Appealing to a broader audience…

Jessica McClaire
The Woodmere Art Museum is an institution that takes great strides to truly interpret and represent the Philadelphia community and its history.  The collection Woodmere houses ranges from pre-colonial to contemporary fine art.  A visitor will view a variety of media encompassing everything from sculpture to paintings to installations.

Serving a broad community audience is a major objective for Woodmere.  They strive towards this goal through the assortment of programming the institution offers.   Whether a visitor is looking to learn more about art or socialize with friends in a beautiful art-filled setting, Woodmere hopes to have something for you.
However, despite this goal, the Woodmere’s primary audience is in fact limited to middle to upper class 50 – 70 year olds.  If the Woodmere wishes to move further towards engaging its younger Philadelphia community members there are a few concepts it should embrace.  These ideas originate from Rohit Bhargava’s 8 Ways to Make Arts Organizations More Human.
I would like to first point out that Woodmere has actually already incorporated a couple of Bhargava’s ideas.  But, as I stated previously, there are a few concepts it could still utilize to its advantage.   The institution currently holds an active Facebook page and a semi-active blog and YouTube account.   These are platforms that can be expanded on in order to make Woodmere “more human” and in so doing appeal to a younger audience segment.
The institution can do this by sharing its outtakes.  Meaning, when an auctioneer makes a mistake and says the wrong title of a piece of artwork or an employee hangs an abstract painting upside down share it with the public on one of Woodmere’s social media platforms.  Visitors want to see themselves in an institution.  When a museum shows it is “human” and makes mistakes just like its visitors, it will endear itself to the community.
Secondly, Woodmere should engage in community partnerships with organizations that serve younger audiences.  By broadening its network, an institution can reach a broader audience.  These community partnerships could possibly consist of bringing art activities to afterschool programs or community festivals.
Lastly, an institution can give its audience “behind the scenes” opportunities.  Visitors appreciate the V.I.P. treatment.   And, letting them in on the inner workings of Woodmere is a great way to make its audience feel special.  The museum can show visitors what it takes to organize an exhibition or maintain a piece of artwork.  Even something as simple as sharing an interesting monthly team building exercise would be a great way to make Woodmere more appealing to a broader audience.