“We live in an age of astonishing invention. The new communication tools developed over the past 20 years are remarkable for their power and penetration.”  http://huff.to/eKBnio

I share this discussion about “The Technology Challenge” because I think we, the ARTS/CULTURE organizations and the ARTS/CULTURE presenters need to start thinking, dialoguing and acting outside our comfort zones and boxes we have left ourselves in.

From Michael Kaiser’s Blog posted on his Facebook page here are some selected comments and a dialogue that is developing.

AMM: “Unfortunately, I think you’re wrong on this one, Michael. I see the most creative uses of technology by arts people and organizations everywhere. I think the bigger problem is making certain the organizational infrastructure allows the staff time needed to keep the technology timely and dynamic.

SCW: AMM – I think that part of the infrastructure for ARTS organizations to embrace communication technologies is to build a strategy with the stakeholders to do as you say: “that the organizational infrastructure allows the staff time needed to keep the technology timely and dynamic.” This should be part of a strategic plan for an ARTS organization. And not embracing new communication technologies as part of the infrastructure will lead to just “burying our heads in the sand”, in my opinion.

CB“Part of the problem, Michael – is that there is too much “old school” thinking and “blood” in the arts who don’t embrace the new technologies. Another, I believe is inventory – where tickets to the arts are far more finite at a particular venue versus huge stadiums, etc where other entities can reduce prices, offer deals and giveaways – the arts never wants to cheapen their image nor can they afford to do too much discounting. I’m not saying they can’t so much as that is their general belief.”

SCW – CB -“I like what you are saying here, especially about the “general belief”. But yes we can embrace new communication technologies BECAUSE availability of tickets at various venues is finite in “capacity” only. After/when achieving 100% capacity at our ARTS venues we can reach out to new audiences by Live Streaming thus generating new revenue streams; and yes it is a lot of work, but, the long term benefits outweigh the short term building of this new revenue stream vs. expenses’.

I ask – “How many ARTS organizations have achieved 100% capacity at all of their performances and presentations?”

CB – ‎“Susan – that’s yet another conversation too I think. It also plays into different organizations taking risks on new material or presenting the same year after year (or with short gaps between). While the trusty reliable material works …and exposes new people to them, many organizations need to widen their horizons to gather a new audience. Conversely, people like familiarity and if you are constantly presenting new works/material – then many will not take the risk will you as the expense/risk factor is high. It’s quite the Catch-22 at times.”

SCW – CB – I like this conversation. I also think that the conversation needs to move to introducing new audiences to the archive of the “familiar”material/product that they have never seen. Yes, licensing of this product needs to be explored, but, “once the old familiar product is gone and left to collect dust” it will only be dust; so why not expose new audiences to the product?

And last, but not least: I am following a NYC creative team http://bit.ly/unsaidtv that is moving out of “our comfort zone” with Theatrical product created and produced for the Internet, and performed in a live theatre too! This is exciting, and, risky, but, when was the ARTS ever not risky?????

I really like this dialogue and we need to get some of our audiences into the mix and hear from them.

For example my 20 yr. old niece asked me “what is CARMEN?” I told her it was a “classic” full of sex, violence, love and much more. She went to see this MET OPERA production live by satellite HD show at her local theater in Canada and is now hooked on OPERA! The format, fanfare, and EXPERIENCE got her to go again – a new audience member attending an old familiar art form in an old(er) venue via new COMMUNICATION technology.

I guess the old adage is true: “For every seller there is a buyer and for every buyer there is a seller”. These new communications technology companies are also hungry for product – they need to eat too!

What do you think about Michael Kaiser’s post on and challenge to embrace communication technologies in the ARTS?

Join in the dialogue @ http://huff.to/eKBnio

Michael Kaiser, you have sparked a lively conversation here, thank you!