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Can Outdoor Art Revitalize Outdoor Advertising?

originally posted on: Pacific Standard by Paul Hiebert
August 28, 2014

Perhaps you’ve already heard: Five prominent American museums have joined forces to produce what they’ve deemed “the biggest art exhibition in history.” The project, titled Art Everywhere U.S., involves placing copies of 58 great American works of art produced between the years 1778 and 2008 in 50,000 locations across the nation for the month of August. This means you might see a painting by Edward Hicks on a billboard, a Rothko on a bus shelter, or a Warhol on the wall of a subway station. Consider it an art project that commandeers spots traditionally set aside for advertising to instead advertise the majesty of art. The campaign’s goal is rather clear: Transform public space into an outdoor gallery to get more people interested in visiting a museum or two.

But another campaign is also at play here. Besides prompting a conversation about the role of art in our daily lives and promoting the names of the five participating institutions—the Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York—the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, a trade group for out-of-home advertisers and an Art Everywhere U.S. collaborator, is hoping the project will get more people looking up and around again instead of down at their digital devices. Major sponsors also include big-name advertisers such as CBS Outdoor, Clear Channel Outdoor, and JCDecaux.

“The outdoor industry is under threat,” Rob Schwartz, the global creative president of advertising firm TBWA, told the New York Times last April. Indeed, research company eMarketer estimates that in 2014 over 28 percent of the total $180 billion spent on advertising in the U.S. will go toward digital, while the outdoor industry will receive just four percent. In the future, the gulf between these two mediums is only expected to increase.

Read the full story at Pacific Standard

Photo by: ell-r-brown/Flickr
Art Everywhere in the United Kingdom.

Posted in: News

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