The brau.ART club has been organizing an annual art exhibition for the past 13 years
A network for the promotion of regional art and artists.
In 2009, art researcher Bettina Schröter-Bornkampf wrote a letter to various artists calling on them to bring their works out of their ateliers and workrooms and to organize a collective exhibition. The exhibition was intended to promote the artists in the region and offer them a platform to market themselves and their art. In response to this letter, 14 artists came together to organize the first brau.ART exhibition in the historic Schultheiss Brewery. Artists from the fields of photography, printing, textiles, etc. were represented
This first exhibition was so well received among both the artists and the interested public that, after a further 5 wild years, the brau.ART club was founded in 2013. The name “brau.ART” refers to the location – rented for the exhibition – in the historic Schultheiss brewery. For the rest of the year, the club does not have a fixed location but is organized decentrally by its active members.
6 weeks left until the exhibition opens and no marketing concept yet
With 29 artists, the 2022 exhibition included more artists and works than ever before
In mid-July, I received a call from the curator Benjamin Kerwien, who was urgently looking for a replacement designer for the exhibition marketing. For the exhibition, an exhibition catalog with the exhibits should be created and a marketing strategy with associated marketing materials was also still completely missing. Since the second exhibition, the annual motto served as the basis for the design. For the exhibition in 2022, this was “Zeit:los!” with the following description:
“Sterblich zu sein ist das Los alles Lebendigen. Deshalb erfinden die Menschen Götter und Ewiginseln – vor der Geburt und nach dem Tod. Oder sie konstruieren in ihrer Lebenszeit Tatsachen, die zeitlos postgestempelt werden, für mindestens 1000 Jahre. Ewiger Frieden ist Illusion. Zeit:lose Kampfkunst ist leider real, so wie der langsame Fortschritt beim Streben nach Freiheit, Gleichheit und Brüderlichkeit. Ab und zu vornehmen: Es ist Zeit…nun aber los. Nehmen Sie sich Zeit für die Kunst der Zeit:losigkeit im September 2022 in der Alten Brauerei in Dessau.” – Dieter Bankert
Zeitlose Gestaltung mit zeitgenössischen Medien
Design guidelines, copywriting, and social media ad
In order to catch people’s attention within the short time until the opening of the exhibition, the campaign needed a slogan which arouses curiosity. Therefore, the collaboration began with the aim of identifying the unique selling points of the exhibition. For the curator these were:
- the diversity of art styles,
- the mixture of young, emerging and established artists,
- and the resulting scale of the exhibition.
Three central features, which then resulted in the guiding campaign “The largest independent art exhibition in Central Germany” during the design process. A slogan designed both to generate attention and to inspire courage for greater thinking within the association.
For the visual part of the campaign, I was completely free in the design options because the brau.ART club does not follow a uniform design line. In the past years, the design was created by a member of the club every year to match the theme. So I asked myself what a “timeless” design would look like and which fonts could be considered “timeless”. During the design process, this resulted in the word mark, which became the leading element of the campaign.
For the colour design, I relied on a timeless black and white combination, as this achieves that the design moves into the background and the artworks are emphasised as well. This principle worked especially for the exhibition catalogue. For the catalogue, I chose a simple layout with the main focus on the artwork and removed the information on the artists due to the limited number of pages.
For the marketing strategy, the association relied on classic methods such as posters and flyers, which is certainly justified in view of the demographic structure in Dessau. However, I also wanted to include the possibilities of advertising on social media and planned – for the first time for the association – a digital campaign. The marketing thus included:
- a banner,
- social media ads – one of which also ran in the cinema opening credits,
- an ad in the tourist information,
- invitation cards
- and the exhibition catalogue.
For the social media clip, I used the same style as the overall campaign and added some artwork by the artists. Using the metrics, I checked the performance of the ads and created further variations to improve the performance.
A successful exhibition with many new faces
(Re)design stimulates discussion about the future, transformation, and identity of the club
Since the feedback questionnaires were unfortunately printed incorrectly, it is difficult to gain objective conclusions about the marketing measures and the design. A few individually interviewed visitors commented that there was no connection to the theme of the exhibition in some of the artworks. The slogan, on the other hand, aroused their curiosity, although they would have expected the exhibition to be in a larger city such as Halle or Leipzig.
The commitment and the new perspectives were very well received by the club and the artists. With my collaboration, I contributed topics such as establishing a feedback culture, questioning the need for a catalog, online marketing, and larger visions, which can have a great effect if implemented correctly. The leading campaign “The largest independent art exhibition in Central Germany” unfolded the intended effect by inspiring a discussion about the question of one’s own identity. The design with the motto “Zeit:los!” in focus complemented this discussion with the question of whether mottos are needed at all and to what extent it might also make sense to further establish the club as a “brau.ART” brand.
In the final feedback round, a long-time member expressed the opinion that it was perhaps the best exhibition the club has ever organized. I was personally particularly pleased about this, because the annual brau.ART exhibition makes an important cultural contribution to the region. It manages to network with the artists, offer them a platform for presentation, and present an independent and high-quality exhibition to the community. This success can be measured by the growing number of visitors and participating artists every year. With 29 artists and over 150 works of art, the exhibition was the largest in the history of the club, and many young artists exhibited their work alongside the club’s long-standing members.
Finally, I would like to thank the organizers for the opportunity to play “savior in distress” and for the trust, they have placed in me. I enjoyed working with the club and it was a great feeling to get involved in the name of art. For the future, I wish the association many more great exhibitions, resilience in times of change, and the courage to continue trying out new ways.