The arts have the power to bridge different worlds, and express lived experiences and understandings in ways that words often can’t, as art transcends barriers of language and elevate culture.
It is this ability to surpass barriers that makes art so powerful and inclusive, making public art activations the ultimate addition to a campaign.
The arts are an essential public service which create a ripple effect that can be felt throughout communities. Public art activations are a vital part of the arts, serving a greater purpose for broader society, businesses and events.
We recently spoke about our Founding Director Emilya Colliver’s top tips to staging a great Art Activation in a previous journal article, but what role do Art Activations really play in campaigns?
So, what exactly is an Art Activation?
Art Activations are creative installations that engage the public and draw attention to a bigger idea, ranging from product launches, to celebrating a significant day in the calendar or honouring cultural events.
Businesses, councils and public entities use the power of the arts to activate campaigns, elevate celebrations and promote experiences that would otherwise garner minimal attraction. They serve as a critical element in growing the vitality and culture of our communities.
What purpose do art activations serve for broader campaigns?
In a society so oversaturated with advertising media within the public domain, it can be difficult to cut through the clutter and make an impressionable statement.
Art activations inspire debate amongst onlookers and interactive audiences. They create vibrant, engaging spaces that can otherwise be idle, modest or bare.
Art is a less obvious and sought-out marketing tactic, which often procures bigger results due to its unexpected nature. In public spaces, passerbys anticipate popular forms of advertising, so when they stumble across a public art activation they subvert their attention and engage with the installation.
Public art creates intrigue and can act as placemaking provocateurs in campaigns that desire conversation or dispute. Even a modest investment in art activations can generate significant return for businesses through higher engagement and viewer participation.
The extravagance of art activations for momentous celebrations
One of the great powers of art is in its extravagance and playfulness. For significant moments in time, campaigns and celebrations, traditional forms of advertising are often not enough to get wider engagement. The underlying value of art is that it invites participation and playfulness from audiences by drawing attention to the unordinary.
For celebrations that are already extravagant, such as Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year, art activations can create greater conversation and embody the tone of a campaign that other promotional methods could not.
In 2021, we worked with Goldberg-Aberline Studios to create an art installation in honour of Mardi Gras. The one-of-a-kind inflatable art piece that we commissioned revitalised the desired space and injected queer energy into the environment to provide a moment of joy for the working commuters that walk passed each day. This activation reflected the importance of community engagement for queer rights and discourse, and was able to start relevant conversations around the LGBTQIA+ community as well as subvert public attention to a vacant space that would otherwise go unnoticed.
For momentous occasions such as this, public art activations reflect a diverse breadth of storytelling, giving visitors a fresh point of view, a new edge and sense of play while also speaking to the message of a campaign.