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ASU Gammage receives grant to study audience growth

Dancer and choreographer Camille A. Brown

Dancer and choreographer Camille A. Brown will perform at ASU Gammage next year as part of the grant from the Wallace Foundation.
Photo by: Matt Karas

April 15, 2015

ASU Gammage has been selected to take part in research aimed at discovering ways to engage new audiences for contemporary arts performances, such as modern dance, immersive theater and spoken word.

It’s part of a $52 million initiative by the Wallace Foundation, a national philanthropy dedicated to making the arts accessible to everyone.

Twenty-six arts organizations ranging from the New York Philharmonic to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater troupe to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra were chosen out of hundreds of candidates to receive funding from the Wallace grant.

ASU was one of only three universities selected to explore ways of building sustainable audiences, aimed at developing practical insights into how arts organizations can successfully expand their audiences.

“We are very honored to be selected by the Wallace Foundation for this incredible opportunity to continue, as well as expand, our work fostering cultural sustainability,” said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director for ASU Gammage and assistant vice president for cultural affairs at the university. “The opportunity to join these 25 other incredible institutions to innovate new solutions to provide access to the arts to wider and more diverse audiences is a task for which ASU is ready.”

As part of the first cycle of work, ASU Gammage will conduct research to identify potential audiences for contemporary arts performances and then establish programs to support the growth of these audiences with additional funding from the Wallace Foundation.

The funding for the first part of this research will be $60,000, from which ASU Gammage will develop a new audience-building program, study the results and then use the findings to implement new programs.

The evidence gathered from the work of ASU and the other institutions will be documented and analyzed by an independent team of researchers, providing valuable insights, ideas and information for the entire field.

“We are confident that the 26 organizations selected from a pool of more than 300 identified by leaders in the arts nationwide will provide new insights that will benefit the field at large, helping to bring the arts to a broader and more diverse group of people,” said Will Miller, the president of the Wallace Foundation.

Cal Performances at UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan’s Musical Society are the other two institutions of higher education that were honored with the Wallace Foundation grant.

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