Exploring the Realm of Cultural Mapping & Audience Research

Written by Callie Montalvo

Map of Art Organizations in the area of FWM/Center City.

As we look into the future of museums, as becoming museum professionals, one cannot dismiss the importance of getting to know their audiences. While talking about a museum’s likeability, this is one place a museum can start, which is checking out the demographical information within their area or more so where their visitors hail from. With the Fabric Workshop and Museum, a place that widely known for experimental art in fabrics, new media, and various other materials. They have programming for young adult artists and art in residency programs and have hooked up with various galleries from New York City and Pittsburgh, so it seems from conducting a media overview with this community engagement project. So, with looking at this, how can FWM conduct more of an idea of where to reach out next in terms of their public, especially in the local community? This up and coming program, PolicyMap, can do just that!

Queen Village Neighborhood Map.

While going with my project, my goal is looking at different local areas in which the Fabric Workshop could focus on for a broader audience, in terms of outreach and creating good relationships with local artists and businesses. This would also help during with collaborations for different projects at the Fabric Workshop. At first, I thought, why not Fabric Row, located in the neighborhood Queen Village in Philly.

As you can see below, there’s a chunk of sites or businesses related to the arts in the facility from the City Hall area, where Fabric Workshop is, all the way to the Fabric Row sector of Southeast Philadelphia. From looking at the color coding, there are obviously quite a bit of places where the Fabric Workshop can collaborate and utilize as resources to enhance their publics. A different area that I didn’t consider either, would also be the Old City neighborhood, where there are many galleries, vintage thrift shops and other arts organizations related to the Fabric Workshop, such as the Painted Bride Arts Center.

Community Profile of Queen Village.
Another cool section of the PolicyMap is a new project called Culture Blocks, which you can research and see more than just the statistics of the area or community you are focusing on. I started off looking at Queen Village since I wanted to utilize this area for my proposed program in the project. When you click through these last two screenshots of the maps I created, you can see that you can search the schools with art programs in the area, such as University of the Arts, or community centers such as Fleisher Art Memorial. In Culture Blocks, you can find the information of the local galleries, businesses, and schools in the area that are good resources in the area you are looking at including the demographics specific to that neighborhood. One more great thing from PolicyMap and Culture Blocks is that, if you want to look at multiple neighborhoods, you can also draw (select) your own section of the map to customize your own areas to analyze. You can also download all of your reports as well.
With the advancement of demographical resources, this becomes a seriously great tool for museums to be able to find and get to know exactly who their audiences are or aid them into finding other audiences to create more community engagement, presenting evaluations to stakeholders and funders, and even just to analyze for the museum’s awareness internally. For me, this exploration on PolicyMap has helped in audience research, not just for our Issues in Museums class, but other class projects as well.