Ethnographic analysis of art in daily life implications for dia communications
Download
1 / 56

Ethnographic Analysis of Art in Daily Life: Implications for DIA Communications - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 183 Views
  • Uploaded on

Ethnographic Analysis of Art in Daily Life: Implications for DIA Communications. August 2006. P0652. Objectives and Method. Objectives A cultural analysis of visual art consumption Explore consumer understandings and beliefs about art What are its emotional and symbolic values?

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Ethnographic Analysis of Art in Daily Life: Implications for DIA Communications' - Leo


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
Ethnographic analysis of art in daily life implications for dia communications l.jpg

Ethnographic Analysis of Art in Daily Life:Implications for DIA Communications

August 2006

P0652


Objectives and method l.jpg
Objectives and Method

  • Objectives

    • A cultural analysis of visual art consumption

      • Explore consumer understandings and beliefs about art

      • What are its emotional and symbolic values?

      • How does art relate to other visual aesthetics in their lives, e.g., fashion, automobiles, home design? Or other forms of creative expression, e.g., crafts, film?

      • Wishes or desires of art in their lives?

    • An ethnographic exploration of art in daily life

      • How is art ‘consumed’, e.g., art fairs, art purchases, window shopping, books, going to museums?

      • When/how is art part of life?

      • What is easy and what is hard when it comes to art in daily life?

      • Role of museums vs. fairs vs. other ‘art’ venues?

    • Implications for DIA communications

      • What values, symbols, ideas are most resonant?

      • How best to ignite interest and motivate a trip to the DIA

www.practicagroup.com


Objectives and method3 l.jpg
Objectives and Method

  • Method

    • In-Home Ethnographic Interviews

      • N=17; Detroit metro; July, 2006

      • 3 hrs, videotaped

      • About half included other HH members (children and/or spouse); included home tours and some included out and about visits

      • Homework: Ode to a piece of art in their home

    • Respondents

      • All respondents

        • HH income 75K – 150K+

        • Oakland County (11), Ann Arbor (2), Gross Pointe (4)

        • Mix of working and non-working; college+

        • Rate ‘visual arts’ 5+ on a 10 point scale; engaged past year in performing or visual art venues, but have not been to a Detroit metro art museum in past year (15 of 17)

      • ‘Suburban Moms’ (n=12)

        • Women, 25-44, with children 5-12

        • Married

        • Included 2 African Americans and 2 Asian respondents

      • Traditional Target (n=5)

        • Women, 45-55, married and not

        • If kids are at home, then 16+ years old

www.practicagroup.com


Elusive values that matter everyday life getting away l.jpg

Part I: The Frame for Life Today

(Elusive) Values that MatterEveryday Life“Getting Away”


Elusive values that matter l.jpg
(Elusive) Values That Matter

  • Values that matter include stretching your mind.

    • Not to be complacent, to be open to new ideas

    • “You always need to be growing…to get out of your box”

      • Through, for example, work, parenting, pursuing kids’ interests; books, magazines, internet; home rehabbing; travel

    • To recognize the larger world, accept different ways of doing, thinking and being

      • “I want my kids to know shades of grey, not black and white”

www.practicagroup.com


Elusive values that matter6 l.jpg
(Elusive) Values That Matter

  • Finding sanctuary is also key.

    • Peace and calm are elusive but desired…

      • “Where I need to be”

      • “I would love to feel that calm”

      • “You have to create these moments, to look for them, because everything else is all rushing”

    • To be centered by sensory experience

      • “I bet she’s listening to the birds, she feels the heat of the sun, the warmth of the rock”

      • “Feel that sensory experience”

      • “Silence and beauty centers me”

www.practicagroup.com


Elusive values that matter7 l.jpg
(Elusive) Values That Matter

  • Creating a sense of family also critical for this audience.

