Francie Ostrower, The University of Texas at Austin
Francie Ostrower

Dr. Francie Ostrower
Professor of Public Affairs and Fine Arts
Director of the Portfolio Program in Arts and
Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship

Senior Fellow

In Search of the Magic Bullet: Results from the Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative

Francie Ostrower, LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin

A new report by LBJ School Professor Francie Ostrower sheds light on the artistic and fiscal challenges that 25 performing arts organizations encountered while seeking to build new audiences, yielding insights into approaches that worked, and those that didn’t. Overall, the findings suggest that while expanding audiences is possible, it may not always happen on an organization’s desired terms. Therefore, if organizations want to change how audiences engage with them, they must be open to changing themselves. This research was funded by the Wallace Foundation.

Francie Ostrower is a professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and College of Fine Arts, Director of the Portfolio Program in Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship jointly sponsored by the College of Fine Arts and the LBJ School, and a senior fellow in the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service. She is principal investigator of the Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative: Research and Evaluation, a six-year study of audience-building activities by performing arts organizations commissioned and funded by The Wallace Foundation through a multi-million dollar grant. Prior to joining The University of Texas at Austin in 2008, she was a senior research associate at the Urban Institute and prior to that a sociology faculty member at Harvard University. Dr. Ostrower has been a visiting professor at IAE de Paris/Sorbonne Graduate Business School and is an Urban Institute affiliated scholar. She has authored numerous publications on philanthropy, nonprofit governance, and arts and cultural participation that have received awards from the Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and Independent Sector. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Aspen Institute, among others. Recent professional activities include serving as a board member and president of ARNOVA and on the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly board, and the academic advisory committee of Stanford Social Innovation Review.