Wallace Excellence Awards – SFJAZZ

Wallace Excellence Awards provide support to exemplary arts organizations in selected cities to identify, develop and share effective ideas and practices to reach more people.  Eleven arts organizations with budgets over $1 million received these four-year grants.  Findings from their projects are reported here.

Now in its 29th year of presenting jazz and related forms of music to the San Francisco Bay Area, SFJAZZ one of only two major year-round organizations in the country dedicated to cultivating jazz as a living art form with a rich past. The primary goal for our Wallace-funded project has been to reach the 18-34 year old demographic, thus strengthening our sustainability as we move into the new SFJAZZ Center in 2012.

We have employed three strategies to achieve our goal.  The first of these has been the inclusion of artists presented during our two presenting seasons who are likely to appeal to younger audiences. With artists such as Meklit Hadero and Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer attracting our target demographic, our artistic team keeps an eye on balancing the mix of artists in each season.

The second strategy was a decision to shift away from print based advertising to a greater online marketing presence, creating banner ads that have appeared on Facebook, Pandora, and other, similar sites. These efforts have been essential in the promotion of the San Francisco Jazz Festival and SFJAZZ Spring Season. Targeted online advertising now accounts for over 50% of our core outreach, and we have seen growth in both ticket sales and brand awareness from it. On average, with this form of advertising, we are seeing a lower CPM (cost per impressions), yet with a higher number of overall impressions.

Finally, we launched a new concert series, Hotplate, which has given us the opportunity to reach out to the vibrant local music scene and younger demographic. Happening the second Thursday of every month, the series features up-and-coming local talent paying tribute to jazz legends. At a lower ticket cost than our other shows, the nightclub is usually at capacity by the first set, with an eclectic jazz mix of both younger enthusiasts and older aficionados.

Video and photography shot at the Hotplate series, provides content for our social networks pipeline (Facebook/Twitter/YouTube), which we have been actively growing since the beginning of the grant. For the first time we are able to give SFJAZZ a “face” behind the presenter and shine a spotlight on our upcoming shows/events/programs.

See SFJAZZ Hotplate videos by clicking here!

If you are interested, the remaining Hotplates this year are Haggai Cohen Milo plays Zorn (10/13), Marc VW plays Jaco Pastorius (11/10) and Erik Jekabson plays Chet Baker (12/8).

See the SFJAZZ website for more information on our 29th Annual Fall Festival and other happenings!

Collin Moore, Youth Marketing Coordinator, SFJAZZ


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In 2008, The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (GFTA) embarked on a four-year funding partnership to encourage systemic and sustainable structural change in the relationships of Bay Area arts organizations to their audiences, supported by the Wallace Foundation. Community offerings during the grant period (2008-2011) included seminars, workshops, large public convenings, implementation grants, development of a regional shared mailing list, and expansion of the SFArts.org website.




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