News and updates from the Arts People company

Flight picture from the production.

Podcast: Spike speaks with Eric Guerin about the stagecraft of flying actors, and the safety concerns involved

I sat down today to talk with Eric Guerin, who’s a new member of our Client Services staff here at Arts People.  Eric comes to us from the Brighton Center where he was Theatre Director.  In his role there, he recently was part of the creative team of a production with high school students that involved flying two of the actors on stage.  In this podcast we discuss the challenges, concerns and intricacies of flying actors on a theatre stage, and also the overall challenges of creating highly theatrical and exciting productions, while still maintaining strict control over safety.

Listen to podcast (approximately 18 minutes)


Photo:  Actor in fly rigging with cable wrapped in nylon rope to appear he was parachuting down to the stage.  (c) 2017 Blue Heron Photo


Visit them online:
Brighton Center:
Brighton Musical Company:
ZFX Flying:



lille aeske boutique performance space with Sarah Farrell Mackessy

PODCAST: Spike interviews Sarah about lille aeske & boutique performance spaces

I sat down with Sarah Farrell Mackessy of our client services team to talk about her boutique performance space in Boulder Creek, CA.

Originally a gallery to feature her husband’s woodworking business and skills combined with artist gallery space, lille aeske (little box) has quickly become a popular performing arts venue for live music with artists passing through the area from LA to SF and back.

Sarah talks with us about how the idea developed and how popular it’s become, both with patrons in their small town and also with artists who love the intimacy of the tiny space.

Listen to the podcast
(approximately 16 minutes)


Where to find lille aeske online:  

Their website with images and video samplings:

Facebook page with their upcoming performance events and more:

Instagram page with great images from their space, performances, hand crafted items and more:

Their Youtube channel with a couple videos featuring their space and some performances:



Shotgun marketing often misses the target audience

Marketing segmentation – Increase sales with patron grouped communications

Shotgun marketing often misses the target audienceIt’s proven that marketing communications need to be simple, clean, direct with a clear call to action. The days of sending out long email marketing messages that contain all the upcoming events at your performing arts organization are just not effective. Overwhelming your viewer leads to inaction. They simply stop reading and delete the email.

Instead, the better approach is to segment your marketing messages by creating carefully worded and targeted messaging to selected patron groups who have expressed interest in the type of specific event that is coming up.  Communicate about the show content, message, artists, special promotions, and other details that relate to former events they’ve marketing segmentation graphicattended, or how the style is something they might enjoy.  If you can include specifics around why this group of patrons will enjoy this event, all the better. It can create a personal touch to the communication that patrons will appreciate, and lead them trust you more.

Communicate about one event at a time.  Choose selected patron segments that will receive the message favorably and target the language to each segment group.  How will THIS group of patrons connect to this material?  Versus how will this OTHER group of patrons connect to this material? Or maybe some patrons don’t receive communications about this event at all, based on their past history. Over time, test your segmentation and communication choices to see what is the most effective so you can hone your future messages.

Arts People marketing public opt-in list feature

Within the Arts People marketing system, utilizing database / CRM data, you can create as many lists as you wish, with different segments based on expressed interest, past purchases, donations, membership and much more. Using the Public Opt-In feature, you can establish lists for patrons to opt into themselves online, such as based on their areas of interest.  Then you can also create lists based on buyers of each specific event, or types of event, such as comedy, Shakespeare, musical, classical, jazz, traditional, modern, etc.  When preparing to send out communications of various types you can use these lists to segment your message and repeat messaging over time.  

Yes, this type of segmentation takes planning and time to set up, but your patrons will pay more attention to the messages you send out, will feel more confident that this is something they will enjoy, and trust you moving forward to communicate with them personally and efficiently.  


Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is the Marketing Director, system expert, and one of the original architects of the  Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration.  His work with clients has helped them to increase their revenue while streamlining their box office and back office operations.

Arts People, software for the performing arts, serves theatres, music and dance groups, choirs and opera, high school, college and university programs, performing arts center facilities and more.  


Overworked box officer - Arts People system to the rescue

Arts People’s built in automation lets you focus on your patrons and your art

Overworked box officer - Arts People system to the rescueThere’s never enough time to do everything you would like to do, or need to do, when you’re running the daily operations of a performing arts organization. Manpower is often slim. Pressure is high. Timelines are absolute. If only there was a way to use your time more effectively by setting things up in advance and then letting automation implement your strategy along the way.

Arts People, an industry leader since 2003 in integrated systems for the performing arts, has created a collection of automation tools that arts organizations rely on every day.  The software includes ticketing, fundraising, marketing, database CRM and reporting all in one easy to use system. It is designed to help the staff and board members of performing arts organizations to accomplish their goals through simple yet powerful tools that can be configured in advance to handle the details while enabling staff to focus on other things.  

