Haus of DoN, Philadelphia Open Studio Tours 2011
Philadelphia Open Studio Tours is the best value in artist public relations available to artists looking to promote their public image in the Philadelphia region. In it’s twelfth year, the city wide art event has artists of all stripes opening their studios to the public – no kidding, a public art event of regional scope with many of the town’s top artists welcoming visitors into their think tanks. The event is imbued with freedom, sharing, transparency, creativity and cooperation along with healthy American spirited competition. The open-ness of Philadelphia Open Studio Tours is the coolest part; visitors experience environments that normally are private spaces where artists create and folks are not just allowed but encouraged to go behind the scenes. DoN’s claim that POST is the best value from a PR perspective is based on a cost/benefit analysis and target audience response.
POST offered a substantial early entry discount for artists, providing entrants with an artist profile web page with links on their comprehensive web site, listing in the information packed tour book with maps of every corner of the city inhabited by artists, a city and region wide advertising campaign, with banners, posters and art cards strategically supplied to almost 100 locations likely to attract interest to the appropriate demographic as well as special events, venues and workshops for artists whose studio is far off the beaten path. POST's goal was to get the right materials into the hands of art tourists likely to use them in a real way. Every visitor to Haus of DoN held a curled back copy of the glossy catalog with their itinerary planned out to cover the neighborhood they had chosen to explore. Each participating artist is provided with posters, art cards, catalogs and red balloons to promote their studio; the red balloons are a simple, effective signal to art crawlers that they’re heading in the right direction.
DoN's decision to pay the $45 entry fee back in early Spring brought many dedicated friends and art enthusiasts to the Haus of DoN, South of South Street, a mostly residential area not near many commercial businesses. The event pushed DoN to re-organize and display the wide array of interests he explores as part of his multimedia empire. DoN had to spend no other money to promote the event instead advertising through FaceBook and DoNArTNeWs; no new art card this year, even though post cards are cheap to print and fun to design, mailing is costly and impact difficult to track. DoN has had art cards returned by the Post Office months after the event was over. DoN promoted the annual art crawl event on DoNBrewerMultimedia home page, on DoNBrewerMultimedia YouTube channel, @DoNNieBeat58 on Twitter and Philly.SideArts.com, all free media outlets that directly targeted people interested in arts and culture.
Good advise from Ann Koivunen, director of exhibitions for POST, led DoN to think about what he wanted to present to the public and ponder his goals for the event; DoN decided to put on an art show. Simply displaying photos, graphics, paintings and drawings in a beautiful, clean, pure way opened an opportunity to engage with visitors about what DoN does, his interests and connections and get his business card into the hands of each visitor. The result is DoN met and interacted with more than fifty different citizens interested in the arts, including gallery owners, art curators, educators, fellow photographers, new neighbors, old friends and colleagues, he gathered contact information, intercepted feedback on what people like about his art and experienced an authentic feeling of community for well less than a dollar per head including Candy Corn and Sweetzels Ginger Snaps.
Philadelphia Open Studio Tours 2011 continues October 15th & 16th, 2011 for studios East of Broad Street.