    • Investing in relationships was an explicit priority voiced by all our respondents

      • “Spending time together”

      • “Growing together”

      • Shared time with loved ones (could be parents, children, nieces, nephews, siblings, friends…)

    • A continual challenge because of the transitional nature of life…

      • Of younger children maturing, of older chiildren’s autonomy, of children leaving for college

      • Of parental illness or death

      • Of jobs, new jobs

www.practicagroup.com


Everyday life l.jpg
Everyday Life

  • Values that matter can be elusive in daily life in part because…

    • Life is in constant motion

      • Juggling work, family, kids, home, social life

        • “Home is so much about work, chores, things that need doing”

        • “Constant running”

        • If parents, life is wrapped around kids’ activities

      • When both parents work, even more motion…

    • Life is uncertain

      • Never knowing what will be coming your way

      • Changing terrain at home (kids growing, leaving; parental illness) means uncertainty is a constant

      • Trying to prepare for it, “staying on top”

www.practicagroup.com


Everyday life9 l.jpg
Everyday Life

  • In the constant motion and hedging against uncertainty, it often feels that life is taking place on the interstate vs. the back roads.

    • Where efficiency, speed, productivity are maximized

      • E.g., kids’ classes, activities, chores, sports, not to mention work, careers, needs of extended families

    • No time for the meandering, wandering that occurs when you take the back roads

      • Though not for lack of desire, “I’ve been practicing very hard to leave work at work”

“This picture represents all the driving I do everyday – work, clients, chauffeuring my kids to school to classes, birthday parties…I’m always moving.”

www.practicagroup.com


Everyday life10 l.jpg
Everyday Life

  • Paradoxically, despite the activity level, everyday life isn’t particularly ‘open’ (to ideas, new ways of doing, other ways of thinking).

    • Structured, encapsulated, with little room to maneuver

      • “I sometimes think I live in a bell jar”

      • “Where is the color, the imagination?”

      • Routinized

      • “A daily grind”

    • Even ‘fun time’ is structured

      • “This past Fall was football [son’s activity, husband’s obsession] punctuated by Show Choir [daughter’s activity] performances”

The bell jar…living in our own little world

www.practicagroup.com


Getting away l.jpg
“Getting Away”

  • “Getting away” is a symbolic arena opposed to Everyday. It is a search for centering and perspective – to regain what daily life strips away.

    • The primary context for ‘Getting Away’ is vacation.

      • Practically, e.g., away from “all the noise, phone ringing, congestion”

      • Symbolically, e.g., immersing yourself in some ‘other’ kind of experience, and being transformed or enriched in the process

    • The more structured and ‘interstate’ daily life becomes, the more vacation becomes a literal and emotional antidote

      • “I save [myself] up for this”

      • Getting Away = activities rarely done in everyday routines, whether fishing, hiking, kayaking or art purchases, museums, different foods, theatre, concerts

      • Getting Away = travel (typically), itself a means for imagining another time or place or self or way of thinking, e.g., the Klondike miners’ path, glaciers, a Buddhist temple, the Caribbean, Alaska, “up North”

X

www.practicagroup.com


Getting away12 l.jpg
“Getting Away”

  • ‘Getting Away’ is, in fact, just as structured as the Everyday, but by a different set of values…

    • Getting Away is not only about escape, rather it is the means by which to reconnect with what really matters…

    • Getting Away is a symbolic and experiential space removed from daily experience

    • It invests the Everyday with some of those properties…inspiration, nourishment

Everyday

Efficiency

Productivity

Speed

Responsibility

Getting Away Experiencing anew

Stretching your mind

Creating ‘family’

(re)Invests relationships

Nourishes the spirit

Inspires

www.practicagroup.com


Travel is a metaphor for aesthetic experience domains of aesthetic experience l.jpg

Part 2: Domains of Aesthetic Pursuits

Travel is a Metaphor for Aesthetic ExperienceDomains of Aesthetic Experience


Travel is a metaphor l.jpg
Travel is a Metaphor

  • Travel is the articulated metaphor for aesthetic experience among our respondents.

    • Aesthetic experience is articulated as a journey, by all our respondents

      • Separation: You go somewhere in your head

      • Transformation: You transform yourself in the process

      • Re-integration: You come back to daily life a different person

End Benefits: ‘Everyday’ is enriched

Personal enrichment

Peace

Serenity

Harmony

Spirituality

A sense of wonder

Inspiration

Noticing beauty

Strengthening social relationships

Socialization of children

A Journey of the Imagination

(“Getting Away”)

For this audience, the journey of aesthetic experience is a form of “Getting Away”

www.practicagroup.com


Travel is a metaphor15 l.jpg
Travel is a Metaphor

  • The Everyday is enriched: Aesthetic experience away from home is brought back and used to invest the home, daily routine or job with its power, thereby enriching it.

