Hands On! will be focused on families seeking to nurture their children's creative potential through the visual and performing arts. Initially, we will address a segment of the Chicagoland market known for its stable, family orientation, and for its willingness to support and patronize local institutions. Once established, we will expand our focus to include the entire Chicagoland market.
Hands On! strives, through the fine arts, to create a unique environment in which children of all ages, ability, and experience can feel free to imagine, create, and welcome the arts into their lives. This environment will appeal to a broad cross-section of all families, without regard to racial, educational, or economic background.
Using a broad definition of our market, every family with a child is a potential consumer of the programs and services offered by Hands On! If we were to temper that broad definition with a geographic boundary of a thirty-mile radius, we still have the opportunity to reach a vast market, the entire Chicagoland area. Simply stated, there are literally millions of households that meet this market definition. Our target market is families with children ages seventeen and under. Our core market is families with children between the ages of three and ten.
We feel that in order to establish a foothold within this vast market and create brand awareness for the unique and high-quality programs we are offering, we need to focus our initial marketing efforts on a smaller market segment. The initial marketing effort will extend through our first twelve months of operation and target a market segment within a five-mile radius of our location. By any measure, this remains a richly populated market of approximately 78,000 households with children (using 103rd and Western as the center point), representing 151,000 children between the ages of one and seventeen (1999 U.S. Census data).
As a result of scaling our initial efforts in this manner, we are able to leverage our strong ties within the local community, local media, and educational institutions. To drive awareness, we will supplement the support we receive from local institutions with a broad sweeping outreach program, focused direct mail campaigns, and media placement. Beverly/Morgan Park is a stable area with a history of supporting family-oriented programs offered both locally and throughout the greater metropolitan area. Once established, we will expand our market reach utilizing the same techniques, but scaled to reach a much broader audience.
Our outreach programs will focus primarily on serving children in low to moderate income areas of the city of Chicago and the surrounding communities. Programming will be tailored to fit the needs of children in the Chicago Public School system, as well as Chicago-based private and parochial schools. In addition, our programming will extend to those children in suburban public, private, and parochial schools, homeschoolers, children served by Easter Seals and the Progress Center for Independent Living, among others. Our outreach will also extend to those children enrolled in day care and preschool programs, and to those children who are patients at local children's hospitals. We are in the process of developing relationships with Chicago-area galleries and arts organizations with the intent of extending our outreach into communities outside the five-mile radius of our location. We will combine programming, special events, and gallery shows with these organizations.
There is no known organization in the Chicagoland area that offers the unique art experience provided by Hands On!
Alternatives come from such Chicago area institutions as the Kohl Children's Museum, the Chicago Children's Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Kraft Education Center at the Art Institute of Chicago, however, these institutions do not have the singular focus of Hands On!, on providing a rich art experience for children.
There are several area organizations where children can register for art classes. Local examples include the Beverly Art Center, Heritage Gallery, Spectrum Art Supplies, and the Chicago Park District. Lakeshore Learning offers free craft workshops on Saturday mornings. Again, an art class for children is only a part of what these institutions provide. Hands On! intends to establish cooperative relationships with these organizations with the expectation that increased awareness in these types of programs will result in mutual benefit.
In a much broader sense, our competition is not limited to places offering art classes and museums. There are many external activities in which families can choose to participate. Given free time and disposable income, families may choose among a variety of activities including sports, music classes, dance classes, and park district programs. We believe that families will recognize the benefit of an organization with a singular focus, as a means of providing balance, as an opportunity to enrich their children's lives, and as a fun place to spend time with their children.
Beverly Art Center, Chicago Park District, and Lakeshore Learning are the closest to direct alternatives.