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Experiment S

Crowds Gather for Beginining of the Launch

Okay,  so I said I would get back before the launch and I didn’t, and even though we had a barn storming 2,000 people turn up to our Street Art Launch and get down to Jason Fury’s Hip Hop vibes,  I still didn’t make it back here to share the effect of the planning we had noted in advance.

If you didn’t make the launch and are a little curious you can watch a record of the night here through Mohammed Ali’s eyes.

It appears that stage 1 of Experiment S is complete. We planned and targeted new incoming students through print, email, press and bribery (sweets) and provided a quality product. The results have been quite stunning.

We now have a regular flow of students within the building interacting with our cafe, collections and of course the three Street Art Exhibitions that kind of hit the nail on the head with content.

Stage two of this new direction in audience development is to get a moderate repeat performance for the two events we have coming up for Mohammed Ali – Can Graffiti Art Really Change the World talk with luminary Henry Chalfant and Breaking Down the Wall Live with spoken word and live art that should be a really nice vibe in the gallery.

Crowds Mob the V A Street Art Exhibition

The real challenge of course is sustaining student interest in our offer when Street Art moves out and something with less obvious connections moves in.

We will always be a family friendly venue and need to generate a dual focus – if done effectively, holiday periods where many students are absent would be flowing with families and when families with older children are at school and work our local student population would help us keep up those numbers.

If we look at the positives of what we experienced in our successful family audience focus it would lead us to an approach of total saturation of ‘student’ content,thinking, programming, offer, appeal, marketing, learning, interest, inclusion, media running through everything we do in order become really student friendly.

Let’s hope this can be pulled off by our amazingly talented teams across all departments…

… another time.

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Street Art – Our Journey Continues…

Love Supreme - Sickboy

Okay … I promised to keep you updated from time to time so you get a sense of the challenges and movement in the marketing of this exhibition … so here it is:

At time of writing we are still basking in the glow of a very successful Street Art Season event – the first in fact – It’s Yours Take It!

We gave away over 100 pieces of street art provided by artists from across the globe as well as putting on some live art demonstrations. Marketing was very limited through traditional channels – just listing in our What’s On Guide and features in regional press so I decided to go heavy on the online newsletters, listing sites, forums and social media – result? Around 1,000 people attended the Street Art event on its own – boosted by an additional 1,200 people attending our History Fair on the same day – very happy.

It was very rewarding to see such a large body of local people interested in owning an original piece when taking away the barrier of money!

So now it’s full steam ahead with exhibitions marketing. Rail adverts have gone to press through the Midlands Rail Network and will be appearing over the next two weeks. None of the lead images apart from the controversial Banksy images scream out to be used above another,  so I have opted to use a mainly text-based approach trading off the names of established artists on the rail networks.

The leaflet has been signed off by the V & A – I have opted for a 6 page A5 full colour option that can cope with the inclusion of the additional works we are programming with Fresh Paint (work from 6 emerging artists) and Mohammed Ali – A West Midlands based artist who is exhibiting and delivering some talks and events. 40,000 of these will go out in the middle of next week if I can afford it. Read the rest of this entry

Street Art … an unknown response

Time Waits For No Man by Kerry Roper

I’m really excited about our forthcoming Street Art Season kicking off this weekend with Street Art Saturday featuring an It’s Yours Take It event where we will be giving away over 100 pieces of art donated by artists from across the globe at 12.30pm at the Herbert.

The thing is this. There have only been a handful of street art exhibitions delivered across the globe and I’m finding it really difficult to judge what the likely public response to the exhibition and events programme we’ve put together will be.

Target audiences for this kind of work are hard to call. You would expect that the skateboarding masses would be interested but they are a traditionally hard demographic to engage with. Good luck and lateral thinking needed here I think.

Contemporary art lovers should love this but how many feel that street art is an act of vandalism? Not many I would expect but how many really appreciate the scope and range that this art form covers? I hope they will come along to find out – some of the works from the V & A, Mohammed Ali and our Fresh Paint sections will make this a unique opportunity to fill in the gaps and challenge people’s conception of what they think street art is.

I’m hopeful local students arriving in the city will also take the opportunity to engage with us early and we will be doing everything we can invite as many as we can to the UK launch of  the V & A exhibition.

Finally there’s the star impact… how much do people want to see original prints by Banksy, Sherpard Fairey, Ben Eine, Sickboy and D*Face? If it’s good enough for Cameron and Obama then has it not got big enough for the national consciousness?

The events programme is immense – check out the website – you can witness live art battles, spoken work, projections, DJs, talks from internationally renowned photographers and commentators and loads of kids inspired stuff… again should have a monster response but I still honestly can’t judge this one as it feels so unique – completely uncharted territory when all combined. Read the rest of this entry

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