Marketing Class at Ringling College of Art and Design Takes on Florida Orchestra Audience Development Project

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The Florida Orchestra is collaborating this fall with Business of Art and Design students from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. The students are tasked with developing a marketing plan to increase concert attendance, particularly among young adults.

Group Photo of the Ringling College Business of Art and Design Students tasked with developing Florida Orchestra marketing plan

The Florida Orchestra (TFO) is collaborating this fall with students from Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) located in Sarasota. The students in Ringling College's Business of Art and Design Program are tasked with developing a marketing plan to increase concert attendance, particularly among young adults. Rakefet Bachur, adjunct professor of marketing at RCAD is also the marketing manager at St. Joseph’s Hospitals in Tampa; and a Florida Orchestra patron who regularly attends Masterworks concerts at the Straz Center for the Arts. Each year she selects a local organization with a business problem for her marketing students to take on as a class project, where they can apply and practice their skills.

The sixteen students in Bachur’s Business of Art and Design marketing class are multicultural, coming from the US, Canada, Hong-Kong, Indonesia, East Africa, and the Ukraine. The class is also professionally diverse, with students majoring in advertising design, business of art and design, computer animation, digital film and photography. As part of the marketing project the students will focus on the introduction of the new music director, who is a young British musician and conductor. The 2014/15 season is the first year for music director designate, Michael Francis, who is expected to bring new energy, vibrancy and artistic excellence to the stage.

This past Saturday the students and RCAD faculty attended a Florida Orchestra concert at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. The visit began with a dinner meeting with orchestra staff and board members to discuss the project followed by a pre-concert conversation with the program’s young and fast-rising conductor, Joshua Weilerstein. Following the performances of Adams’ Lollapalooza, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 featuring guest pianist Shai Wosner, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, the students went on a back stage tour, where they had a chance to meet and greet the conductor and orchestra musicians. “For many of the students this was their first orchestra concert and they were delighted and inspired”, said Bachur at the end of the night. “They loved dressing up for the occasion and were captivated by the passion and energy of the conductor and musicians.”

On Thursday, December 4th the students will make a formal presentation to a group of Florida Orchestra board and staff members at RCAD in Sarasota. The students will present a marketing plan and multidisciplinary crea-tive concepts for a campaign to increase orchestra concert attendance among young professionals. The orchestra will review and consider the students’ ideas for the 2015/16 season.

For further information visit The Florida Orchestra online at

Now in its 47th year, The Florida Orchestra performs a wide range of live symphonic concerts throughout the Tampa Bay area. The concert season runs October through May each year and consists of special concerts as well as a variety of concert series, including Masterworks, Pops, Rock and matinee concerts featuring music that enriches and inspires thousands of residents, young and old. Most weekends, performances take place at the Straz Center for the Arts in Tampa on Fridays, the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Saturdays, and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Sundays. In addition, the orchestra performs free Pops in the Park Concerts in fall and spring in Tampa and St. Petersburg, and hosts educational Youth Concerts for students in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties.

Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering the Bachelors of Fine Arts degree the following disciplines: Advertising Design, Computer Animation, Film, Fine Arts, Game Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Motion Design, Painting, Photography & Imaging, Printmaking, and Sculpture, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Business of Art & Design. Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the picturesque 48-acre campus enrolls nearly 1,300 students from 44 states and 50 countries.

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Rich Schineller

Christine Meeker Lange
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