    • For one’s job

      • “I get a lot of inspiration for hair coloring from outside. The color of Fall leaves, the progression of color – I do that on people’s hair… Or I look at the feathers on a bird and try to get the hair to lay just like that.” (Hair stylist)

    • One’s garden

      • “I love to garden – taking something dull and transforming it into a beautiful landscape. Going on garden tours gives me inspiration for my own endeavors… It’s interesting to see what people can come up with. Just taking the everyday and making it beautiful.”

    • One’s daily life

      • After a trip “up north”, “[The emotions are] happy, excited, peaceful, motivated. It inspires me to go home and inject some of that into my [daily] life.”

www.practicagroup.com


Domains travel l.jpg
Domains: Travel

  • Travel is also a primary venue for engaging in aesthetic experience.

    • Whether a day trip, weekend or weeks

    • Both Nature and Culture are travel’s destination

The Vision of Another Culture

To experience first hand the imaginative space of another society – architecture, food, dress, spaces, artistic expression, modes of interaction…

The Vision of Nature

“Gives you space to think about your life”

Re-connection to a larger world of life

Map of the West Indies displayed on a wall

“I have a real appreciation for the beauty of creation. I can sit for hours and look at water. It’s never the same thing twice.”

“It’s just so peaceful and calm… It’s the tranquility you feel…I just love being at peace and I try to get it whenever I can.”

“Take Ireland, for instance. The towns are incredibly clean, there are window boxes with flowers everywhere. Even businesses have flowers everywhere. It’s so green, there is so much countryside. You know you’re in a different country…it’s like a living museum… It gives you a sense of wonder, like being a kid.”

www.practicagroup.com


Domains home l.jpg
Domains: Home

  • As the primary site for self-expression and the construction of identity (of self and family), home becomes a venue for aesthetic pursuits.

    • Individually crafted

      • By way of materials, textures, colors

      • To achieve visual pleasure

The marble foyer, the cherry hardwood flooring; a reason the owner fell in love with the house

Portrait of her daughters framed by the couch and color of the pillows

The color coordination of the rug and the couch

www.practicagroup.com


Domains home18 l.jpg
Domains: Home

  • As the primary site for self-expression and the construction of identity (of self and family), home becomes a venue for aesthetic pursuits.

    • A collector of objects

      • In the form of craft, decorative objects, or art that are valued on their own, but then integrated into an overall aesthetic of the room.

Pewabic tile collected by the owner and then used when the floor tile was redone. An example of art in her home.

The Nepalese rug that greets her each time she walks in the front door, taps the soul through visual senses; a source of marital discord when her spouse discovered the price. Knowledge about its weavers and the technique added to its sense of ‘art’.

The portrait obtained in the Dominican Republic, a gift from her father, put in the living room; the fireplace wall painted this color explicitly to coordinate with the portrait

Restored 1950s Herman Miller table and chairs “makes me happy every time I look at it”

www.practicagroup.com


Domains home19 l.jpg
Domains: Home

  • As the primary site for self-expression and the construction of identity (of self and family), home becomes a venue for aesthetic pursuits.

    • A collector of objects

      • In the form of artifacts locatable in time and space

        • Belonged to a relative, handed down as a gift…

        • In their presence and use, recreates other times and other spaces

Minstrel figurines from a collection of objects depicting African-American history

A grandmother’s gold leaf tea set or silver setting

www.practicagroup.com


Domains home20 l.jpg
Domains: Home

  • Nonetheless, aesthetic pleasure at home can be elusive.

    • The promise (and not) of art or music…

Son’s painting is displayed with family photos because he struggles so much with art, unlike her daughter who is prolific (below)

The absence of anything, including color, on this living room wall a source of embarrassment. After 2 ½ years in the house, it’s still barren; life is too busy.

