Event Title

Defining Success: A Study of Oberlin College Programming

Location

King Building 101

Start Date

4-27-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 3:20 PM

Abstract

This research project explores the current climate of music programming at Oberlin through the lens of success. In the artistic world, it is a constant struggle to find the right language to evaluate an arts institution that satisfies both business and artistic constituents. How, then, do we choose to define success? Institutions are often forced to focus on numerical indicators: attendance numbers, donation rates, and revenue trends, to describe the otherwise subjective nature of artistic value. The plethora of programming on campus allows us to use Oberlin as a microcosm of larger arts environments such as New York City and Los Angeles and gauge how balance can be struck between qualitative and quantitative measures of evaluation. Through booker interviews, student surveys, and statistical analysis of records from the past eight years, this project focuses on patronage to the Cat in the Cream, The Dionysus Disco, and Finney Chapel to develop a more informed understandings of the inner workings of Oberlin's musical climate. It becomes clear that significant changes must be made in how we present, communicate about, and understand these spaces to ensure they serve their purpose. By accurately identifying how and why these spaces are incurring change, students, staff, and faculty alike can feel more informed in their efforts to create spaces that students continuously want to be in.

Keywords:

programming, music, student union

Notes

Session IV, Panel 12 - Student | Success
Moderator: Libni López, Program Coordinator for Undocumented Student Initiatives in the Multicultural Resource Center

Major

Performing Arts Management

Advisor(s)

Eric Steggall, Managing Director for Theater, Dance and Opera
Chris Jenkins, Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Support

Project Mentor(s)

Eric Steggall, Managing Director for Theater, Dance and Opera
Chris Jenkins, Associate Dean for Academic Support

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Apr 27th, 2:00 PM Apr 27th, 3:20 PM

Defining Success: A Study of Oberlin College Programming

King Building 101

This research project explores the current climate of music programming at Oberlin through the lens of success. In the artistic world, it is a constant struggle to find the right language to evaluate an arts institution that satisfies both business and artistic constituents. How, then, do we choose to define success? Institutions are often forced to focus on numerical indicators: attendance numbers, donation rates, and revenue trends, to describe the otherwise subjective nature of artistic value. The plethora of programming on campus allows us to use Oberlin as a microcosm of larger arts environments such as New York City and Los Angeles and gauge how balance can be struck between qualitative and quantitative measures of evaluation. Through booker interviews, student surveys, and statistical analysis of records from the past eight years, this project focuses on patronage to the Cat in the Cream, The Dionysus Disco, and Finney Chapel to develop a more informed understandings of the inner workings of Oberlin's musical climate. It becomes clear that significant changes must be made in how we present, communicate about, and understand these spaces to ensure they serve their purpose. By accurately identifying how and why these spaces are incurring change, students, staff, and faculty alike can feel more informed in their efforts to create spaces that students continuously want to be in.