Arts Council of New Orleans Supported in Helping New Orleans Arts Community Recover From Katrina

Contact: Cindy Jobbins, 215.575.4812, Robbie Denny, 504.571.1833


New Orleans, Orleans, LA - 12/14/2006 - The Arts Council of New Orleans announced today that it will implement a new online marketing tool and half-price e-mail ticket program to increase attendance for New Orleans cultural organizations. The goal is to make the arts more affordable and accessible for New Orleans' residents and visitors. The program is being made possible by a grant of $392,000 from The Pew Charitable Trusts and $48,000 from the William Penn Foundation, both provided to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. The Cultural Alliance will work with the Arts Council of New Orleans (ACNO) to create and launch an online regional events calendar, www.NOLAFunGuide.com, and FunSavers, a weekly half-price ticket program.

NolaFunGuide.com is scheduled to launch in spring 2007, followed by the launch of the FunSavers program shortly thereafter.

"Because cultural organizations and the public are increasingly depending on the internet to access information, NOLAFunGuide.com and the FunSavers program will offer a quick and efficient way to communicate with our audiences," said Shirley Corey, President and CEO of the Arts Council of New Orleans. "That means it will be easier and more affordable for residents to enjoy and support the arts in New Orleans."

"Philadelphia understands the social and economic value of the arts, particularly to a city like New Orleans. The Pew Charitable Trusts is proud to join with our partners in the cultural community to offer this special gift to New Orleans as an important step toward its recovery. The grant will help the city build on its unique strength and character," said Marian Godfrey, Managing Director, Culture and Civic Initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The project is modeled on a pre-existing platform, PhillyFunGuide.com, developed by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and interactive media firm, Zero Defect Design LLC, with Pew funding. Zero Defect Design LLC will also design the NOLAFunGuide.com site for ACNO.

In Philadelphia, the program, which highlights upcoming events and allows customers to purchase tickets, has been instrumental in building awareness and attendance for the local cultural community. PhillyFunGuide.com has been recognized nationally as a model for successful online event promotion. The half-price ticket component of the program, FunSavers, has sold 95,000 tickets and generated $1.5 million in revenue for hundreds of Greater Philadelphia cultural groups since its launch in 2002. All of this revenue was from the sale of tickets at the last minute-seats that otherwise would have gone empty.

"New Orleans is a national treasure. We're honored to play a part in the city's ongoing recovery. This project is fundamentally about transferring an existing, proven marketing platform, in order to accelerate the rebirth of a truly great city," said Peggy Amsterdam, President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

Perhaps more than any other city in America, culture in New Orleans is widely acknowledged as being the central focus of regional identity and key to economic well-being. A recent mayoral commission confirmed that restoring the city's cultural heritage in all of its forms-music, food, history and craft traditions-will be a main component in rebuilding the city following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

In addition to the considerable physical damage to its buildings, the arts community in New Orleans has experienced diminished capacity to communicate with its audiences due to irregular hours, substitute venues and disruption of basic postal services. The Web and email services of the NOLAFunGuide will provide reliable and accessible sources of communication about cultural organizations and events across the city.

The NOLAFunGuide.com project, which is designed to support New Orleans' overall recovery strategy, is truly a collaborative effort between New Orleans and Philadelphia. The Arts Council of New Orleans will lead the initiative and collaborate with the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation (NOTMC). The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, which developed and runs PhillyFunGuide.com and Funsavers, will donate consulting services and provide licensing of the software at no charge. NOTMC will provide in-kind resources and advertising, and use the calendar on its tourism websites, NewOrleansOnline.com, NewOrleansMuseums.com, and HearNewOrleansMusic.com.

"The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation is excited to help implement this critical project which will bring added value to tourism for both locals and visitors alike. We applaud the Arts Council and thank The Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance for their generous contribution," said Sandra Shilstone, President & CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.

For more details read the Frequently Asked Questions below.

For more information on the project and participating organizations, please visit www.artscouncilofneworleans.org.

