Walker Art Center Summer Ahead Campaign
Walker Art Center
Concept/Purpose of the Work:
The Walker Art Center was hosting am ambitious set of events during the Summer of 2021, including concerts on the hillside, education workshops and get-togethers, conceptual performances, and films. Internal communication teams were given the brief of expressing the Walker's desire to welcome back audiences during the pandemic reality. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of the Walker's main assets, is free, and also feels quite safe during the pandemic, therefore a lot of attention was placed on this outdoor experience. To achieve the look we were going for, the Walker design studio brought in The Bureau, a Minneapolis-based POC-run creative collective pursuing ""a future in which the principles of righteousness, morality, and the sanctity of human potential reign central."" The Bureau photographed the models in the sculpture garden, working with Walker designers to select models, style them, and scout locations. The inclusion of the yellow backdrop was a familiar device used by The Bureau in studio portrait work. For us, this yellow reinforced the summer theme, and then also created a sense of a hybrid on-location/in-studio photographic approach, adding a dose of whimsy and artificiality to the location of the sculpture garden. Revealing behind-the-scenes aspects of the photo shoot—such as the light stands and edges of the backdrop—give a subtle suggestion of the creative hand at work, and connect this act of making the photo to the Walker's larger mission of presenting art and creative to our audiences. In addition to the pop of yellow, the final images were mixed with images of some of the foilage in the garden to further reinforce the summer feeling. Finally, small rainbow prism light effects were added in to bring pops of color and bring a slightly surreal aura to the imagery. Besides the photography, the Walker developed language around the summer. The tagline “Summer Ahead” speaks to our need to move forward and collectively reimagine our shared and personal futures, especially coming out of the past year. Art and creative experiences can help us do that. The directional language was also echoed by the use of wayfinding-inspired aesthetics, including a system of arrows pointing in different directions, most prominently towards the future. The arrow is a graphic representation of forward movement, and also a nod to the idea of wayfinding and multiple paths. This wayfinding aesthetic also let us have some conceptual fun on the side of the building, where we were able to point in various directions of the Walker's large campus (including the buildings as well as the sculpture garden) and also point directly to our Skyline Mini Golf course, which is a significant revenue generating program. The secondary tagline The secondary tagline, ""Art, Ideas, and Open Spaces"" summarized our offerings for the summer: a. art experiences; b. thought-provoking content unique to the Walker; c. a larger campus and garden to enjoy art through in a comfortable and safe way.
Results of the Work:
The campaign was well received by audiences and internal constituents, and was prominently displayed throughout the city.
How the Work Was Delivered to the Masses:
The campaign was executed through a variety of channels: • an outdoor campaign that included print billboards, digital billboards, bus shelter posters, bus wraps, and internal bus rack signage • through the Walker's website, including on the homepage and on a specific summer-themed page • through the Walker's social media channels • through the Walker's print magazine • through digital signage on the Walker's campus
Design Director: Emmet Byrne
Designer: Jas Stefanski
Designer: Ian Babineau
Photography: The Bureau