Don’t forget the gravy at your venue!

James Powell - October 19, 2018

The meat and potatoes of your venue is its mission—presenting interesting and inspiring creative output. But don’t forget about the gravy. The weddings, conferences, yoga classes, and meetings which bring in regular income allow your organization to move ahead with its mission…and maybe even take a few risks.

Don’t forget the gravy at your venue!

To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.

Bette Davis

Over the past year, the JCA Artifax team has been working with a number of new clients to look at how rental teams and programming teams work together to resolve conflicts that arise from competing demands for limited space and time.

With museums, for example, the exhibition schedule takes priority. We’re not going to turn down the Picasso tour because JCA want to hold their conference at our museum. But things can get fuzzy around the edges of when a space is available—we may have some small spaces which we can rent during opening hours, but the big events need to be out of hours. We know the exhibition dates, but do we know the detail of the change-over far enough in advance to know if we can load in that big corporate event without risking incoming or outgoing art?

The ambiguity increases when a venue is not traditionally structured. One ArtifaxEvent client is a museum that spans several New York City blocks and hosts multiple events after hours every day. Another museum is essentially one giant spiral room, so only one event can happen at a time. A new client has a state-of-the-art building which can literally double in size for epic performances, but it takes time (as well as staff). So we need to be wary of the scale of bookings, as well as spaces which take time to come into existence.

Different organizations (even those whose walls stay in one place) need different processes for deciding what needs to happen for the mission and what needs to happen to keep the rental money rolling in, and the key to all of these decisions is clarity of vision and clarity of communication. We are encouraging clients to identify what they need to know in order to decide who gets to use what space, and (obviously, as it’s our mission) think about how ArtifaxEvent can help.

If you are an existing or future user of ArtifaxEvent in North America and you want to explore defining your space, prioritizing event bookings, or other venue-related questions, please get in touch with me.

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James Powell's avatar


James Powell

James joined Artifax in 2000 before moving to Philadelphia in 2011. He now implements ArtifaxEvent for North American clients. Unless you have a lot of time to kill, never ask him about music or why cricket is better than baseball.


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