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Tucson Pima Arts Council to start online directory

Showup.com starts April 10; lists Pima events in central spot

An online directory will be launched April 10 to provide a one-stop look at all arts and entertainment options in the Tucson region, the Tucson Pima Arts Council announced.

Tucson will join cities around the country where arts organizations have consolidated color-coded arts and entertainment listings plus the ability to buy tickets onto a single Internet site.

Tucson’s listings will be available on a dedicated button at showup.com, the Phoenix-oriented directory, which has the same format that is used in 18 larger and midsize cities around the country. On subsequent visits, Tucson users will be shifted directly to the Tucson page.

TPAC and Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau officials collaborated for a year to find a way for the arts community to get Tucson arts and entertainment listings onto one Internet site.

“You won’t have to hunt and do detective work and go to a million sites,” said Roberto Bedoya, TPAC’s executive director.

The Tucson City’s Calendar, Tucson Citizen’s Metromix Web site, the Arizona Daily Star’s Caliente and Tucson Weekly also provide extensive entertainment listings.

The original idea was to create a local site, but MTCVB’s Rick Vaughan decided to adopt the showup.com model also used in Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tenn., Colorado Springs, Colo.; Houston; Fargo, N.D.; South Bend, Ind. and a dozen other cities. MTCVB is paying the nearly $50,000 cost to launch and operate the site. TPAC will manage the site content and marketing.

“It affords us to the opportunity to finally get a central place for all the arts and culture to be found here,” said Vaughan, MTCVB’s vice president of sales and marketing.

Arizona Theatre Company produces plays in Tucson and Phoenix and sees the clear difference in life with and without a central online listing source.

“What it’s really done for us in Phoenix, it’s brought the arts community together in one place,” ATC Executive Director Jessica Andrews said. “It provides a forum for marketing directors to get together.”

Showup.com designates events into the color-coded categories with many visual items: theater, dance, music, visual arts, festivals, events for kids and families, poetry and literature, and museums.

Showup.com is the Web product for Alliance for Audience, a member organization of arts and cultural organizations in Phoenix. Phoenix was the first city to adopt a format created by Artsopolis Marketing Partnership, a program of Arts Council Silicon Valley in San Jose, Calif.

While Tucson was trying to create an online directory, the Arizona Commission on the Arts asked Alliance for Audience Executive Director Matt Lehrman to spread showup.com across the state.

“The mission is audience development,” Lehrman said. “The motivation is to provide a singular voice to get people to music, theater and the arts.”

People can buy event tickets, send an item to someone else, and post an event review at the site.

“It’s the most robust piece of software I have seen,” Vaughan said.

An online directory was TPAC’s first priority in the Pima Cultural Plan, which was released in April 2009 with dozens of recommendations to strengthen the region’s arts and culture sector.

“It reaffirms that the cultural plan is not dead,” Bedoya said.

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