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Generate Powerful Publicity: A Sistine Chapel Mindset
16th August 2018 • The Thriving Artist • The Clark Hulings Foundation
00:00:00 00:55:47

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Todd Scalise is the founder and CEO of Higherglyphics, a creative placemaking firm that manages large-scale public art projects from start to finish: funding, art, design, construction, and merchandising. An artist himself, he knows the importance of generating publicity and brand awareness. In this 55-minute episode, he discusses the enormous economic contribution that artists bring to their communities, framing art as a service that's worth funding and publicizing.

How Art Benefits the Community

  • "In 2012, arts and culture production contributed over $698 billion to the US economy, which is about 4.3% of the US gross domestic product."
  • "It's a statistical fact that public art (creative placemaking) attracts potential investors in business to communities."
  • "Property values did go up slightly, but also occupancy rates went up dramatically around these environments."
  • "I learned to look at the return on investment aspect of the Sistine Chapel ceiling---I don't know what Michelangelo got paid, but he certainly did not get paid enough."

How to Approach Project-based Art

  • "If you want to start doing public work, you have to start seeing it as a service first, which is consulting."
  • "What switched for me was I began considering my audience at some point, not just what I wanted to make."
  • "Other considerations that go into these projects---that probably don't go into creating studio art---are a division of labor, systems of logic, some level of incorporation, insurances, and working to budget."
  • "With a client, it's a collaborative process, and they have to be brought into that process. Otherwise they don't feel that they're part of it."

Publicity for Artists

  • "Whenever you have commerce, you have the need for publicity."
  • "Publicity is really putting your message out there in a very unique way, so that people pay attention."
  • "To me, publicity is a very creative act, and I think I remember Andy Warhol saying, 'business is art.' Well, you know, 'publicity is art' as well."
  • "Repetition is boring, and people forget that eventually. That's the problem with traditional marketing, with the billboard concept.
  • "Focus on your audience, not yourself."
  • "The tipping point in my business was being able to educate people about why what I'm doing is different."