Marketing The Arts is tough. Very tough. Especially when government purse strings are chokingly tight, and the public are spending the few pennies they do have in Aldi and Lidl.
The cosy world of art galleries and museums can be highly political and often fiercely territorial – after all, they are often fighting over the same financial crumbs.
That’s what makes Brighton based Culture24’s ‘Museums at Night’ such a clever approach. By coming together under the umbrella of one Big Idea; galleries, museums and heritage sites all across the country benefit from being included in an event that is greater than the sum of its parts.
A series of happenings, some small, some big, are taking place across the three nights of 15/16/17th May.
For example, mass-nudity artist Spencer Tunick will be photographing lots of bare flesh in Folkestone.
The ever-smiling, brightly coloured and newly knighted Grayson Perry will be throwing some pots, talking teddy bears and playing hide-and-seek at The Yorkshire Museum.
And portrait photographer Rankin will be clicking like mad at St Ann’s Allotments in Nottingham.
Of course these are the high-profile events, but by attracting just a few big names, it gives the event credibility and airtime. Or as we call it now, earned media. So tiny galleries, museums and a mix of other cultural and historic venues across the UK reap the rewards of being part of something huge.
Institutions such as The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology; The Cartoon Museum; Seven stories – The national Centre for Children’s Books; The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising; and even The Old Operating Theatre Museum. There is, as the saying goes, something for everyone.
Of course there’s the usual social media and twitter frenzy: #MuseumsatNight
But my personal favourite is VanGoYourself.com
This enables anyone to recreate a famous piece of art and upload it to the website for the world to see.
Now that’s what I call bringing art to the people.