From adversity can come disaster or greatness. I therefore get inspired when I see something that could easily be sitting in the gutter, considering the odds, and yet it rises to the level of brilliance. The latter is the case for InWilmington.
In case you were not aware, the 2008 recession delivered a devastating blow to the arts. Funding sources dried up, consumers of the arts suffered a lack of discretionary income; all the while the expenses to carry Delaware’s various arts organizations remained.
In previous economies, many local arts organizations operated in silos. Each entity focused on their own mission. Typically they collaborated, only when required, as their programs overlapped with others. But for the most part, each had their own Board, their own director, their own fundraiser, etc… 2008 changed all that. The arts organizations that chose to survive began collaborating, sharing ideas, staff, overhead and programs. Case in point is the unprecedented realignment of The Grand, Opera Delaware, The DelawareSymphony, and The First State Ballet. Because of their renewed collaboration, all ships now seem to be pointed in the direction of recovery.
But collaboration was not all that was required. Innovation and leadership, that could drive demand was missing. Members of the arts community in Wilmington discovered that in order for them to thrive, not just survive, they needed to create a heightened sense of awareness for the consumer, that Wilmington is a destination for all sorts of activities. If they could do this, the arts would be a beneficiary. These leaders began brining attention to the undiscovered vibrancy of the arts, the restaurant community, local festivals, athletics, and other forms of entertainment to the very forefront of the consumers’ mind as they were choosing how to spend their leisure time.
A 2009 arts marketing study funded by a grant from the Longwood Foundation determined several critical findings for Wilmingtonarts organizations, primarily that known arts consumers in a 50 mile radius in the region wanted a definitive source for information on Wilmington arts opportunities. Since no such source existed, a consortium of arts leaders worked for several years to develop a creative and compelling solution. With financial support provided by the Delaware Secretary of State’s office and private donors, an innovative marketing firm was engaged to amplify an existing but under-resourced Wilmington marketing campaign with a focus on arts and entertainment. The result is IN Wilmington, a multi-platform awareness campaign that drives potential patrons to a comprehensive web portal. The web portal includes event information, but convenient dining and parking options, other similarevents, and a wealth of other information patrons desire in making their attendance decisions.
In other words, in an instant, you can pull up onyour mobile device or on your web browser a host of incredible activities going on RIGHT NOW. It can even tell you where to park!
Can you imagine the impact of this collaboration and this technology when we all carry round this website (and soon to be app) on our PDAs? How about when visitors to our town discover how easy it is to find a place to eat or something to do! Here is a sneak peek at their work: http://inwilmingtonde.com/mobile/index.php
Let’s give a standing ovation to those who didn’t sit on the sidelines but rather fought back during a bleak economy and created InWilmington. Congratulations.
Let them know what you think in the comments below….