Case study: exhibition and patron insight.

Attracting visitors to a ticketed exhibition and understanding how those visitors contribute to the long term vitality of a contemporary art museum.


The Nasher Museum of Art is a leading contemporary art museum in the US, presenting an evolving showcase of evocative and ground-breaking works, while bringing important world-class exhibitions to Durham and North Carolina since its inception in 2004. The museum is the linchpin of Duke University’s commitment to the arts, The Arts@Duke.  I partnered with director Kim Rorschach in two critical initiatives around how the museum relates to their patrons.

Exhibition promotion.

In support of their exhibition “Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters:  The Cone Sisters of Baltimore”, I recalibrated their marketing efforts from a business perspective – analyzed patron data and projected visitor/revenue goals, renewed the traditional and digital media plan, informed creative strategy, and created an integrated program with the local NBC TV station – with advertising, local programming, digital and news coverage. Revenue and visitor goals were exceeded by 20% and became the second largest show in the museum’s history.

Patron insight.

I fielded a primary research project through Duke’s Office of Institutional Research to better understand the attitudes and motivations of why people become members and patrons, the decision-making process to visit the museum and their competitive set in the local market. The insights from this research has provided important direction to create more impactful promotional efforts, member-engagement programs and a seamless initiative to build patron involvement and giving over the next five years.