A symbol of what matters, rather than what occurs in daily life

www.practicagroup.com


Domains the outdoors l.jpg
Domains: The Outdoors

  • Home often fails in giving aesthetic pleasure because home life (Everyday) intervenes, rendering the contents less visible… while the outdoors retains visibility.

    • Gardens: recognize a creator’s vision and the technical know-how to bring it to fruition

      • “How could you not feel better here?”

      • Creates or provokes a state of mind or being – of peace that then yields perspective

      • Could be one’s own backyard (or not), a neighbor’s yard, a local garden

Frustration with inability to make the garden an aesthetic form, despite yearly efforts

Gardens that are admired – shapes, textures, depths, height, ongoing color…

www.practicagroup.com


Domains the outdoors22 l.jpg
Domains: The Outdoors

  • Gardens

Sitting on the swing at the end of the day (in the recently landscaped yard). This is where peace and serenity are found which, in turn, recharge, refresh.

www.practicagroup.com


Domains the outdoors23 l.jpg
Domains: The Outdoors

  • Home often fails in giving aesthetic pleasure because home life (Everyday) intervenes, rendering the contents less visible… while the outdoors retains visibility.

    • Beyond gardens

      • “I drive around looking for beauty… I go to aquariums and look at the colors of fish. I go to the zoo – they have a butterfly house– I look at the iridescent colors. I go to the pet store and look at birds… Sometimes, when I’m driving at night, I’ll look at the moon. It looks so different at different times. It has so many different colors.”

On the boat at the end of an evening… or could be just driving on Lake Shore Drive

www.practicagroup.com


Domains elsewhere l.jpg
Domains: Elsewhere

  • Outside of home: each of these venues offers a promise of aesthetic experience – Getting Away, for this audience.

Concerts, "how can such powerful sound create such serenity?”

Churches, the original sanctuaries

Libraries, by virtue of books and, increasingly, activities and outdoor spaces targeted to fostering ‘open-ness’ and ‘creating family’

www.practicagroup.com


Visual art art venues art museums l.jpg

Part 3: The Meaning of Art

(Visual)ArtArt VenuesArt Museums


Visual art l.jpg
(Visual) Art

  • Art is valued as a process.

    • Creating art is valued because of its perceived impact on personal development

      • A means of expression distinct from verbal  confidence in self-expression

      • A means of expression totally your own  creates a desire to explore (in life)

      • A process that fosters experimentation (in life)

    • About appreciating kids’ points of view…

      • “Brings joy into our house on a daily basis”

Art piece-of-the-week goes on the’ fridge

www.practicagroup.com


Visual art27 l.jpg
(Visual) Art

  • Art provides a window into other people’s heads…and your own.

Ode to My 4 year Old’s Drawing

I was in my grape house sleeping

When I heard something outside creeping

I opened the door

To go explore

Aliens were coming

And so I was running

I was just hoping there were not more coming.

The three eyed aliens were green

And they sure did look mean

They had a purple spaceship,

They had made a long trip.

This was my son Jason’s story

That he drew at school

There were lots of details that made it quite cool.

Carry me back to the days that have past

And the wondrous stream my memories can’t forget

This time is frozen but not forgotten by me

Longing for the calm that makes me feel free.

The tree weeps but only my tears fall

I long to break the air as I dream of being so serene

Most are unaffected by your beauty but I can’t forget.

I am rejuvenated. It sets my spirit free.

The sky embraces you warm and still

Only if I could rest under you

Deep rooted soul could I feel complete

Even when the tree is sleeping it is free.

www.practicagroup.com


Visual art28 l.jpg
(Visual) Art

  • Art in homes speaks… you allow it to engage you…

    • An ongoing conversation framed by life and life’s values

      • “Whenever I come home, I look at that picture (in entryway). It represents who I think I am. I see something different everyday.”

      • Works of art in the home can function as symbols of relationships, shared time, loved ones, and personal journey – deriving from the original consumption occasion or personal connections to the maker

A watercolor of a Buddhist monastery obtained in the context of an impulsive adventure to a monastery outside of Osaka when in Tokyo on business.

