OPERA America Awards $300,000 in Grants to Thirteen Opera Companies
Building Opera Audiences Grants Encourage Experimental, Innovative and Creative Audience-Building Activities
OPERA America, the national nonprofit service organization for opera, is pleased to announce that it has awarded $300,000 in grants to 13 opera companies through the first year of its Building Opera Audiences grant program, generously funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. This new grant program seeks to support the efforts of North American opera companies to build informed, enthusiastic audiences for opera through innovative marketing projects. A record-setting 67 applications totaling nearly $2 million in requests were submitted to OPERA America, demonstrating how vital audience development programs are to opera organizations today.
The 13 organizations receiving Building Opera Audiences grants are: American Opera Projects (Brooklyn, NY), Arizona Opera (Phoenix and Tucson, AZ), Florentine Opera Company (Milwaukee, WI), Los Angeles Opera, Madison Opera, Opera on the James (Lynchburg, VA), Opera Memphis, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, San Francisco Opera, Sarasota Opera, Seattle Opera, Syracuse Opera and Vancouver Opera.
“As cultural and entertainment options continue to grow, opera companies face increased competition for audiences,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “The Building Opera Audiences grant program provides funding to support innovative projects that have the potential to engage new and retain current audiences, helping to provide viable models for companies of all sizes across the country.
The first round of the Building Opera Audiences project shows a diverse range of initiatives that seek to increase first-time attendance and improve retention rates among current audiences. These projects harness technology and social media, increase two-way conversations with audiences about perceived barriers, and offer special events and performances in theaters and other community venues. They are designed to reach young professionals and families, as well as general audiences, and employ solid research, incentives and collaborations.
Each funded project will be documented and evaluated throughout its lifespan. The results will be shared with the opera field, so that other organizations can learn from and replicate projects in their communities.
Recipients of Building Opera Audiences grants were selected by a panel of industry leaders, including Jim Atkinson of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, Colleen Flanigan of Roosevelt University Auditorium Theatre, Claire Hopkinson of the Toronto Arts Council, Laura Johnson of New York City Ballet and Jenifer Thomas, formerly of The Pricing Institute.
OPERA America’s Building Opera Audiences grant program is made possible through the generosity of the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.