------------------------------------------- Frequently Asked Questions About the NOLAFunGuide

1. What is NOLAFunGuide.com?

NOLAFunGuide.com will be a comprehensive online listing of arts and cultural activities in the New Orleans region. The web site will include not-for-profit arts and heritage activities as well as a broad range of entertainment options. Key umbrella organizations (led by the Arts Council of New Orleans and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation) have already committed to implementing the calendar within their own websites. This will enable the Arts Council to provide a comprehensive online destination for residents (NOLAFunGuide.com) while also supplying existing tourism sites (NewOrleansOnline.com, NewOrleansMuseums.com, and HearNewOrleansMusic.com) with event information from a single central database. Launch is scheduled for spring 2007.

2. What is FunSavers?

NOLAFunGuide.com is also the access point for FunSavers, a weekly e-mail program that blends two successful marketing concepts: the airlines' e-savers program and half-price ticket booths. Visitors to the online calendar can register for FunSavers and receive weekly e-mail notices about the availability of last-minute, half-price tickets. Offers are rotated to encourage consumers to attend a cultural event or try a new cultural discipline without conditioning them to pay less for tickets that they would otherwise be willing to purchase at full price. This feature will provide consumers with the convenience of one-stop shopping and allow arts organizations to immediately close the sale. FunSavers will launch in early summer 2007.

3. Who is the Arts Council of New Orleans?

The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as New Orleans official arts agency. Now in its 31st year, the Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services. The Arts Council will design, launch and run NOLAFunGuide.com and also manage the New Orleans FunSaver program. Additional information on the Arts Council is available at www.artscouncilofneworleans.org.

4. Who are The Pew Charitable Trusts?

The Pew Charitable Trusts serves the public interest by providing information, advancing policy solutions and supporting civic life. The Trusts will invest $248 million in fiscal year 2007 to provide organizations and citizens with fact-based research and practical solutions for challenging issues. The Culture program assures that the Philadelphia region's arts and heritage continue to thrive by supporting a broad spectrum of institutions and artists, innovative artistic and programmatic projects, and marketing initiatives. The program has invested more than $150 million in cultural organizations and activities in the Philadelphia region over the last ten years.

5. Who is the William Penn Foundation?

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that foster rich cultural expression, strengthen children's futures, and deepen connections to nature and community. In partnership with others, the Foundation works to advance a vital, just, and caring community. Learn more about the Foundation online at www.williampennfoundation.org.

6. Who is the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation?

The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation promotes the city as a leisure tourism destination throughout the year with special emphasis on developing visitation during traditionally slow travel periods. NOTMC's marketing campaigns include strategic print, broadcast, and Internet advertising and public relations. Websites that it manages and that will utilize the new events calendar are: www.NewOrleansOnline.com, www.NewOrleansMuseums.com, and www.HearNewOrleansMusic.com.

7. Who is the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance?

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is the Philadelphia region's premier leadership and advocacy organization for arts and culture. The Cultural Alliance works in four key areas: marketing, cultural policy, grantmaking, and member services.

Through its "Campaign for Culture" the Alliance builds audiences and increase income for regional cultural institutions through collaborative marketing initiatives. Specific programs include PhillyFunGuide.com, the region's most complete online entertainment events calendar; FunSavers, a weekly half-price ticket e-mail service; and the Cultural List Cooperative, a master database of cultural consumers in the region.

The Alliance also provides advocacy, research, convening, and planning services. This work makes the case for public funding for arts and culture, encourages arts-based community development projects, and charts future directions for the non-profit culture industry. Additional information on the Cultural Alliance is available at www.philaculture.org.

8. Why this partnership?

A survey by the Arts Council of New Orleans, conducted from February-May 2006, reinforced that marketing is a high priority for cultural organizations in New Orleans. Respondents identified that both marketing and access to new audiences were two of the top three areas of need. Additionally, the recovery strategy mapped out by the Bring New Orleans Back Commission relies centrally on culture and cultural marketing.

At the same time New Orleans has been restoring its base and planning its future, Philadelphia has been expanding and developing its marketing tools. The PhillyFunGuide.com website and FunSavers email are now at the forefront of electronic marketing for cultural organizations. This project is fundamentally about transferring an existing, proven marketing platform to accelerate the recovery of a region in need.

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