“That was painted by my great aunt. Most of the paintings here are hers…It’s really beautiful. It has family history and it has lots of memories. The kids like it too.”

www.practicagroup.com


Visual art29 l.jpg
(Visual) Art

  • Art in homes speaks… you allow it to engage you…

www.practicagroup.com


Visual art30 l.jpg
(Visual) Art

  • Art in homes speaks… you allow it to engage you…

www.practicagroup.com


Visual art31 l.jpg
(Visual) Art

  • Importantly, there is a belief that “artistic expression is part of being human”.

    • Visual art symbolizes openness (stretching the mind…) by its very existence

      • An idea, a vision and its expression, “Knowing that someone made it, that they put their unique idea into it, their vision. You identify with what they did and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I love it.”

    • A transformational experience: Beauty  thought provoking and/or revitalization of all the senses  spiritual renewal and/or means to see things differently

      • “It can make or change your mood”

      • “[Going to the DIA], puts me in a different state of mind. Just going beyond where I am now.”

      • “Art is something that can take you somewhere else”

      • “Beauty allows us to become part of what we’re looking at”

      • Anselm Kiefer painting, “so passionate, so much feeling in it that I lose myself… and then I get calm and centered”

www.practicagroup.com


Visual art32 l.jpg
(Visual) Art

  • “Artistic expression is part of being human”

    • Consuming art is a form of “Getting Away” – a journey in which personal transformation occurs

    • (What’s important about art?) “It’s visually pleasing. It gives viewers a certain kind of experience. Serenity, beauty, inspiration…it’s like the feeling I get on my vacations.”

    • In the consuming, it is often a personal transformation

End Benefits: ‘Everyday’ is enriched

Personal enrichment

Peace

Serenity

Harmony

Spirituality

A sense of wonder

Inspiration

Art

Strengthening social relationships

Socialization of children

A Journey of the Imagination

(“Getting Away”)

www.practicagroup.com


Art venues l.jpg
Art Venues

  • Kids: A venue for creating and consuming art

    • At school, at home, at day care

    • Is saved, framed/displayed, applauded

    • For everyone, doing art is “expanding their horizons”

“At her daycare, they have lots of art projects. The teacher takes digital photos and emails them to me at work. One was of her (6m old) painting. They’re growing their imaginative life, not just being baby sat. I like that they’re doing stuff, that they’re learning.”

www.practicagroup.com


Art venues34 l.jpg
Art Venues

  • Vacation: a framework for exploration

    • Cruise ship seminars, museum shops, street fairs are all venues for consuming art on vacation

    • The pieces then become symbols of the shared experience at home

    • Importantly, they are symbols of ‘openness’ that, when brought home, invest the Everyday world with meaning

      • Of a time and space that was out of the ordinary and into someplace else

Print of a marketplace; family trip to the Caribbean

Torquay print; purchased while on a cruise with girlfriends

www.practicagroup.com

Renoir prints; trip with spouse to Paris


Art venues35 l.jpg
Art Venues

  • Vacation: a framework for exploration

Original watercolors of indigenous Alaska flora, from a family trip to Alaska; hung in family room.

Purchased on her honeymoon; particularly likes the art within art references characteristic of this artist

www.practicagroup.com


Art venues36 l.jpg
Art Venues

  • Art fairs/street fairs: fun and festivity

    • Can be a family event

      • Model art consumption for kids in a way that is ‘fun’

      • “I like the freshness of it. You’re outside, in nature, in the sun. It takes your mind away. And I love the feeling of being with family and friends.”

    • Easy…

      • For kids (can run, eat, take a break)

      • To talk (to artists, to friends, to each other)

      • To express opinions

      • To learn without “learning”

Purchased at a street fair in Nice

www.practicagroup.com

Ann Arbor art fair

Purchased at a street fair in Paris


Art venues37 l.jpg
Art Venues

  • In sum, art is consumed in lots of venues (beyond museums) – venues that occur in daily life and occur when away.

    • Art is always consumed in a matrix of larger life values

      • Consumed during vacations and brought back into the home as talismans of journeys ‘away’

      • Consumed at art fairs as a means for creating family or as personal enrichment

    • Art finds its way to ‘fridges and walls

      • Thereby re-creating original experiences whenever it is noticed or commented on

    • Through young children, the significance of art is re-created in daily life

How do art museums fit as a venue in these respondents’ lives?

www.practicagroup.com


Art museums l.jpg
Art Museums

  • Art museums are ‘high’ culture – a status granted by all respondents.

