Multiculturalism and Gentrification: Culturally Specific Performing Arts Organizations in Harlem
By: Teresa Calves
Published: 05/2016
Uploaded: 07/11/2016
Uploaded by: Arts Administration Program
Pockets: Arts Administration, Arts Administration Program Theses (Permission Required), Arts Administration: General, Community Arts, Dance, Marketing, Music, Opera
Tags: arts administration, Audience engagement, funding, Programming, University art gallery

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Description/Abstract: Performing arts organizations are facing multiple obstacles (lower ticket sales and subscriptions, a new audience’s expectations, and new trends in fundraising) and must create a balance between adapting to these challenges, while remaining true to their values. While this is true of many organizations, what unique challenges and opportunities do culturally specific performing arts organizations face? When these organizations are situated in changing neighborhoods, and therefore facing changing audiences, how do arts organization leaders that traditionally serve African American or Latino audiences adapt? Do they need to? How do they maintain their organization's history, culture, and mission while their community gentrifies? Many mainstream organizations are making efforts to diversify their artists, staff, and audience. Does this have any affects on culturally specific performing arts organizations and if so, what are these?
This study examines four performing arts organizations in Harlem and explores how gentrification and multiculturalism have affected them and if their programming, mission, marketing, and development strategies have had to change. Understanding Harlem’s history and culture will reveal the origins of these organizations while highlighting the changes taking place in the neighborhood that these artists serve. Examining the roles the organizations have played in the past will shed light on their current and future roles for their audiences.