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Black Arts Chicago, an audience development initiative, is launched by Target Market News

(May 4, 2016) Target Market News, one of the nation's leading authorities on the African-American consumer market, has announced the launch of a new media, marketing and research unit to support African-American arts and culture.

Black Arts Chicago is the first full-service organization created to provide audience development and marketing communications for African-American artists and cultural institutions. The organization's mission is to increase attendance for Black theatre, dance, film, art, music and literary events. To do so, it is building new dedicated arts media platforms, providing strategic marketing communications to artists and institutions, and creating partnership opportunities for corporate underwriters.

"There has never been a single source for information on all of the African-American arts and culture activities in Chicago," said Ken Smikle, president of Target Market News and publisher of Black Arts Chicago. "It is not well known, but there are more than 100 events every single month featuring the works of Black artists, and there are more than 85 venues that regularly offer Black cultural and entertainment showcases.

"This lack of awareness is not just unfortunate for the artists and venues," Smikle added, "but is an untapped economic opportunity for Chicago representing tens of millions of dollars. By utilizing greater dedicated media, the latest marketing techniques, and a deeper engagement with consumers, Black Arts Chicago intends to create a world-class model for audience development."

According to Dept. of Commerce data, Black households in the city of Chicago spent at least $125 million in 2013 on entertainment and leisure activities outside of the home. That's up from $72 million in 2008 -- a 73% increase in just five year. The largest portion of these entertainment expenditures went to movies.

Some of the BAC proposed services and platforms are already operating. A comprehensive listing of 100-plus Black arts events is currently available at The activities are posted by discipline and chronologically, and can be easily accessed by computer or smartphone. The site also offers the latest news about Chicago's Black artists and cultural organizations.

Up-to-date news and information on the city's Black artists and cultural activities can also be found on the Black Arts Chicago Facebook page. There audience members can share comments about theatre, music, dance, art and literary events they've attended. Other social media platforms will be added soon.

A printed bi-weekly guide entitled Black Arts Chicago makes its official debut in May with a complimentary circulation of 10,000 copies. The guide will be available at more than 400 locations throughout the city including theatres, clubs, restaurants, galleries, retail shops and bookstores.

A weekly e-mail of current Black arts and culture events is available by sending your e-mail address and Zip code to

Also available beginning in May will be Black Arts Chicago's marketing communications services for artists and institutions. Through this service, Black Arts Chicago will work to grow audience attendance, increase audience diversity, grow revenues, and increase the impact African-American arts can have on all aspects of life in the city.

For more information about Black Arts Chicago, contact Ken Smikle, president of Target Market News, 228 S. Wabash Ave., Ste 410, Chicago, IL 60604, Tel. 312-408-1881, or


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