    • High class

      • “I think swanky movies or the Thomas Crown Affair”; “I think of charity auctions, sipping champagne”

      • Location of a first date for one of our respondents, “we were trying to impress each other”

    • Revered because of its special place in life and society

      • Linked with personal histories

        • “My grandmother would take us to the DIA and historical museums when we were kids… I used to think it was the greatest thing to go down there – to Detroit… We would stay for a week. We’d tell them [grandparents] where we wanted to go and they’d take us… Every summer, we’d be there with my grandmother. It was a ritual. My time with her was definitely important in introducing me to aesthetic things.”

        • In high school we used to hang out at the DIA… we’d look at different things and say, ‘hey, that’s awesome, look at that’.”

      • Linked to travel (i.e., pursuits of personal and familial transformation)

        • “When you go on a trip, [art] museum-going is a good thing to do. It’s the highlight of the city…It’s the way I was brought up. It makes you well rounded. It exposes you to different things. It enlarges your experience.”

www.practicagroup.com


Art museums39 l.jpg
Art Museums

  • Art museums are ‘high’ culture – a status granted by all respondents.

    • A transformative space

      • Visiting an art museum is a spatial and aural, as well as visual, experience. The tranquility and contemplative atmosphere provides the experience of sanctuary, like a cathedral

      • Nourishment for one’s soul

        • “My husband would go to the DIA before a swim meet, just to relax before competing”

        • “[Going to the DIA], puts me in a different state of mind. Just going beyond where I am now.”

      • Ideally, nourishment for a child’s imagination

        • If a child seems to have artistic inclinations, then potential for shared experience with mom, e.g., “she (4 year old) just might become my partner in art appreciation… she’s like me, very visual. She notices things. She’s very observant. She makes comments on things. She’ll show me stuff – she’ll want me to see things that are beautiful.”

Art museums have very positive elements (personal experiences, family histories, perceived potential to enrich their own lives and the lives of children, qualities of the space itself) – these elements are bridges to the public that can be enhanced and built on

www.practicagroup.com


Art museums40 l.jpg
Art Museums

  • The corollary of “high” culture, though, can be intimidation.

    • Assumed to require specialized knowledge, especially by those who didn’t grow up with art museums in their lives

      • “I wish I remembered more about the college course in art history I took”

      • “I don’t know what I’m looking at”

      • “I feel like you need to be educated into the correct meaning of the art. With other kinds [of art], like paintings you buy, you can make up your own meaning. As a Black person… Blacks are not educated to know those stories. It’s something only whites, or people of a certain class, know about. Whereas I can go to art fairs, zoos, and out in nature and I can create my own interpretation.”

    • Those who grew up with art museums discovered that specialist knowledge is optional, something to take or leave

      • If art museum experiences were deemed essential by this group, knowledge of art history was not

        • “I don’t know art history, but I guess ignorance is bliss”

        • “[Possessing art knowledge] is like watching a movie when you’ve already read the book… but I would probably prefer not to know.”

        • “If you have the [art history] knowledge, maybe you get a different perspective. But I like to just look at them, see different varieties, and just spend the day.”

For those who grew up with art museums, specialist knowledge was not seen as a pre-requisite for museum attendance; for the less initiated, it often was.

www.practicagroup.com


Art museums41 l.jpg
Art Museums

  • The corollary of “high” culture, though, can be intimidation.

    • Assumed to require ‘best’ behavior

      • “I remember being reprimanded by a guard” (in her youth on a school trip)

      • “You need to be in the right frame of mind for an art museum…contemplative, thoughtful…academic. You have to be ready to learn something.”

      • Mothers shushing, berating, entreating children ages 5-13 in the DIA (personal observation)

      • “Not for kids”

      • “Don’t touch”

Ideally, a visit to an art museum works on a personal level, a family level, a kids’ developmental level

“My ideal visit? I’d take my husband and boys (5, 3) to a contemporary exhibit because there’d be a lot of technology involved. Everyone would find a piece they loved and could get excited by. We’d totally talk about it… I’d explain the process to them, like how Chuck Close paints… In reality? Steve would see it as a cost, my kids would be loud and I’d be shushing them. It would be stressful.” (Sarah, the most art knowledgeable person we spoke to)

www.practicagroup.com


Art museums42 l.jpg
Art Museums

  • The corollary of “high” culture, though, can be intimidation.

