragged out. Sure, your organization has been around for a century or more and these statements about your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion are barely older than the Gen-Z unpaid intern managing the Facebook account, but still, these statements are proof that your organization is committed to community.

No, they’re not. So put them down, and let’s #RealTalk about communities, new audiences, the past, and the future.

Posted November 16, 2016


The need to deepen relationships with current stakeholders and build relationships with new audiences is a compelling question for us at Forklift Danceworks. When we are asked this question, we often answer with a question: Who loves Elvis?

In 2007, Forklift’s Artistic Director Allison Orr choreographed The King & I—not the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, but an evening-length, contemporary dance performance work to address her curiosity, “Just what does Elvis Presley have to do with you and me, anyway?” In making the work, Allison knew she needed to find a way to get input and inspiration from the Elvis community. She sought out to find, “Who loves Elvis?”

Meeting the dedicated Elvis tribute artists and hearing stories from fans, Allison decided to loosely structure the performance of The King & I on Elvis’ last concert. Thinking even more about the fans who love Elvis (who also love to get together to talk about their love for Elvis!), she decided to perform the dance over three weekends around the 30th anniversary of Elvis’ death. Through collecting stories about Elvis’ life and work, performances of his songs and of course, choreography that included his iconic moves, this show with three professional dancers and five Elvis Tribute Artists was really a collaboration with many others, with inspiration and input from the Elvis-loving community.

In the years since The King & I, we have choreographed dances for trash collectors and their vehicles, electric utility workers and their equipment, forestry technicians and a heritage pecan tree, and baseball players and a historic field. The key to the success of each project has been asking, “Who loves Elvis--or recycling, or electricity, or trees, or baseball?” and finding the community that already has a stake in the dance we are making and inviting them to join us in the creative process.

Posted November 2, 2016


Barry Hughson

A few months ago, I attended the dress rehearsal for “Dreamers Ever Leave You”.  It was a transformational artistic and human experience. 

At the National Ballet of Canada, we have two choreographic associates, Guillaume Cote and Robert Binet.  Unlike a resident choreographer post, which is often filled with high profile, well established choreographers, our choreographic associates are young, emerging choreographers.  Artistic Director Karen Kain created these positions in an effort to nurture a new generation of dance makers, and specifically Canadian dance makers.  These talented young artists bring their ideas to Karen, and she provides the platform, dancers, and collaborators required for them to explore and shape their ideas and hone their craft.

Robert Binet approached Karen a year ago about a new idea.  Inspired by the work of Canadian artist Lawren Harris, Robert had created a solo that he now wanted to expand on.  The Art Gallery of Ontario, one of Canada’s most prestigious and respected arts institutions, was to present a major exhibition of Harris’s work.  Curated by the American actor and musician Steve Martin, the exhibition seemed an interesting opportunity to explore a collaboration between the National Ballet and the AGO, and a perfect platform to develop Robert’s idea.  We convened meetings with AGO officials, who enthusiastically embraced the idea.  Budgets were developed, Robert’s ideas further shaped with input from key collaborators from both institutions, and the spark of an idea became the transformational experience.

Posted October 26, 2016


I serve as a theater director, producer, writer, and, in the past, actor. My artistic collaborators and I vigorously pursue artistic excellence every day. Often, community engagement and artistic excellence are framed in opposition to one another. For me, it is the very pursuit of artistic excellence that drives my self-interest to develop and deepen relationships with current stakeholders and new communities.

A play or musical, regardless of when or where it is set, also lives in relationship with the time and place it is being produced and thus community engagement is essential to artistic excellence.

Consensus Organizing for Theater (CO)

I practice an artistic methodology called Consensus Organizing for Theater (CO)*, through which an arts organization deliberately builds stake in multiple pockets of communities and those communities deliberately build stake back in the art or organization by surfacing and organizing around mutual self-interest.

Posted October 19, 2016


David Seals

A few weeks ago, Ben Cameron led an online workshop with TRG Arts for arts executives from around the world. In it, he dropped this truth bomb: "Positive financial results give you artistic freedom... Manage with excellence so you can program with courage."

His statement unearths a profound disconnect about fueling change in the arts industry—we want to see change without paying for it. If we’re not careful, the car will stall out, pointed in the right direction, out of gas.

Posted October 17, 2016


Best practices evolve. Keep learning.

We are pleased to announce the launch of the TRG Arts Center for Results.

Who is TRG Arts? The Results Group for the Arts is a data-driven consulting firm dedicated to helping arts and cultural professionals succeed as best practices evolve.

What is the Center for Results?  It’s TRG Arts’ new, Colorado Springs-based learning, teaching, and consulting center in which we will host clients and friends in the national and international arts and cultural sector. At the Center for Results, you’ll develop your skills to get results in a beautiful Rocky Mountain setting. Our address remains the same, but we’ve re-configured our space to be able to welcome clients and friends more often, as well as host live, online, and remote classes.

Posted March 3, 2016


 Photo by Gavin Brogan (CC BY 2.0)

There are a lot of metrics that an arts organization could track in an effort to be successful and sustainable. With today’s robust CRM systems, there’s no shortage of data on arts patrons and their buying and donating behavior.

The truth is, what gets measured gets managed.

When you decide to track a metric and make changes in your work to move that number up or down, you’re giving that metric power. That means your organization sets its priorities as an institution by what you collectively decide  to measure.

Posted September 11, 2015


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