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The Association for Public Art (aPA, formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association) is the nation's first private, nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning. Founded in 1872, the Association commissions, preserves, promotes and interprets public art in Philadelphia.
Since aPA doesn’t have changing exhibitions or installations, we are always exploring other ways to continue to engage audiences with Philadelphia's rich permanent collection through a series of experiential marketing campaigns both online and on the street. We have hosted a sculpture flashlight mob at Mark di Suvero’s "Iroquois", and a tango dance party at "Swann Memorial Fountain" that reimagined dances that used to take place on the Parkway in the 1920’s. We invited Stone Depot Dance Lab to perform a site-specific improvisation in, around, and inspired by Martin Puryear’s "Pavilion in the Trees", and we partnered with the Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition to host a series of Public Art Bike Tours.
We have also produced Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO – an interpretive audio program for Philadelphia’s collection of public art. In September, aPA launched the second phase of this program, which now has 65 stops featuring over 150 voices connected to the sculptures by knowledge, affiliation, or experience.
The aPA has held a number of photo contests online through Facebook, but we wanted to take this fun low cost, engaging, contest to the next level. In February, just in time for Valentine’s Day, we asked the public to submit their best photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter of Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture using the hashtag #LOVEPublicArt. We would then take the photos submitted and create a PhotoMosaic of the artwork. The mosaic would be used to create a free poster that we would hand out at different locations around the city and display them in a select number of bus shelters.
We used a third party platform called Offerpop to run the contest. Participants could either upload their photos on Facebook or submit using the hashtag #LOVEpublicart on Instagram or Twitter. Participants could vote for their favorite photos and the top 3 winners received a prize, but we considered everyone to be a winner because all of the photos were used to create the photo mosaic.
A QR Code was incorporated into the design of the poster which linked back to the Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program featuring Robert Indiana speaking about his sculpture. There was a large amount of all types of submissions from marriage proposals to wedding portraits as well as nice photographs of the artwork.
The data shows that #LOVEpublicart brought Philadelphians together to celebrate one of the city’s most beloved cultural treasures, while also having a measurable impact on our social media presence.