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Arts-Business Partnership Spotlight

The following article was presented in the Arts & Business Council of New York‘s Newsletter on December 18th, 2013:

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Soho Rep., a leading hub for innovative contemporary theater, has forged a strong partnership with Souths, a local TriBeCa bar. Souths admires Soho Rep.’s mission to support distinctive, diverse, and pioneering theater, as the theater helps to creatively build up the neighborhood. The partnership began a few years ago when Soho Rep. reached out to Souths to provide in-kind food and wine donations for the theater’s opening and closing events, and has since grown to include a variety of other mutually beneficial elements. Souths was accustomed to helping other arts organizations, specifically The Flea Theater, Access Theater, and neighborhood galleries. While Souths’ owners don’t come from artistic backgrounds, they see the value in being associated with cultural organizations, particularly organizations that work towards community building. “I like having the theater so close while shows are running, as show attendees stop in afterwards. It’s important for neighborhood organizations to support one another,” said Johnny Griffin, co-owner of Souths since 2000.

The bar is very community oriented and recognizes the value of this partnership to their business: “Partnering with the arts is a good way to put your name out into the community, whether the business benefits directly or indirectly,” said Johnny. Soho Rep. places advertisements for Souths in their programs; any show attendee who presents a program from Soho Rep. receives a 10% discount at Souths. Not only do 10-15 audience members come to Souths after every show, but the Soho Rep. staff sees Souths as a natural after-work spot, and the rotating companies of actors at Soho Rep. quickly learn that Souths is a friendly and welcoming spot. Soho Rep. has also hosted a board retreat and numerous “going away” parties there. Souths often provides additional discounts for the organization as they benefit greatly from all of the business the partnership generates.

Souths is also featured on Soho Rep.’s website, is spotlighted in the “day of event” e-blast suggestions the organization sends to show attendees, and is promoted in the rental package agreements Soho Rep. sends to potential renters; in turn, Souths allows Soho Rep. to place promotional materials inside the establishment.

Soho Rep. invites Souths’ employees to attend performances gratis a few times per year, generating not only fuller houses but also valuable word of mouth.The atmosphere of Soho Rep. is very intimate, as there are only 73 seats in the house, and programming varies from season to season. The similarly flexible nature of Souths positions them as a perfect partner, as the bar is able to adapt to the organization’s last-minute needs. Souths has seen the value of both the partnership and of the work Soho Rep. is doing, and their contributions now include not only in-kind donations of food and alcohol, but also an annual financial gift to the organization.

Souths has become like a second home to Soho Rep. Development manager Talia Corren thinks of it as a “comfortable and cozy place to feel like you’re with family.”

Congratulations to Souths and Soho Rep. on their creative partnership!

Check out 8 Reasons to Partner with the Arts to find out more about how partnering with the arts makes good sense for businesses, and what arts organizations can offer potential business partners.

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