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Public’s favourite works of art return to the streets

Art Everywhere is back, putting great pieces on a truly public display via a combination of new technology and outdoor media’s intrinsic potency, as Vizeum UK’s MD Richard Morris explained in a recent article for Campaign.

Art Everywhere emphasises the power of OOH.jpg

Have you seen it? Art Everywhere, the collaborative project presented by the out-of-home industry, is truly something to celebrate. Thanks to the involvement of Clear Channel, Exterion Media, JCDecaux, Ocean Outdoor, Storm, Posterscope and Outdoor Plus, the initiative can lay claim to being the UK’s largest outdoor exhibition, with thousands of poster sites and billboards up and down the country (the pieces will also appear on Vue cinema screens).

Artists, curators, media owners and entrepreneurs (other partners include easyJet, Facebook, Tate and the creative agency 101) have campaign fuelled this massive charitable project, which began in July and runs until 31 August.

Based on more than 38,000 public votes on a longlist drawn up by art experts, the nation’s favourite pieces from public collections form this vast nationwide show. And the public can still get involved now by using the hashtag “#arteverywhere” to share their thoughts and pictures on Twitter.

From L.S. Lowry and John Waterhouse to Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, the UK’s heritage in the arts resonates the world over. Yet when it comes to revelling in the value of art to enrich the mind and lift our mood, art is too often seen as the preserve of the initiated. Many believe the greatest pieces of work are held in grandiose settings designed to amplify the magnitude of the work but creating a sense of exclusivity.

Last year Art Everywhere provided the answer; opening the doors of the nation’s art galleries to the wider public, and staging the world’s largest art exhibition by utilising the power of Out-of-Home media across the country. As a contemporary medium, OOH is still evolving – a transition to a digital and a potential yet to be fully fulfilled.

OOH is responsible for some of the most memorable and affecting moments in ad history. Everyone of a respectable age remembers Eva Herzigova calling out ‘Hello Boys’ for Wonderbra and subsequently keeping car insurers across London busy. Those a little longer in the tooth may even remember how AMV/BBDO helped change the political landscape with by telling the country that ‘Labour isn’t working’. The return of Art Everywhere this week provides a timely reminder of the power of OOH.

Art Everywhere is a celebration of the nation’s love for Art by using social media to empower the public to select its favourite 25 pieces of work. However, it also captures the medium’s potential to affect mood and mindset and this is where art and OOH combine effectively to become the perfect partners for a project with such ambition and scale.

In this instance, OOH allows art to embed itself within the fabric of an area accentuating graffiti in an urban location, amplifying nearby landmarks, or brightening a monotonous roadside view.  This makes it the only channel that can truly encapsulate and heighten the emotional currency that comes with giving art back to the people. It connects the majesty that surrounds a piece of work with other platforms and devices.

An interactive execution

This year’s iteration has also become even more interactive with one of the country’s foremost artists, Antony Gormley, produced a live sketch for the campaign’s launch that was broadcast on a six-sheet poster at Waterloo Station. The interactive nature of a real-time activation has been complemented with the initial vote that was social in its design and utilising smartphones to activate ‘treasure hunt’ style competitions.

What’s more, the use of new technology such as augmented reality tool blippr to access more information about each piece of work.  All the elements of this campaign have been designed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible but the increased connectivity that comes with tech activations resonates particular with the vitally important younger audience.

Art is a truly interactive and subjective medium sparking conversation and this project creates a talking point for people shopping, commuting or travelling to see friends and family.  Enjoy Hockney on your walk home, commute with Constable’s finest, and peer at a Perry on a bus stop to embrace the way two mediums perfectly complementing one another.

Richard Morris, managing director, Vizeum
This article was originally published in the 1st August edition of Campaign magazine