OPERA America Awards $300,000 in Grants to Eight 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 it has awarded $300,000 in grants to eight opera companies through the fourth year of its Building Opera Audiences program, generously funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. This grant program seeks to support the efforts of North American opera companies to build informed, enthusiastic audiences for opera through innovative marketing projects. Forty-nine applications totaling over $2.1 million in requests were submitted, demonstrating how important audience development is to opera companies today.
The eight organizations receiving 2016 Building Opera Audiences grants are Chicago Opera Theater, Los Angeles Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre (Detroit, MI), Opera on Tap (Brooklyn, NY), Opera Philadelphia, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, San Diego Opera and San Francisco 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. “Awards from the Building Opera Audiences grant program provide opera companies with support to experiment with innovative projects that can inform the work of the entire field.”
The fourth cycle of Building Opera Audiences grants features a diverse array of initiatives that seek to increase first-time attendance and improve retention rates among current audiences. These include activities to overcome perceived barriers to attendance, projects that take advantage of technology and multimedia opportunities, efforts to engage underrepresented audience segments and events that bring opera into the community.
Each funded project will be documented and evaluated throughout its lifespan. The results will be shared with the entire field so other organizations can learn from and adapt projects in their communities.
Recipients of Building Opera Audiences grants were selected by an independent panel of industry leaders, including Jim Atkinson, director of programs and services, ArtPride New Jersey (Burlington, NJ); Colleen Flanigan, chief marketing officer, Auditorium Theatre (Chicago, IL); Gary Murphy, public relations consultant (Los Angeles, CA); Ann Owens, consultant (Atlanta, GA); and Nick Renkoski, creative director, Happy Medium (Des Moines, IA).
OPERA America’s Building Opera Audiences grant program is made possible through the generosity of the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.