Every fall, The City of Grand Rapids hosts an art gallery at an incredible scale. This event, known as ArtPrize, is made up of hundreds of artists displaying their works throughout the city. The event is promoted through various local news stations, some of which offer coverage during every news hour and even have stations surrounded by exhibitions. To give you an idea of how large this event is, 37,500 votes were cast electronically for exhibitions within the first twenty four hours, and as of 3pm on September 25th, almost 250,000 votes had been submitted (ArtPrize Grand Rapids).
This year there is an interesting and new technological dynamic of ArtPrize that hasn’t been utilized before. A new app called Epic Events that, “automatically stitches together short video clips to create “epic” videos of life moments and events,” Is new on the market for ArtPrize 2013 (Kaczmarczyk, 2013). This app is intended to showcase bits and pieces of ArtPrize and promote the event as a whole.
However, there were very little opportunities for guests to promote individual pieces of artwork through the means of social networking. When I visited ArtPrize on opening day this past Wednesday, all of the exhibitions I viewed did not have any pre-established FourSquare check ins. There was a general ‘ArtPrize’ check in that was set up, and even trending for that matter, but no individual pieces. As I continued to see incredible pieces of art that individuals had dedicated a large portion of their lives creating, I couldn’t help but think that the artists weren’t fully promoting their efforts in the most effective ways. If I was in their position, I would utilize every social media outlet that I could in order to promote my artwork in order to increase voter/viewer turnout. For instance, if artists had established FourSquare check ins prior to the event happening, they would have been able to establish themselves quicker on Foursquare and maybe even get the location of their piece to trend in Grand Rapids, which would surely help generate viewers and votes for the artists. Not all of the exhibits lacked a social media presence, however. Two of the art pieces that I looked at offered flyers with a ‘like’ page on Facebook, which is definitely a step in the right direction.
So, after observing all of this I was curious as to why there artists did not seem to utilize social media outlets to the fullest extent. Being a Public Relations major myself, I like analyzing campaigns and seeing the means in which companies, nonprofits, and other public/consumer driven organizations utilize in order to maximize their potential publicity or sales. After doing some research and reading excerpts from Ariel Hyatt’s book Cyber PR for Musicians: Tools, Tricks, And Tactics For Building Your Social Media House, I came to a conclusion. Hyatt speaks about a sort of stigma that lies rooted within the art and music community regarding social media. This stigma ranges from artists feeling that they “don’t want to be pushy or over-hype-y,” to artists that feel social media is a “waste of time” and there is “no return on investment (Hyatt, 2012). However, artists must take full advantage of modern technological assets such as social media outlets in order to garner public votes and potentially win the cash prize at the end. Hyatt discusses potential ways for artists to remove that stigma by providing evidence that yes; promoting yourself via social media may seem conceited and make you feel uncomfortable, it is a great way to be a step ahead of the competition (Hyatt, 2012).
ArtPrize Grand Rapids. (n.d.). Artprize.org.
Kaczmarczyk, J. (2013, September 22). Check out epic videos of ArtPrize, thanks to new epic events app. MLive
Hyatt, A. (2012). Cyber pr for musicians: Tools, tricks, and tactics for building your social media house. (2 ed.). Brooklyn : Huntercat Press. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Cyber-PR-Musicians-Building-ebook/dp/B00CZSI1L0/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1371054741&sr=8-8&keywords=ariel hyatt