Flexible scheduling of on-sales

When building a season or individual shows into the system in advance, dates can be set to enable your entire season to go on sale at once, or you can stagger on-sales for individual shows.  Also, the system can be configured to allow advance purchase to subscribers, or to special groups by sending them a non-public link to access purchase before the public sale date.  

Create urgency with time sensitive offers

The pricing system in Arts People is powerful, flexible, and one of a kind. Pricing rules can be configured with specific trigger on/off dates, or set based on hours prior to a performance. So you can automatically enable and disable dynamic pricing, discount offers, coupon codes, membership pricing and more.  At any time, pricing can be increased or decreased with ease, by single performance, by day of the week, by show or for a group of performances or shows.  Flexibility is an understatement with the Arts People pricing engine, and the client services staff is ready to help at any time.  

Simple reserved order confirmations

Unlike many ticketing systems, Arts People has reservation tools to create orders pending later payment. Automatic email confirmation is sent to the buyer so they can pay later online, or cancel the order if they wish. You can also easily send reminder emails with just a couple clicks, or cancel reservations with the same ease.  It’s a great way to offer flexibility and great customer service to your patrons, handle larger group orders, or accept payment for subscription packages at a later date.  

Ticket add-on up-selling

Arts People was the first to offer ticket add-on capabilities. Designed originally for dinner theatres with a need to have patrons select their meal choices during ticket purchase, this tool has been expanded and used creatively by clients to sell retail items, parking passes, flower bouquets for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s day and much more. Having the ability to up-sell during a ticket purchase can mean more revenue with ease.  Since patrons can do this all self-serve via the online interface, or with a box officer on the phone, it also means less time needed handling these details later, and less potential unsold items and waste.  Just print a report before the performance and have everything ready to go.  

Automatic ticket reminders with partner offers

Communication is key to strong relationships and confidence with your theatre audience applauding - successful customer service via ticketing system automationpatrons. The Arts People system comes with tools to automatically send ticket reminders to buyers ahead of their performance date.  This email, like most of our system, is easily customizable.  Use it to expand on the reminder to inform patrons about nearby restaurants that might partner with you on a discount offer. Patrons will appreciate guidance to parking options as well.  Also, add details about your upcoming events so they can consider buying more tickets.  

Follow up emails after the performance are simple to generate as well.  It’s a great opportunity to extend a share pricing discount offer, ask patrons to complete a short questionnaire, or to look forward to the next event.

Print at home tickets with cross promotions

Following the patron’s smooth online ticketing experience, they can specify their ticket delivery option including print at home custom tickets.  Arts People’s ticket designs are the most highly configurable in the industry, with space for sponsor logos, a venue map, upcoming events list, coupons and more.  Even post performance discussions and other details can be featured.  Building on the excitement about their upcoming show can be the ideal time to communicate with your buyers about additional events or details.  Sponsors love the exposure, and recognize the benefits of partnering with you. The details of these tickets change dynamically based on the venue, show purchased and more.  

The easy to use system and built in automation, along with the friendly arts-based support staff, have made Arts People the preferred option for performing arts organizations across the USA and Canada.  Our team helps clients at every turn to use the software to their full advantage.   Since they have worked in the arts and know the needs of the organizations using the platform, clients speak of our customer service as the best they have ever experienced, anywhere.  With integration and high flexibility within the software, the team often consults with clients on new ways to accomplish their goals, and helps them every step of the way to make their operations run smoothly and efficiently.


Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is the Marketing Director, system expert, and one of the original architects of the  Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration.  His work with clients has helped them to increase their revenue while streamlining their box office and back office operations.
Arts People, software for the performing arts, serves theatres, music and dance groups, choirs and opera, high school, college and university programs, performing arts center facilities and more.  

Greg Maguire - selfie

Greg Maguire takes on new role as UI/UX Designer at Arts People

Greg Maguire - selfie

Greg Maguire (pictured), another member of our team, is moving to a new position within the company! As of today, Greg will now be our UI/UX Designer.

Greg Maguire - photography work 2“I’ve spent over 5 years connecting with Arts People users as a Client Services Representative. During this time I’ve acquired a wealth of feedback from clients that I’m certain will be advantageous in continuing to improve the Arts People experience — making it cleaner, simpler, and more intuitive.” Greg Says. “I’ll absolutely miss the wonderful Client Services team, but as a design buff I’m incredibly excited to take on this new position! Greg studied Sociology at the Greg Maguire - photography work 1University of Colorado in Boulder and spent 4 years with Apple before making his way to the Arts People team.

Greg mentions, “I’m an avid patron of the arts and enjoy all forms of performing arts, though I’m particularly fond of live music events. Greg Maguire - photography work 3As for my own artistic endeavors, I’m a dedicated photographer who spends most of his early weekend mornings trying to catch the light at sunrise.” Attached you’ll see some recent photography work from Greg.

Congratulations Greg! We’re excited to have you in this new role.




