If you have noticed a few more empty seats at your art event, you’re not alone. Nationwide attendance at arts performances, museums and events is experiencing a downward trend. According to a 2014 study conducted by the Association of Arts Museum Directors and Culture Track, attendance at arts events has decreased from 21 percent to 15 percent since 2011.
The Party, a sponsorship group started by two U students, is taking measures to change that.
“The number one reason students don’t attend arts events is because they have no one to go with,” said Party board member, Briana McLaren.
Their solution: provide someone to go to art events with.
McLaren and Duncan Cox launched the Party two years ago to connect students interested in art. “Duncan thought it would be beneficial to create sort of a group as an outreach to students, that showed the events that were going on, who was going and things like that,” McLaren said. “We hoped that as you start going to these events, maybe you can start to make connections with people and know who you could go with in the future. It was directly in response to that problem.”
The Party sponsors College of Fine Arts groups to help them throw events.
“Through the Party, we promote through social media which goes campus wide,” McLaren said. “A lot of the arts groups don’t have that kind of reach so we’re able to push it to more students, more programs and students in new majors.”
Funds from The Party can go toward anything, including food, printing posters, promotions and Facebook posts for interesting arts events.
The most popular event is the Party’s kickoff each fall semester. Last semester, Kingsbury Hall invited dance crew Versa Style to perform and the Party sponsored a dance party up on stage with the dancers after their performance.
“We think the kickoff event is the big part,” McLaren said. “It’s a way for us to have a further reach and, with that, we can make a more inclusive crowd that can go to these events. Providing the socializing space as well is a little more than just going and leaving, because that way you’re building connections as well.”
The Party aims to provide more audience for the College of Fine Arts groups, and for art students by offering an environment to showcase their work. “For instance, we’ll help out the dance [Facebook] page – they get the word out about upcoming concerts, but they aren’t necessarily able to reach outside the arts college. We want to provide easier access to arts events for people who are not in the College of Fine Arts.”
Find out more on how to get your event involved, as well as how to attend events yourself at https://www.facebook.com/ThePartyatUofU, or apply for sponsorship at HTTP://svy.mk/2gymd5A.