Local art communities currently have unique opportunities to shine, as people are looking for safer and more cost-effective travel and entertainment options. Even before the pandemic, Pinterest identified responsible travel and staycations as a Top Trend for 2020. Now that we are well into the summer vacation travel season, we are still seeing strong indicators prioritizing domestic vacations and staycations in the local area. Thirty-three percent of respondents to emarketer.com's Coronavirus vacation 2020 survey have said they won't vacation at all. Until people are more confident, we predict that this trend will continue.
While this is certainly not what anyone would call "good news," there are ways to use this information for positive impact. The 33 percent of people who don't vacation, along with closer-to-home and domestic travelers would greatly benefit from having cool, fun and safe things to do nearby, and that's where local art communities of many sizes can shine.
It is not too early to plan for a fall and holiday season that looks different than what we and our communities are used to. It is still important, if not more so, to build opportunities for safe and convenient creative engagement when people are still unsure - or unclear - on whether or not it is actually safe to travel for the rest of 2020 and are making personal decisions for themselves and their families.
This list of widely-available digital tools can help people explore art in your town, either standing alone or as a larger campaign. Consider these as part of your digital strategy, used in addition to your social media platforms. While implementing digital tools has always been important, now it is an essential part of your community engagement plan. Having the right digital resources in place allows people to explore on their own car or on foot; on their own schedules, and with free, inexpensive or flexible costs for you and for them.
Five Digital Tools to Drive Art Engagement
Google My Maps: Google My Maps are free, user-friendly and customizable. Use them to make a map with all of your art stops, for curated mural drives, public art walking tours, or to show creative points of interest around your city center, a specific hotel or other location that attracts visitors. Here are some examples of maps we have produced. They can be very basic, or integrated into a larger digital designed piece. All you need to do is share the link to send people on a fun local art activity in your town.
DropBox: Think of DropBox as your digital treasure chest. Pack a folder with everything from maps to written guides, playlists or downloadable games and share the link. Click here to be inspired by Dropbox's Digital Care Package campaign.
QR Codes: QR codes are perfect for this time that we are in. Users can point their personal device at a code placed near art and learn about the piece, access a special video or interview with an artist, and more. Because shared audio or hand-held devices aren't currently recommended, use a smart phone to plan or access a multimedia tour.
Gamification: Digital, interactive games are very well-suited to exploring local art. You could, for example, work with a local sculpture garden to set up a safe geocaching treasure hunt outdoors, or partner with galleries and other downtown spaces for a scavenger hunt game based on their exhibited art, their unique space, or questions that players ask them.
.Com: As always, your Web site is your digital tool MVP. Make sure that all of your digital tools point back to or strongly reference your owned content and digital space. Once people are there, make sure that they can find the information they need, take a next step, or share with others.
If you are interested in learning more, or discussing more specific ideas on how your town can use digital tools to engage with your art and creative communities, please be in touch. We are available virtually to speak to groups, facilitate brainstorming sessions and workshops, and offer a variety of consulting packages to suit your needs and budget.