Eric Guerin joins Arts People’s Client Services Team

Introducing the newest member of our Client Services team… Eric Guerin!

Eric joins us from Michigan where he was the Director of the Brighton Center for the performing arts. Eric was a client of ours and he says he loved Arts People so much he entertained the idea of joining our team for over a year now. He is excited to join a team of like minded individuals, socially conscious geeks with a love of the arts!

He’s been a roadie, a photographer, a lighting technician, a stage manager and loves just about anything that involves a creative process. His newest art obsession is blacksmithing. Here you see him getting ready right on opening night for Brighton High School’s rendition of “Honeymoon in Vegas”, his last show at the center.

Eric says he will miss working with his staff and students but is excited for the next chapter in his life!

Welcome Eric! We’re lucky to have you on the team.

Caren White - QA Tester

Caren White Moves to Our QA Team

Caren White - QA TesterAnother Arts People staff member will be changing role within the company. Caren White, who has been part of our Admin team for the past year and a half, is now moving into our newly formalized Quality Assurance team as QA Tester. Her attention to detail and quickly expanding knowledge of the system will be a great asset in this new position.

“As the Admin Assistant, I worked primarily on accounting related Caren White - QA Testeritems, but with this move, I get to learn every facet of the system which is really exciting for me.”

Caren’s former positions are diverse, to say the least, surely giving her a broad perspective that we value here at Arts People. “I’ve held positions in many completely different fields before coming to Arts People! For example, I have been a Creative Writing Lecturer at a university, a Logistics Coordinator for a brewery, and a Makeup Artist for a beauty brand. My specialty though has always been in creative/technical writing and communication. I hold a BA in English with a concentration in Professional Writing and a MA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry.”

Caren White Art WorkCaren also has some very intriguing creative pursuits. “In my free time, I love to create embroidery and cross-stitch works from my own patterns. This form of needle work has such a long history of being delicate, feminine, and polite, but I like to create subversive patterns that push the work out of such outdated parameters. My future goal is to create a shop for my work where all the proceeds will end up back Care White - Art Workinto that community through various organizations. I want to use a medium that perhaps used to be considered simply a way for women to pass idle time and turn it into art and activism.” Some samples of her work are attached. “The Christmas ornaments are actually from this last Christmas. I actually sold a bunch of them and donated to the ACLU.”

Thanks Caren! Congratulations on the new position and we look forward to all you create.

Patrick Spike - Marketing Director for Arts People

Patrick Spike moves into role as Marketing Director of Arts People

Patrick Spike, one of the original staff members of Arts People, is changing roles within the company. Having consulted on the original system design with original founder and programmer Ness Blackbird, then started work with the company back in October of 2006, Spike joined to develop the client services department and policies.

After a few years he was able to hand off this department to another capable staff member and transitioned into a new role that eventually evolved into his current position as Product Manager & System Expert. Here he’s been managing all the myriad details around various planned or potential future projects and requested features, fostering things through to completion with the tech team and release to clients.

Now it’s time for another project! Arts People will be looking to Spike’s extensive communication and marketing background to help the company develop its marketing arm. This will compliment the sales team’s long standing one-on-one consulting work with organizations looking to improve their tools for ticketing, fundraising, marketing and more. In this role Spike will be planning and coordinating the company’s presence, message, materials, social media and online communications. He’ll work with sales staff gearing up for conferences we attend across the country, and to look toward the future of the company’s communication needs.

Spike has worked his magic twice before developing processes within Arts People and we’re excited to see how this new effort develops. Don’t worry though. His knowledge of the system and of the performing arts industry will still be tapped by our staff when needed to help us meet the variety of needs of our clients. First and foremost, we continue to support the arts in our communities, and help the organizations that produce and propel the arts forward.

Patrick Spike has over 30 years in performing arts creative, administrative, marketing and fundraising work. He continues to perform and direct various theatre projects, consults with many organizations and volunteers with a variety of non-profit organizations. Visit his online portfolio at for more information.

Thanks Spike!

SETC2017 Conference Wrap Up

Our sales team members Jon and Marc had a great time meeting current clients, and demonstrating the Arts People system to potential clients at the recent Southeastern Theatre Conference in Lexington, KY. The conference itself was very well attended with wonderful presentations, auditions, performances and more.  We were very proud to be a part of this event, including as a sponsor.

We look forward to next year, helping organizations to discover the power and ease of the Arts People ticketing, fundraising, marketing, reporting, patron management system, with built in CRM tools and our world-class customer service all designed specifically around the needs of the performing arts.

As part of our program of giving back to the arts, three organizations who entered the drawing at our booth each won a $100 donation to support their work.  They included the James Clemens Theatre at James Clemens High School in Madison, Alabama, Hoof ‘n’ Horn Theatre at Duke University, and Birmingham Children’s Theatre.  Your work inspires us!

Our congratulations to all the winners and honorees at this year’s event!