Here’s the scenario: someone delegates you the enormous responsibility of planning a community arts festival. It needs to be wildly successful, but you have little-to-no budget and a short time. You nod and say alright (there’s a reason they asked you after all), but your mind is telling you to run screaming.
You can pull off a rockin’ community arts event, even under such constraints. You just need to get out there and connect with venues, community members, and artists.
Here are 5 tips that will help your event:
1. Find a Venue that Will Benefit
Ideally one that has power, running water, and restrooms (inside), so that you don’t need to rent the infrastructure separately. Before you approach the venues, have a good idea of how your event will benefit the space. They may be able to cut you a deal or even allow you to have the space for free.
The definition of venue has changed a bunch. Don’t overlook bookstores, warehouses, barns, and dance studios.
Watch our webinar on turning your empty space into an event space.
2. Pool Community Resources
Don’t underestimate the human need for passion, purpose, and connection. Clearly define your cause and publicize it. Make flyers, post to community apps and Facebook groups, put up a notice at community gathering spaces in your neighborhood. You will be amazed at how easily you can pull together a team of local volunteers.
Every city and town has talented artists who are excited to show off their work. Establish a common vision, make new friends and pull in their friends.
3. Include a Range of Arts
A powerful community arts event can draw a range of people. Keep this in mind as you book and schedule entertainment. When you include a diverse range of acts and people from all walks of life, you will attract and appeal to a wider audience. Consider posting a call for artists and step outside your own comfort zone to find them.
The term “arts” encompasses a range of activities; don’t limit yourself. You could include magic, storytelling, painting, dance, jump rope dancing, circus arts, burlesque, spoken word. The talent is out there, you just need to look for it.
Pro tip: Set up areas at your event for people to chat, before checking out the show. They’re more likely to stick around for the whole event that way.
4. Find Creative Solutions that Don’t Cost
Investigate your venue space and brainstorm ideas for creative ways to engage with it. You will be surprised at how innovative you can get.
At a community arts event we held long ago, our staff member transformed the black-and-white checkered dance floor into a giant game of checkers. Creativity is half the fun and you’re working with one creative bunch, so use their brains.
5. Invite EVERYONE
Don’t limit your invites. Use the steps outlined in this post on how to announce an event on social media . Tell all of your friends, family, coffeehouse owners, people at your gym, local eateries and shops about your arts extravaganza. Talk to local publications and neighborhood blogs—if you can get listed in just a few of them, you’re all set.
Create an event promo video and post it everywhere. Get listed in local events’ newsletters and finally, ask your friends and family to spread the word.
Have you ever had to plan an event that was outside your comfort zone? How did it go?