The benefits of a supported project – why sustainable creative partnerships are absolutely essential.
Often the learnings from a project are lost when it’s completed because there isn’t a long-term investment in working with artists or an art consultant beyond the installation of a project. To ensure extended engagement it is important to build ongoing creative and respectful partnerships.
Long-term partnerships and collaborations allow you to invest in the fat juicy tail of a project, which comes after the artwork is installed. By the fat tail, I mean the activities the client and perhaps the community will do to promote, maintain and activate the artwork once it is installed. At its most basic, it is professional photography and a launch event or an artist talk. At its most involved, it might be a series of tours, a maintenance plan, integration with local events or festivals, a catalogue, a Wikipedia page and overall the art becoming a part of the cultural makeup of that place.
To avoid what we like to call plonk art, which refers to art that as it sounds is plonked into position and not supported. We want to share some of the ways we build interest in and engagement in an art project once it is complete. Some ideas you could consider are:
Maintenance – When will the artwork need to be maintained, renewed, cleaned and perhaps repaired, so that it remains of use to the community?
Documentation – Ensure the project is well documented through photography, videography, and essays, online presence, plaques or QR codes. This helps to facilitate artistic contextualisation, generate interest and an emotional connection to the artwork, increase audience participation and create an ongoing legacy for the project.
PR and Marketing Strategy – Increasing the longevity and reach of a project, PR and marketing ensures that the art and the project is being seen by the highest amount of people possible and develop new audiences.
Artist Programming – For example artist talks, workshops, tours etc. This creates community engagement and art-inspired activation – that is, making the connection with the artwork a memorable experience for the consumer, customers or tenants.
Renew, Repurpose, Reuse and Move – Perhaps there is an arts festival coming up, a community engagement event or an opening of a new office in your company. By extending the life of the work and allowing it to appear in new contexts it gives the work a chance to be documented and marketed further in a new context. This builds engagement with the work and often increases its value.
Art is deeply has always been deeply embedded in its community. It is intrinsically valuable in this sense as it is able to reflect and engage all facets of the community. To have a sustainable creative community the art must be maintained, protected and sustained. The Fat Juicy Tail is an essential part of any project and one that will ensure deep and extended artistic exchange with audiences.
This is an edited excerpt from Making Art Matter by Emilya Colliver, Art Pharmacy.
Making Art Matter builds a bridge between artists and organisations, governments and the corporate world. It will help you to bring art into your life, workplace and suburb. It offers insights into the art world and how artists work, what motivates them and the practicalities of what they do.
Art Pharmacy is a full service art strategy and culture agency. Our Independent Art Consultants are here to plan, manage and deliver creative projects that culturally enrich spaces and tell interesting stories using high-quality Australian art.