WORDS: Taylor Basso
The City of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan was one of several communities that participated in the Culture Days Innovation Lab project this past year. We asked all the Innovation Lab Partners to reflect on our 2017 research findings, conducted by independent research firm Maru/Matchbox, and to choose one statistic that helps inform their participation in Culture Days.
Judy McLeod Campbell of The City of Prince Albert examined the use of Culture Days resources by Community Organizers.
Located in the valley of the North Saskatchewan River, which divides the agricultural land to the south from the forests above, Prince Albert is fittingly called Saskatchewan’s “Gateway to the North.” It’s also one of the province’s gateways to culture, boasting numerous cultural organizations, including the Prince Albert Arts Centre and the E.A Rawlinson Centre for the Arts, both owned and operated by the City of Prince Albert. Given its embrace of the arts, it’s no surprise that Prince Albert’s recent adoption of Culture Days has gone so successfully.
“Prince Albert has participated in Culture Days in 2016 and 2017,” says Judy MacLeod Campbell, Arts and Cultural Coordinator for the City of Prince Albert. In her role with the City, Judy knows firsthand the amount of work that goes into organizing Culture Days in Prince Albert, and the close relationship between the activity organizers and the host city. The City provides the foundations of the event, developing an annual theme, plans, and budget, including the grant application. The City also provides logistical support for the organizations that plan Culture Days events, helping with the hosting, organization, and facilitation of meetings.
One way the City gets the population out is through promotional efforts it extends to the events: “through [our] e-newsletter, the creation of a poster and brochure, social media, public service announcements and media releases, and radio interviews.” To make the job a bit easier, Culture Days offers the City a suite of promotional materials, including planning guides and templates for advertisements.
The Culture Days national office collects responses from event organizers to determine the best ways to promote and gauge attendance of events; the City of Prince Albert likewise generates their own informal data via verbal feedback, social media stats and participation numbers. The results present plenty of common ground between the national and local data.
One point of similarity is the effective use of the Culture Days logo, by far the most commonly used marketing tool nationwide. Judy found that iconography was indeed a useful tool in branding and identifying local activities, specifying that “the [I Love Culture] stencil provided to paint sidewalks was a great addition this year. T-shirts are also welcomed to provide to our volunteers and organizers so they are easily recognized that weekend.”
In analyzing the audience numbers, Judy agrees that social media, which appears near the top of all national polls on effective resources, was a common way for Prince Albert culture vultures to find information on the weekend’s events. Of all the many tools available, though, when asked the best way to getting out the audience, Judy’s first response is, “Word of mouth!”
In order to keep that word of mouth going strong, the City of Prince Albert is eagerly planning Culture Days 2018. After all, Culture Days is now an indispensible part of the cultural calendar. “It raises the profile of the importance of culture in our community,” says Judy. “It helps to expose residents to new types of cultural opportunities and awareness. Awareness and knowledge increase understanding and respect for one another. They unite a community and make it stronger, healthier. Culture Days brings national attention to culture, and increases opportunities for participation by all.”
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