I like to ride my bicycle (ARTCRANK and collaboration)

When my new friend Kate O’Reilly asked me if I wanted to act as volunteer coordinator for the Minneapolis ARTCRANK opening, I jumped at the opportunity.  I jumped because I wanted to be around smarties and their work, and because ARTCRANK is a brilliant (and successful) idea.

ARTCRANK is a bicycle-inspired poster festival that started in 2007.  It’s the brainchild of Creative Director Charles Youel, and co-produced by Charles and Kate.  It has taken place in London, as well as eleven cities across the US.  It’s smart in so many ways: it unites the art world with bike lovers; it raises money for great causes; it allows people to take home art at an affordable price ($40/poster!); it gives artists a theme to create work in response to.  Oh, and bikes.  I love bikes!

So, here I am a day away from my first ARTCRANK experience, with over sixty fantastic volunteers to work with.  I can’t wait!

ARTCRANK has continued the brain buzz I’ve been having around collaboration: how do we find new audiences for our art work?  My favorite performance events are ones that are a bit like the design of ARTCRANK: the ones that feel like parties.  I like to drink a beer and watch some performance, and get to experience a handful of different works, rather than just one.

Last week I wrote about Business Suitcases: the stuff of you art or business.  The goal, obviously, is to take those suitcase contents and share them with your client or audience– to take them to their destination, I guess you might say.  And, we’re all trying to figure out  how to do that efficiently.  And, one way of doing this more efficiently is to broaden our audience base.  ARTCRANK is a great example of how a wider audience can be found by uniting groups of people: people with different weirdnesses.  You have cyclists, who might not otherwise turn up at a fine art gallery, and artists, who might not otherwise share their work specifically with cyclists.

I recently had clients choose a few new organizations or groups of people to connect their work with.  For instance, Jesse works as a nutritionist and is a farm-to-fork enthusiast– she advocates for restaurants that use local and sustainable foods, for small farmers, and for food co-ops.  Shouldn’t they know about her work?  There are probably some ways that they can collaborate and share client-bases.  Or, what about when Joseph Scrimshaw produced and directed the awesome musical Sexy Librarian: file under ‘rock musical’, and a whole bunch of librarians showed up in the audience.  Would they have come out to a show otherwise?  Maybe.  But, the performance combined two groups of audience members: people loving musical comedies, and people  loving library nerdiness.

So- my brain wheels are turning.  And now for my bike wheels…. (*womp womp*)

[You can read Kate’s writing about the creation of ARTCRANK here.]


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