When was the last time you read a headlining article about the arts in your city or town’s local business news outlet? Well, the recent grant from ArtPlace for the launch of ArtWeek in Boston/Cambridge helped us break through the “glass ceiling” when the Boston Business Journal gave the project an important nod of support with its “Forget Restaurant Week: ArtWeek launches in Boston” article in May. Other media also picked up the story – all positive signs that ArtWeek is poised to become a new creative tradition in Boston, Cambridge, and hopefully, well beyond. In fact, our goal is to create a replicable model so that ArtWeek can happen in cities and towns across the nation – and that other ArtPlace grantees will be inspired join the ArtWeek movement as part of their own creative placemaking strategies.
So, what is ArtWeek exactly? ArtWeek is a celebration of the arts and creative placemaking, which showcases the creativity of arts/cultural organizations and artists with unique experiences in the communities that they call home. Creatively modeled on Restaurant Week and running during the fall and spring of each year, all ArtWeek events and experiences will feature ‘prix fixe’ prices – $20.13, $40.13 or Free of Charge. An online auction component will generate income to reinvest in the next season’s ArtWeek as well as revenues to support art supply/field trip awards to local schools.
Within the last month, after finding out about ArtPlace support, we have moved at lightning speed from just planning to ‘planning while implementing.’ We’ve created a landing page (check it out here) with links to an FAQ, event examples, social media, and more while also designing a logo and branding system that will roll-out over the next few months. We’ve brokered an important partnership with an online vendor to help streamline event submissions and logistics, and have released the RFP form to arts and business partners in preparation for ArtWeek’s launch in Fall, 2013. The press coverage about ArtPlace’s support has also generated several exciting meetings with potential new media, tourism, and funding partners who are inspired by ArtWeek’s creative and economic vision. But most stimulating are the breadth of inquiries from the creative community on how they can become part of ArtWeek and their ideas. ArtWeek promises to deliver unique experiences for every taste bud!
Often the simplest ideas are the best ones, and when it really melds, the community comes alive with support. Sometimes we spend too much time trying to reinvent the wheel, when there are already so many ‘natural resources’ that already exist and can be leveraged in new ways. As Steve Jobs said “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” We think ArtWeek has that kind of creative potential – to connect people, places, and extraordinary experiences in a new way. And based on the enthusiastic response we’ve had so far, others clearly feel the same.
While ArtWeek seems like a disarmingly simple concept, it is one with many layers. We know that the devil is in the details, impact is magnified through partnerships, and success has many definitions. Check back on our monthly progress reports here, or find out more via these links: