St. Johnsbury, VT

Contact Name
Paul Seaton
Project Dates
Project went active 2010
Workshop Leader
Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) 2013
Tags
Technology, Business Planning, Marketing
Catamount Arts serves as northeastern Vermont and northern New Hampshire's central box office for the public, offering patrons one location in which to discover events and purchase tickets. Additionally, the box office unifies the administrative, marketing, and promotional capacities for individual artists, and cultural organizations.
Project Goals
What were the project goals?
The Northeast Kingdom Regional Box Office Project goals included:

- Help local performers and arts organizations expand their administrative and promotional capacity
- Centralized information database to quantify the impact of the creative economy on the regional economy
- Increase access to world-class performances in a rural and economically depressed area
- Increase integration of the arts into the local community and economy
- Increasing patronage through improved marketing and promotion
- User friendly centralized ticketing outlet with coordinated performance scheduling
- Increased revenues to local businesses by creating destination-vacation arts venues
- Online ticketing access

Have they changed over time?
As the project has progressed, we have discovered the critical importance of maintaining and promoting the unique brands of each of our presenting partners to avoid confusion with the public regarding event ownership. We now celebrate their brands in all of our marketing materials.
Who are the project partners and stakeholders?
Project Partners and stakeholders include:

- Burke Mountain
- Caledonia County Fair
- Circus Smirkus
- Church Street Arts
- Colonial Theater
- Counterpoint
- Green Mountain Film Festival
- Haskell Opera House
- Jay Peak Resorts
- Kingdom County Productions
- Littleton Opera House
- Lyndon State College
- NEK Classical Series
- St. Johnsbury Academy

Project Specifics
How was the project implemented? What were the steps taken?
The project was implemented after a slow / methodical 24 month process of bringing on one partner at a time, starting with our two largest partners Circus Smirkus and Kingdom County Production. Steps included: implementation of software, staff training, software customization, identification of partners, establishing pricing, contracting, building venues and shows in the ticketing system, developing marketing and promotional materials, public relations.
Have they been refined over time?
To meet the specific reporting and operational needs of our partners, we have had to do a significant amount of software development / customization.
Obstacles
What were your major obstacles?
- Lack of technological infrastructure.
- Lack of investment for technology.
- Lack of tech savvy staff within the organization or a dedicated tech staff position.
- Relationships take time to develop and need lots of individual attention. We have lots of relationships.
- Building trust takes time and requires lots of patience.
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
In-house and online ticketing systems training. Our key partners helped us bring on later partners by giving testimonial.
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
Focus on building strong relationships with your partners. Funding for a dedicated tech person.
Project Impact
How has this project contributed to creative community building?
This project has helped local artists, non profit organizations, and businesses reach a wider audience and share revenue streams by bringing patrons from one community into another. It has better positioned the Arts as an important contributor to and catalyst of the regional economy.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
The organizations are now working together to promote the Arts in the region. Schedules are being coordinated to avoid audience fatigue and market saturation. Joint booking and marketing synergies are leveraging scarce financial resources. The Arts are now functioning as a key industry sector in regional planning and development.
Were there unexpected impacts?
The ticketing system data streams help town, local non-profits and businesses to coordinate their efforts as they vie for the same supporters and the same funding; it helps boost the regional economy through audience development, and it establishes the arts as a critically important economic sector.
CCX Workshop Handout