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It’s well known that arts, culture, and entertainment institutions are among the most affected by closures due to COVID-19.  For an industry built on creativity and community, finding a way to stay connected during the pandemic is imperative. So how about a digital conference for arts and culture organizations? Rather than fully canceling their yearly event, our partners at Tessitura Network reinforced this strong sense of community with a week of thoughtful and engaging virtual events –  TLCC2020 Re|Visioning!

In the opening session, Tessitura provided impressive product updates. Just as arts and culture organizations have had to make many business shifts since March, Tessitura has also refocused its product features and updates to align with the community’s needs. An impressive 30 new features have been made quickly available since March, including event cancellation and rescheduling utilities. This is just one example of Re|Visioning, which was the overarching theme of the TLCC2020.

Many Adage Team members were fortunate enough to attend the five-day conference filled with thought-provoking content. Reflecting on the conference, the Adage Team realized three recurring takeaways most prominently affecting arts, culture, and entertainment institutions.

  1. Digital Content
  2. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  3. Patron eEgagement

Read further to find out what we learned…

Digital Content

Digital content – it’s a hot topic, for obvious reasons. Everyone is trying to navigate how to best position video and live stream options online while maintaining the integrity of an art form that is intended for a live, in-person audience. Many conversations about digital content followed in the Neighborhood Networking and Open Space events, with excellent discussions around these main topics:

  • Licensing – Many arts organizations run into licensing and union restrictions around video content, resulting in a lot of creative thinking and new content generation in this time.
  • Pricing – How much, if anything, is the appropriate amount to charge for this virtual content?
  • Platform – There are so many! Which platform is best, in budget, and will integrate with your website and Tessitura?

There isn’t one correct answer to all of these questions, but there are many, many innovative solutions. At Adage, we have been working through digital content options for many of our clients, and are happy to dive into details to find the solution that’s right for you.

Sydney Opera House's Digital Streaming Combined with Illustrations
Sydney Opera House's Digital Streaming Combined with Illustrations
Sydney Opera House’s Digital Streaming Combined with Illustrations

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

The vital conversation of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) was prevalent throughout TLCC2020 week. We heard from multiple organizations about the ways they’re supporting BIPOC communities. A highlight was hearing about the first-ever Milwaukee Black Theater Festival, taking place in late August. Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, in collaboration with other arts groups in the Milwaukee area, fought through the challenges of COVID to create this bridge connecting the Black theater community and the rest of the city.

Key DE&I conversations in small group sessions include:

  • Increasing access for audiences – What programs can be expanded to reach broader audiences?
  • Increasing diversity – not only in our audiences and patron base, but within organizations, leadership, and the Tessitura community as a whole.
  • Consciousness moving forward – Things will look different for all arts & culture organizations following the pandemic. Making Diversity, Equity & Inclusion a central focus is a not just a trend for this moment, but an ongoing initiative. It starts with action like the First Annual Milwaukee Black Theater Festival.
Promotional flyer for Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's first Black Theater Festival
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre Announces Black Theater Festival

Patron Engagement

In arts, culture, and entertainment, creativity is a part of the job, all day every day, regardless of COVID-19. While the world has been forced to make drastic changes, this industry has taken this challenging time and turned it into an immense opportunity to innovate. Throughout TLCC2020, we heard of many wonderfully creative ways that Tessitura users are keeping their patrons engaged during this unique time. It is remarkable to note all of the forward-thinking ideas that resulted from the pandemic and may not have happened otherwise. Here a few examples:

  • Bravo! Vail Music Festival’s Music Box – a custom-built mobile stage bringing outdoor concerts to communities through the Vail Valley.
  • Philbrook Museum’s garden cat pen pal program – Cleome and Perilla, cats lucky enough to reside in the Philbrook Museum’s lush gardens, have become quite the celebrities. Fans across the country have written them notes, and guess what, they write back!
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s marketing campaign – taking this strange time as an opportunity to refocus on their audience, the Globe plastered London with a new marketing campaign, using the words of Shakespeare to offer an encouraging message, “When If we do meet again, why, we shall smile.”

Above all, positivity and creativity ruled the week, as Tessitura users showed over and over how to pivot in trying times. Reinforcing the idea that the arts are mission-driven, these organizations have taken the challenge of our situation and turned it into a rare opportunity to innovate and enrich the community. And speaking of community, the Tessitura community is stronger than ever. Congratulations on a successful virtual TLCC2020 – we at Adage can’t wait for next year’s hybrid (in-person AND virtual!) event!

Learn more about Adage’s partnership with Tessitura.