The ArtBoy Chronicles

ArtBoy exposes the naked truth about marketing Fond du Lac

on Tuesday, 04 June 2013.

Between sound demos, ceiling crashes, trees falls, brick blasts, fundraising, planning, planning, and more planning, it was brought to my attention I have not blogged in a while. I was so hoping no one would notice. Blog? What blog? What’s a blog? Don’t I have people for this?

I don’t.

But I do have people who are working feverishly to make sure the expanded art center will be ready to open September 10 as well as preparing for THE REVEAL on June 25. 

Speaking of which, it was gratifying to see the headline from the May 31st edition of The Reporter pertaining to The Reveal. Click here to read.

This kind of exposure goes a long way in raising community awareness. Awareness outside Fond du Lac is also important and one of the key factors in the arts center expansion. If Fond du Lac is going to be attractive to tourists we need attractive venues and we need a visible marketing presence outside our community. This includes everything from travel publications to digital billboards. These are the kinds of marketing strategies being implemented at the arts center with the goal of bringing more visitors to our downtown. More visitors to our restaurants, hotels, businesses, parks, attractions, etc….

Another key component of the expansion is to make our downtown more attractive for work and play as well as more attractive for economic development.

Our downtown has great “bones”. Historic buildings, that if properly developed, could provide jobs, an increase in tourism, an increase in the tax base, as well as attract college students and top tier talent for our employers. Downtown Fond du Lac has already seen a positive economic impact with Commonwealth Development’s Trinity Hall and artist housing projects located directly behind your arts center.

Of course the major reason for our expansion is that it allows our organization to make the arts accessible to our community on a much larger level. More opportunities for arts education, performances, exhibitions. More opportunities to celebrate with friends and family.

So when you come down to Sheboygan Street (yes, Sheboygan Street), all of these wonky points will manifest themselves in dancing, shouting, silliness, artiness, and the coolest construction site concert ever!

I have attached some video of the great Paul Cebar who will be performing for THE REVEAL on the 25th. See you then!

Membership, thumb screws and the Iron Maiden

on Sunday, 23 June 2013.

Membership was created to help supporters of Windhover Center support Windhover Center.

But, and there is always a big but somewhere around here, when resources are limited membership can be like having a tiger by the tail.

Say you’re a not-for-profit arts organization and you’ve got a good number of loyal members and all want to hear from you. But many arts organizations do not have the resources to be responsive to their member needs. Volunteers are required to administer the membership program, but volunteer hours are limited and typically staffed by more than one volunteer.

More than one person doing the same job breeds chaos. “I thought you were handling this!” “I thought you were!!” In the meantime, members are calling wondering where their member cards, renewal reminders, or newsletters are!

All of the above played out at Windhover Center. All are cringe worthy moments. Here are a few other of my “favorite” cringe moments: Some of our best ticket purchasers weren’t members. Why? Cuz they never heard from us. Cringe. Or they did hear from us and it took 2 months to receive their member card! Cringe.

Just say no to Cringe.

With some of the resources that are now available, Windhover Center can now say no to cringe. Hopefully our members have noticed an increase in communication from Windhover. New software is being implemented so we can stay connected with our members like never before. We also have a few more hands helping. Certainly, more qualified hands, such as Jacqui Corsi our new marketing director. Her marketing initiatives have nearly doubled our membership rolls in the first quarter of 2013 alone!

Jacqui also has a whipping boy….Young Andrew Lang. Hopefully some of our members have been able to meet Andrew and the experience was positive. If it wasn’t, we’ll drag up the thumb screws and the Iron Maiden, both of which have been outstanding tools in improving morale and productivity.

Torture aside, all of the membership improvements have been done to make sure we are responsive to our member needs as well as staying better connected. Our members are truly important to us and Windhover Center would not be in the positive position we are in now if it were not for the generosity of our members.

So we will be better. We will be able to handle the success of increased member rolls. We will be able to offer you more for your membership: From advanced ticket sales and discounted merchandise, to complete connectivity to all that is going on. And of course the overseas art trips (still room for France!).

Big things are happening and we want our members front and center. See you for The Reveal on June 25.

-           ArtBoy

PS: I am taking reservations for Andrew Lang’s torture sessions.


Be a member or else!!

ArtBoy reflects on future, Davina and the Vagabonds

on Tuesday, 26 March 2013.

March 29 is indeed, Good Friday. Davina and the Vagabonds make their annual pilgrimage to Fond du Lac this Friday – and it’s got me all wistful….Wistful even a word? Maybe wussful?

The last few blogs were really a tongue in cheek review of Windhover Center’s history. Not everyone is as familiar with the Masons and Gerard Manley Hopkins as a certain anonymous reader, but hopefully the message that all of the current progress is built upon the very early days of the Arts Council. Windhover’s rise to prominence has also been built upon a series of fairly high profile concerts featuring such diverse performers as Eric Bibb, Marcia Ball, Eugene Rousseau, Asleep at the Wheel, Bonerama, and, of course, Davina and the Vagabonds.

Thanks to a Vagabonds performance at Milwaukee’s Bastille Days, attended by Wayne Wallschlaeger and Bruce Mach, Mach Funeral Chapel sponsored the band's first gig at Windhover. Next thing you know we have a sold out show, a huge party on our hands in the Great Hall, and a return date for another sold out show in 2012.

This year we have a construction project on our hands and events are just not possible --not until September 10….but that’s too damn long a wait to: party …. dance….hear great music…..hang with 250 of your closest pals. What can we do? We have no elevator. Great Hall has no ceiling.

Like everyone, when help is needed, we turned to our neighbors – Elks Lodge #57 – and for one night only, this Friday, the Elks Lodge on Sheboygan Street becomes “Windhover West”. So now we have a venue, we have a bar, but what band to bring to town? What band that could represent all of the great things that are happening to Windhover and downtown Fond du Lac? Well…let me think… how about a band, that according to NPR’s Marc Silver, features a piano player with “classically trained fingers that shimmy down the piano keys and meet up with an insistent boogie-woogie bass.” Silver was discussing Davina and the Vagabonds record LIPSTICK AND CHROME which was a NPR SONG OF THE DAY.
So yeah, Fondy, big things are on the way for Davina and the Vagabonds. Big things are on the way for our hometown. I hope you can attend and celebrate our bright future. It’ll be a hell of a show for a Good Friday gig. See you soon.

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51 Sheboygan Street
Fond du Lac, WI 54935

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