Visual and Performing Arts Marketing Panel Discussion

The key challenge for Marketers in the performing and visual arts is not dissimilar from the key challenge for marketers in general: “What can we do to attract more patrons (customers) and/or have them use our product more frequently?” Marketers in the performing and visual arts also operate in a time when financial support of the arts by donors is declining.

The stellar cast serving on AMA San Diego’s Arts Marketing panel will discuss trends in Arts Marketing as well as innovative and successful ways in which their organizations are addressing declining monetary support, aging audiences, and the need to attract younger and different audiences. Everyone attending the event will walk away with learnings that they can apply to their own marketing activities.  The discussion will be particularly relevant to the San Diego market.

Here are the details:

AMA San Diego Visual and Performing Arts Marketing Panel Discussion + performance of “The Cake.’

Date: Friday, Feb. 16

Food Truck & Cocktails: 5:30pm

Panel Presentation: 6:30pm

Performance of “The Cake”: 8pm

Location: La Jolla Playhouse,  2910 La Jolla Village Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037

Food will be available for purchase from the God Save the Cuisine food truck. A cash bar will be offered during the panel presentation. The panel discussion will take place in the Seuss One Rehearsal Room. The performance of “The Cake” will take place in the main theater hall.

  • You need time to park and get a drink! We strongly encourage you to arrive at least 30 minutes early to secure parking, walk to theater and relax until curtain time.
  • Parking is $2.00 Tuesday – Friday. Free on weekends. Please note your stall number prior to paying at the kiosk. Recommended $2 in cash for pay stations. (Machines are slower to authorize credit cards.)
  • Accessible parking spaces are free with valid placard.
  • For accessibility information, click here.
  • For directions, click here.
  • Click to see Parking Map.

“The Cake” is the final La Jolla Playhouse production in the 2017/2018 season. La Jolla Playhouse is offering a AMA San Diego members and non-members a special rate for “The Cake.”  According to Playhouse Artistic Director, Christopher Ashley, Bekah Brunstetter’s play “acutely and humanly depicts both sides of challenging national issues through a sharply-focused, deeply compassionate lens.”


Jen lives in New York but has always dreamed of getting married in her small North Carolina hometown, so she heads down south with her partner to ask Della, her late mother’s best friend, to do the honors of making the wedding cake at her bakery. Della’s cakes are legendary ­ even earning her a spot as a contestant on the “Great American Baking Show.” She is overjoyed at Jen’s request until she realizes there’s not just one bride, but two, forcing her to re-examine some of her deeply-held beliefs, as well as her own marriage. Faith, family and frosting collide in this touching and timely new play.


  • Mia Fiorella, Associate Director of Sales & Marketing, La Jolla Playhouse. Mia Fiorella has been the Associate Director of Sales & Marketing at La Jolla Playhouse for the last seven years. She previously worked as the Audience Development Manager at the Old Globe, and in Chicago as a Publicist with John Iltis & Cheryl Lewin Associates and as the Marketing & Publicity Director for The Noble Fool Theatre and Trinity Irish Dance Company. Mia is a proud graduate of the Theatre Management program at DePaul University in Chicago.
  • Kari Kovach, Director of Marketing & Communications, The San Diego Museum of Art. Kari Kovach oversees branding, cross-platform promotions, digital assets, and media engagement at The San Diego Museum of Art. In her three years at SDMA, she has launched an award-winning interactive app and relaunched the website, repositioned the brand, and increased the Museum’s profile through events and partnerships.  Prior to joining the Museum, she was a consultant for international digital & print news outlets, entertainment information providers, and national marketing agencies. Kovach spent a decade in New York City as a marketing strategist and researcher working for various magazines & digital properties at Condé Nast Publications, including The New Yorker and Golf Digest. She also helped launch and served as the marketing director at Condé Nast Portfolio, one of the largest print debuts in magazine publishing history. A graduate of Georgetown University,  Kovach started her career as a media relations and logistics aide to Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, the former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor.
  • Rise Walter, Chief Marketing Officer, San Diego Opera. Risë Walter has spent her entire adult working life in the arts. After graduating from college and acting school, she traversed rough terrain trying to pursue her love of acting while making her living working part time in ticket offices. While working as a temp for San Francisco Symphony she changed paths and started a family. From that point on she focused on building a career in arts administration. Risë spent a two plus decades at San Francisco Symphony moving up through the ranks from phone-chick to Manager and wearing many other hats as needed. Then in 2008 Risë was approached to take on the challenge of Director of Marketing for San Diego Opera. She jumped at the chance, left her Bay Area home of 34 years and came south.
  • Jessica York, Deputy Director & Chief Advancement Officer, Mingei Museum. Jessica Hanson York is currently Deputy Director and Chief Advancement Officer at Mingei International Museum, overseeing diverse facets of the Museum’s operations including fundraising, marketing and communication, visitor experience, membership, digital strategy, community engagement, institutional design and retail. As a member of the Museum’s leadership team, she is also deeply engaged in the planning and fundraising for a transformational renovation of the Museum’s facility in Balboa Park in 2019. An experienced nonprofit leader with expertise in marketing, branding and fundraising, York spent ten years working in public broadcasting, including five years at the PBS station in Chicago, managing on-air identity, brand and broadcast operations. She also served as a consultant to the PBS national network, working with producers and marketers to build marketplace positioning and emotional connections with audiences. Previously, York led the development and implementation of the identity, messaging, and marketing efforts to successfully launch The New Children’s Museum in San Diego. She has also served as a consultant with the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and other local nonprofit institutions, and serves as a television fundraising host for PBS pledge programs. York serves on the School Site Council for Birney Elementary and is the Vice President of the San Diego Museum Council.

Moderator: Kirsty Nunez, President & Chief Research Strategist, Q2 Insights


Our audience of arts-loving attendees was treated to more than an hour’s worth of revelations from these four marketing leaders.

With the group assembled in a behind-the-scenes rehearsal space, we learned how they’re working to earn mindshare from an audience easily distracted by personal devices, at-home entertainment and other options in the community.

While all four echoed a mantra of “content, content, content”, each shared unique priorities and tactics.

  • Mia Fiorella, Associate Director of Sales & Marketing at La Jolla Playhouse, told us she hopes young consumers inundated by screen-based entertainment will come to crave in-person events. Meanwhile, she’s finding success reaching potential patrons through social media with budget-friendly video depicting production methods, teasing plot lines and highlighting the roles of women in bringing plays to life.
  • Kari Kovach, Director of Marketing & Communications at The San Diego Museum of Art, said she’s seen an overwhelming response from San Diego Latinos to exhibits featuring themes and artists relevant to them. The trick now is to continue engaging this demographic without pandering to it. She also said she’s really encouraged by the way the arts community has been unified in its response to looming budgetary cuts.
  • Jessica York, Deputy Director & Chief Advancement Officer at Mingei Museum, is encouraged by the fact that arts outlets like hers meet directly the demand of today’s consumer for authenticity. She said that reaching deep into the museum’s vault to find new artifacts to highlight online has been an effective way to reach patrons.
  • Rise Walter, Chief Marketing Officer at the San Diego Opera, said she both laments and embraces her institution’s surrogacy in educating young people about arts when schools decreasingly perform this function. She also said she likes to use social media in a way that enables patrons to experience art on their own terms.

After the panel discussion, La Jolla Playhouse’s production of the Cake earned rave reviews from attendees.

Many thanks to our State of Marketing Report sponsors Q2 Insights and FreshForm for helping to organize this event and to Q2 Insights President and Chief Research Strategist Kirsty Nunez for moderating.

Extra special thanks to the Playhouse for hosting us!