Actionable Data About Arts Audiences

ArtsBoston Audience Initiative

The ArtsBoston Audience Initiative (AAI) is the region’s first resource for actionable data about arts audiences specially designed to provide the information the cultural sector needs to measure, support, and promote participation in the region. It is the flagship of ArtsBoston’s growing work in the arena of cultural data and leverages a database of 1.5 million arts-going households.

The ArtsBoston Audience Initiative’s purpose is two-fold. It provides sector-wide context of audience participation regionally and it also helps arts organizations unlock the power of data to provide strategic direction, benchmarks of best practices, and measurable results for marketing and development efforts.

The Boston Globe highlighted the Audience Initiative in its 2014 “Game Changers” issue celebrating the people and things making Massachusetts “a national leader in innovation.”


Understanding Audiences

Through our partnership with TRG Arts (TRG), participating organizations have access to the Data Center system, an online, user friendly interface that includes analytical tools and reports to help them better understand current audiences. In addition, TRG appends accurate demographic information to approximately 75% of the data supplied at no additional charge, which allows organizations to pull free demographic reports.

Marketing Efficiency and Effectiveness

By better understanding where audiences are coming from and what activities they enjoy, organizations can tailor their message and target their outreach to not only engage new patrons, but get current patrons to return more often. All of the data is also run through the US Postal Service’s National Change of Address (NCOA) on a quarterly basis, helping reduce the number of returned pieces and maintaining compliance with new bulk mail regulations.

Contextualizing the Marketplace

Community level reporting is available to provide critical context of how arts organizations’ audiences compare locally, both in term of other cultural organizations and within the population as a whole. In addition, because TRG administers 19 patron databases around the county, they can provide a national perspective as needed.

Finding Your Best Prospects

The AAI gives arts organizations access to over 1.4 million culturally active households, the ability to run comparison reports and simplifies the direct mail list trading process between organizations. Each organization maintains 100% control of their data through a permission-based request process.

FEE STRUCTURE: April 1, 2024 – March 31, 2025

Budget Size ArtsBoston Members Non Members
Under $50,000 $255 $475
$50,000 – $100,000 $305 $575
$100,001 – $500,000 $525 $1,000
$500,001 – $1,000,000 $825 $1,500
$1,000,001 – $5,000,000 $1,295 $2,375
$5,000,000+ $2,359 $3,520


TRG Arts is a renowned research and marketing firm devoted to the arts sector. TRG has spent the last decade building a robust online system for arts organizations to create, pull and distribute mailing lists. By combining that system with easily accessible market research on who audiences are and could be, its eMerge platform has become the leading database system of its kind nation-wide.


The ArtsBoston Audience Initiative was launched with generous support from the Barr Foundation and the Boston Foundation.