How Do We Engage Millennials?

"How to engage Millennials" is a hot button issue within the cultural community these days, one that often defaults to a reliance on social media. But we all know by now that a Facebook page or a Twitter feed doesn't automatically lead to throngs of "Generation Next" members attending a performance or opening. If this generation is more open and curious than any before, how can arts organizations tap into that energy?

In December 2011, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage presented Engaging Millennials: Beyond Social Media (or How Twitter Will Not Save Your Arts Organization) to explore answers to this question. Co-organized by Dustin Hurt (Bowerbird), and Kate Kraczon (Institute of Contemporary Art), the conference presented insights by a group of artists, including Jayson Musson (Hennessy Youngman), Eliza Ryan (MoMA PopRally, MoMA PS1 Warm Up), Anthony Smyrski (Megawords), Alex Tyson and Joe Patitucci (Data Garden), Cate Conmy (LaPlaca Cohen), and Judd Greenstein (Brooklyn-based composer). Their presentations were followed by lively conversations with those who attended.

Reflecting on the event on his blog, Smyrski wrote: "If you aren't making good work that resonates with the lives of younger people, forget trying to make a connection. Millennials seek depth, meaning, involvement and relevance. If you believe that what you are doing is important, the onus is on you to figure out how to tell that story to a wider audience. You'll need to do this while remaining true to your mission, and without dumbing it down." Read more >