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.
Zeitgeist presented our production, For the Birds by Victor Zupanc and Kevin Kling, in four Minnesota communities throughout Minnesota. For the Birds was developed by Zeitgeist, Kling, and Zupanc in 2010 and has been the main vehicle through which we introduce our work to greater Minnesota audiences ever since. In each community we visited through this project, we encountered audiences a bit familiar with Kling but very unfamiliar with the work of Victor Zupanc and Zeitgeist. In each community, our production was an artistic success and increased the visibility of all of our artists. We evaluated the artistic success of our production based on the feedback of our artists, discussions with our presenters, and feedback from our audience members. Our artistic team gathered this feedback from discussions with presenters and audience members after each performance. For the Birds toured to Menahga (Menahga High School), Park Rapids (Calvary Lutheran Church), Alexandria (Theatre L’Homme Dieu), and Owatonna (Owatonna Arts Center). Created with the small community presenter in mind, For the Birds is highly accessible to a wide range of audience members and is technically hassle-free for venues to present. Plus, with the inclusion of Kevin Kling as our featured performer, For the Birds is easy to promote to audiences. For the Birds is the most accessible new music show that Zeitgeist has developed, and we have been using it to introduce our work to small communities throughout Minnesota. We selected each community because we had not had the opportunity to perform in each before and are seeking to develop audiences throughout Minnesota. With regard to engaging audiences, we worked with each of our presenting organizations to create awareness of For the Birds within the community. In each community, posters were displayed throughout the business district and local papers or radio stations featured interviews with our artists. These measures worked very well. One of the advantages of presenting in a small community is that media is accessible to the community and creating awareness for local happenings is manageable and relatively inexpensive. After each performance, Zeitgeist and our artists were available to discuss the work and answer questions. Audiences were receptive and engaged and we note that several from each performance either signed up for our email list or our Facebook page. 2: Through this project, Zeitgeist visited four communities that we had not visited previously. In doing so, we were hoping to begin building connections with audiences in each community and strengthen our relationship with each presenter. Our goal was to visit each community with an accessible and attractive production that would attract audiences and be easy for our presenters to present and promote. Each of our presenters has indicated that they would have Zeitgeist back again, and we even have nascent plans to develop new programming with one of them. As to audiences, discussions with audience members after each show indicated that they found the show delightful and deeply meaningful and that they would look forward to another visit by Zeitgeist to their community. At each location, several audience members did sign up for our mailing list or Facebook page. More remarkably, we’ve had audience members that first encountered us on this For the Birds tour attend Zeitgeist events at Studio Z in St Paul. We weren’t anticipating that positive outcome. On the other hand, we were hoping to attract more audience members on our first trip to each of these communities. While some of this shortfall was because we made a change in our project that placed us in smaller communities, we still had hoped for 25%-35% more people in each location with the exception of Alexandria. In each community, the presenter had a great deal of input into what our activities would entail. We were available for outreach activities, and each venue elected to include a post-concert discussion and reception as part of their activities. In Alexandria, we were able to make this a formal question and answer affair, but in the other communities, this interaction was more informal.
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