Project Title:An Appalachian Summer FestivalInstitution Name:Appalachian State University
Innovation Category:Economic and Workforce Development
Project Director:Denise Ringler, Director of Arts & Cultural ProgramsContact Information:(828) 262.6084, ext. 103,
Project Description:Appalachian State University's Office of Arts &
Cultural Programs established An Appalachian Summer Festival in 1984. This
multi-arts festival is scheduled throughout the month of July, with events
staged on and around the university campus in Boone, North Carolina. Featuring
a wide array of music, dance and theatre performances, as well as visual arts
exhibitions, films, lectures and workshops, the event has a positive influence
on the cultural landscape and quality of life of western North Carolina, and
contributes to economic development of the region by promoting it as a unique
travel destination. The festival is part of a larger Cultural Affairs program
at Appalachian that promotes the teaching mission of the university through
year-round visual and performing arts programming serving university students,
community members, visitors, and K-12 students from across the region.
- Support the teaching mission of the
university by offering a broad array of artistic programs designed to enrich,
inspire and broaden exposure to world-class fine arts programming, while
serving as a “learning lab” for students with an interest in the arts.
- Engage and build new audiences for the fine arts
through the continued development of comprehensive marketing and outreach
plans, affordable ticket pricing, and partnerships
with campus and community organizations/businesses, as well as
- Serve as a gateway to
the university by exposing visitors to the resources of the university, serving
as a development tool for the university, and supporting the strategic goals of
- Serve as an engine for economic
development in the region, with particular emphasis on cultural tourism.
- Attain financial self-sufficiency
through a combination of ticket revenues, annual giving, grants, corporate
sponsorships, and growth in the festival’s endowment fund.
- Establishment of the arts as a key element of the
university’s academic experience, and as a resource contributing the region’s
quality of life. Festival related programming involves the surrounding
- Engagement with a diverse cross-section of the
broader community and the surrounding region in the life of the university.
This has led the festival to play an important role in university development
efforts and has attracted 17 corporate and 14 media sponsors to keep the
- Successfully providing access to “best of the best”
arts programming for residents across the region. Ticket prices are typically
30–50% lower than performances featuring the same artists in other venues. Coupons are distributed to families of all
children in grades k-12 who attend public and private schools, enabling them to
attend festival events at no charge.
- Establishment of the arts as a learning lab for
students who, as interns and volunteers, perform key functions in marketing,
communications, public relations, arts administration, development, artist
relations, and technical/production services.
- Creation of a repeatable, dependable, economic
engine for the area. Attendance studies show the average ticket buyer is a return
customer, creating opportunities for repeat business in the surrounding hotels,
restaurants and shops.
- Comprehensive marketing initiatives have drawn
tourists from surrounding metropolitan areas by positioning the festival as
part of a larger regional travel destination of cultural and natural
cost of high quality arts programming, which requires the establishment of a
strong programming endowment in order to ensure financial sustainability.
access to electronic forms of entertainment (movies, music, online visual art)
which competes with the live performance experience.
isolation, which makes it difficult to attract touring artists.
Potential for Replication:The
model involved with offering a successful summer arts festival at Appalachian State
University is easily replicated, especially for universities with existing
year-round arts programming—given the availability of year-round staff with
expertise in arts presenting and facilities suitable for the presentation of
the performing and visual arts.
Hank Foreman, Associate Vice Chancellor
firstname.lastname@example.org (828) 262-7525
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Kenneth Peacock
, Chancellorpeacockke@appstate.eduDate Published: Monday, July 1, 2013