As some of you may know, a couple of weeks ago I was engaged to run social media for Artomatic, an amazing all volunteer-led nonprofit arts festival in the DC area (and newly licensed globally a la TEDx.)
From the fact sheet: “Artomatic started in 1999 in the historic Manhattan Laundry buildings on Florida Avenue. Douglas Development donated the use of the buildings to a group of artists who invited their friends to exhibit. These friends, in turn, invited their friends — and so on — until every nook in the building was filled with paintings, sculpture, installations and art of every description. The artists coined the name “Art-O-Matic” to acknowledge the spontaneity of the event and its location in the old laundry building. (The Artomatic spelling was modernized in 2004). More than 25,000 people visited the first Artomatic during its six-week lifespan and the event was widely reviewed and discussed in the regional media. The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities was one of Artomatic’s earliest supporters. The Commission bought $25,000 in works from this first show for permanent display in public buildings in the city through its Art in Public Places program.”
The festival runs for 6 weeks at a time, every couple of years or so (give or take a year). The date is set once a site is found – usually a huge commercial building or site slated for demolition (or newly built), of over 100,000 sq. ft. and with working HVAC, electricity and plumbing, and disabled access. It requires approximately 10 weeks of access for set up, the event itself and breakdown afterwards. [We’re currently looking for a site for 2014. Do you know a developer who might be interested in donating space? Contact me!]
The festival is completely unjuried, and welcomes over 20o0 artists and musicians on a first-come-first served basis. Last year’s event drew 45,000 visitors.
Artomatic works to strengthen the artist community; build an audience for that community and helps focus attention on the use of temporary space for its events and the community of artists. Artomatic embraces all cultural stakeholders to collaborate in the temporary transformation of vacant space into an arts-driven creative place.
So what’s my role? Well, you may not know this but I have a couple of masters degrees in art history and in postwar and contemporary art, so when I spotted a call for a social media strategist to run Artomatic’s social presence I thought to myself, this job was meant for me. I immediately got in touch, and luckily, they felt the same.
So that’s the back story. What I am actually planning to do here on the blog, with your participation, is “performance art” in a sense (ha! just run with it) where I’d like to tell the story of what I am doing around social media for Artomatic, as a living case study. Like all good social media strategists I will be doing a fair amount of experimenting, and listening, and exploring tools, and building audience as I go – as well as managing my time and resources (this is after all 100% volunteer, and I of course have a very awesome day job.)
But what better way to present how a social media strategy builds and evolves than to take you on the journey with me, right? Are you game? I plan to post in my “Artomatic Diaries” every couple of weeks with progress reports and quick stories about what I’m doing. I would LOVE to get feedback and advice and tips as we go from those of you who are doing similar work – the best way to learn is from each other.