Last winter, our small-town nonprofit arts organization decided it wanted to do something during our long dark winters to bring people together to be creative in its gallery space. Thus was born free weekly
. Problem is, people don't go. How do we change this?
In a bigger city, it might be something like Chicago Craft Social
. But here, it's just a four-hour chunk of time after work for people to bring in and make progress on their own projects (e.g., knitting, beading, drawing, scrapbooking, papercraft) around a fun, social table of other creative folks. Kind of like a sewing circle, but open to anything. No host, no class, no cost, just social time to be creative. Central location, lots of parking, lots of space to spread out.
A core group of three people have a really good time. The organization has advertised, posted flyers, even had an article written about it. It goes in the e-newsletter, on the web site, on Facebook, and there are postcards to pass around. Every time someone new hears about it, they light up and genuinely express interest in the chance to socialize with other creative people. They say "hey, how come I don't know about this?!"...and then they don't go.
In a perfect world, about 20-25 people would show up with a variety of projects. They'd laugh and share stories and make progress on projects that usually sit in a drawer at home. Maybe they'd share ideas, advice and skills. It would become an exciting creative space that people would look forward to visiting often.
The only idea thus far is to advertise a special one-night Craft Social event on that same night, with planned activities in a lively environment and use it as a vehicle to say "hey look, we do this EVERY WEEK...just dust off your own project and come on in!" If you think this would work, what does the successful event look like?
WHY don't people come? And how can we get them to?