On May 25, 2011, the City of Guelph hosted a “Culture Camp” for artists, organized by Culture Days task force member, Astero Kalogeropoulos, in partnership with the Guelph-Wellington Business Enterprise Centre, Work in Culture, Guelph Arts Council, and Ontario Crafts Council.
After an info session and discussion with Culture Days staff, artists broke out into groups to brainstorm ideas in preparation for Culture Days on the following given topics: Sharing Resources, Maintaining Connections, Promotion & Marketing, Venues, and Measurements of Success. Below are a few highlights from the Culture Camp brainstorming sessions.
Working together and sharing resources can lead to more successful Culture Days events. These are a few ways to share resources effectively:
- Do an inventory of the needs, skills and assets amongst a group before you start planning so collectively you know what resources are already available.
- Invite the Chambers of Commerce or Business Improvement Association to join your Culture Days planning group to tap into their resources and to build relationships with local businesses.
- Gather for regularly scheduled meetings with activity organizers. It’s impossible to share resources, if you don’t communicate with each other!
- Be willing to support others and extend a helping hand. For example, mentor young artists who may need some guidance to realize their activity.
Many of the artists at the Culture Camp wanted to see how their Culture Days experience could become more than just one great weekend. They asked – what ways could they extend the impact of their Culture Days events to the rest of the year by recruiting new audiences, customers or volunteers, and by developing lasting relationships with other artists in their community?
Some of their ideas take a little preparation, but are well worth the effort:
- Determine what is your ideal audience/client/market so you know who you are trying to connect with on the Culture Days weekend.
- Have a clear goal for your Culture Days activity and a next step in mind before the Culture Days weekend.
- Be prepared for your next step with promo materials for your future events, a sign-up sheet for your newsletter, etc. allowing the public to connect with you again soon.
- Create or attend follow-up networking events between artists as well as between artists and businesses.
Promotion & Marketing
In addition to discussions about using the Culture Days marketing and promotion resources and social media to promote activities, the attendees at Culture Camp had a few innovative ideas for collectively promoting Guelph Culture Days activities, such as:
- Have a Kick-off Party/Launch event that brings attention to all Culture Days activities happening in the community and starts off the weekend’s celebrations.
- Work with other cultural events on the September calendar. With multiple cultural events in the Guelph area during the month of September (Jazz Festival and Nuit Blanche – Sept. 9 – 11, Eden Mills Writers Festival – Sept. 16-18, Culture Days – Sept. 30- Oct. 2), they are planning to promote September as “Culture Month.”
- Preceding festivals and events are great opportunities to cross-promote Culture Days. Connect with those events to set up an info booth, or have volunteers hand out flyers, buttons or other promotional material.
Artists in Guelph and area interested in learning more are also invited to register for:
Marketing 101 for Artists & Small Arts Groups
Date: Thursday, September 15, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
To register, please email email@example.com
Blog post compiled by Aubrey Reeves, Culture Days Ontario Manager and Nazanin Shoja, OAC’s Culture Days Animator/Coordinator with notes from Ontario Task Force member Astero Kalogeropoulos.
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