Great art everywhere you look around
The works of Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer and more
July 31, 2014
For decades, the only way to see great works of American art such as Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” or Winslow Homer’s “The Cotton Pickers” has been to go to a museum.
But soon those artworks will be unleashed from the museums to appear all around us: On digital billboards, on trains, on bus shelters — basically every out-of-home advertising venue you can imagine.
The outdoor art program, a collaboration between the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, five of America’s top art museums and 50 out-of-home advertising companies, kicks off Monday after a year of planning.
Art Everywhere U.S. will feature 58 works of American art on more than 70 different types of OOH ad venues, in all 50 states.
It was inspired by a similar program that took place in the UK last year to showcase British artists.
Nancy Fletcher, president and chief executive officer of OAAA, was intrigued by the UK program and thought it could work as an outreach for her organization.
“For the out-of-home industry, it’s a great way to show off the capabilities of what out of home is today,” Fletcher tells Media Life. “We’re offering innovative new ways of connecting with the medium.”
By last November, OAAA had connected with five museums willing to allow their paintings to be reproduced: the Art Institute of Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
OAAA members agreed to donate the space for the program, and funds were raised to cover the costs of printing the works of art for the non-digital OOH venues as well as for a few special augmented reality displays that appear throughout the country.
The museums narrowed the number of paintings in contention for Art Everywhere U.S. to 100, and the public was invited to vote for their favorites online.
They chose 58 works of art, which have now been reproduced for the final phase of the program.
“What’s unusual about this is the quantity; this is the largest outdoor art exhibition,” Fletcher says.
As with any outdoor advertising program, there are also online elements to the campaign. The Art Everywhere U.S. web site includes a map showing every installation across the country, and the campaign has an Instagram selfie competition.
Blippar interactive image recognition technology can be used on smartphones to unlock augmented reality features and audio guides to artwork at bus shelters.
The idea works because it’s on such a grand scale and because it taps into American pride, always a great selling point.
Plus it’s bound to make a lot of headlines due to its sheer size.
The Monday kickoff will include all 58 paintings on display in some form in Times Square, which also will undoubtedly inspire a lot of social media activity, the best way to spread the word about a campaign these days.
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