Arts Tour Minnesota
ACHF Arts Access
Minnesota professional artists and arts organizations have more opportunities to tour their work throughout the state. Minnesota professional artists and arts organizations tour to communities and regions they haven’t previously visited. More community and nonprofit organizations become involved in presenting touring artists and arts organizations. Dr. Patricia Shifferd created surveys, for concertgoers and musicians, to measure the impact of the project. Musicians commented positively on the touring experience. Audiences were very appreciative, In New Ulm and Blue Earth, many people invited the Orchestra to come back in the future. The number of people who attended in Morton was low, but attendees were appreciative. One of the individuals who attended in Morton also came to the New Ulm performance to hear the concert again. Ninety-six percent of survey respondents said they were very likely or likely to attend a future Mankato Symphony Orchestra performance in their community if the opportunity arose again.
This is the second time in recent history that our orchestra has travelled to other locations and the first time that we have been the initiators. The Mankato Symphony Orchestra presented three orchestra concerts in Morton, New Ulm, and Blue Earth, all rural communities that do not have many opportunities to hear live classical music. The concerts were approximately ninety minutes long and included a post-concert question and answer/discussion session. This provided new opportunities to our musicians, who ordinarily perform only in Mankato. One musician response to the value of touring was, “Our performances improved greatly over the couple weeks [that the tour lasted]. It also helped the orchestra become more malleable as an ensemble. We had the opportunity to try things and do things differently for different performances. The repertoire choices were great to play and fit the performance opportunities well.” People who attended the performances were further engaged in a post-concert session where they could ask questions of our music director, flute soloist, and a retired music professor who is a violinist in the orchestra and the author of our program notes. The notes provided basic information about each piece, so the post-concert sessions allowed people to ask all kinds of questions and gain additional information. Orchestral performances are often one-way presentations; the discussion allowed audience members to get to know some of the performers and learn more about the pieces, instruments, and roles. 2: Executive Director Sara Buechmann chose the locations based on feasibility, receptivity, and perceived need. Time and budget constraints prevented us from travelling farther or offering more than three tour performances. Morton offered to host a concert when we were seeking venues for the Dakota Music Tour in 2010. Because it was in the same vicinity as the Upper and Lower Sioux Reservations we visited previously, and because of the Native American music programmed as part of the tour, we hoped to attract some of the same audience. New Ulm was chosen because it is a community that is near Mankato, yet seems disproportionately underserved by the Orchestra. Although several of our musicians come from New Ulm, we do not see a corresponding portion of our audience come from that region. The New Ulm performance was an attempt to reach out to that community. Blue Earth, a rural community with a thriving concert series, had approached us in the past. But without grant assistance, we had been unable to hire an orchestra to perform there.
Other, local or private