    • Kids and spouses are seen as especially vulnerable audiences

      • Kids are more easily excused from art museums than other museums

        • Parents of small children (age 3-8) feel their children are way too young for art museums (despite the fact they are in other museums)

        • Parents of older children (age 9+) increasingly let their children’s interests dictate what they do

      • Spouses too… can often be among those uncomfortable with lack of specialist knowledge

        • “So we went to the Yankee game and made it a social event” (Getting Away in NY, deciding against a trip to MOMA because it wouldn’t be a treat for her spouse)

        • “[Art museums] have an arrogance… and an intelligence that my husband doesn’t have”

Kids are too often excused from art museum attendance. This 6 year old is a productive force of art in the household. Mom couldn’t be more thrilled. Yet she hasn’t taken her daughter to the DIA, despite Mom’s own experiences in art museums.

www.practicagroup.com


Art museums43 l.jpg
Art Museums

  • In contrast, other museums seem easier.

    • Historical museums are time machines

      • Artifacts are intuitively understandable in an overall narrative, which easily catalyze perspective (i.e., a sense of transformation and ensuing enrichment)

        • E.g., First Ladies’ gowns at the Smithsonian, Greenfield Village

          • “You can imagine it, you can be there… a picture is harder to locate yourself in”

          • What were their lives like? Where do I fit in?

      • Historical narratives are consonant with the goals of travel – to understand a larger world and other ways of life

      • Such museums firmly situate the ‘I’ and ‘we’ in experience

        • Good for larger groups

        • Good for family coming in from out of town

        • Good for adult-loved ones

www.practicagroup.com


Art museums44 l.jpg
Art Museums

  • In contrast, other museums seem easier.

    • Science museums have become how-does-that-work places for kids

      • Discovery in the process of doing

      • Delight taken by parents when kids show interest …, e.g., Cranbrook Planetarium

        • “Their eyes are wide open…like light bulbs going on…it’s inspiring”

      • Feeds the values of openness and creating family

In the context of local alternatives, art museums get short shrift

For many, a sense that one should be going more frequently is outweighed by the calculus of other needs (kids’, spouses, family)

www.practicagroup.com


Taking the high back road strategic goals for advertising the future l.jpg

Part 3: Implications

Taking the High (Back) RoadStrategic Goals for AdvertisingThe Future

This 5 year old spent 2 hours constructing this fire truck (without interruption or interrupting), but the thought of taking him to an art museum? “Oh, no, he’s too young for that.”


Taking the high back road l.jpg
Taking the High (Back) Road

  • Everyday and Getting Away are the symbolic arenas framing life today

    • Each symbolic arena is re-created by actual behavior

      • E.g., the routines of daily life continue to reinforce and recreate values of efficiency, speed, productivity

      • E.g., the missions of vacations (literally getting away) reinforce and recreate values of openness, discovery, sanctuary, nourishment

      • The contrasting values and subsequent behavior aligned with each arena serve to give each domain separate symbolic significance

    • Nonetheless, ‘Getting Away’ happens in daily life (just as ‘Everyday’ happens while away)

      • When someone notices a garden while walking the dog, a moon at night in the yard, contemplates a field on the commute home, focuses on a bird’s feathers, feels sanctuary at church, feels awed by the lake driving along Lake Shore Drive… OR, feels like family has been strengthened or a child has experienced an ‘aha!’…‘Getting Away’ has occurred (and is recognized as such)

      • (Similarly, the grind of routine can occur in travel – the venue for ‘Getting Away’)

‘Getting Away’ in daily life is the exception… though highly valued

This is the space to be claimed by DIA

www.practicagroup.com


Taking the high back road47 l.jpg
Taking the High (Back) Road

  • Aesthetic pursuits are always journeys of the imagination, that live symbolically in Getting Away (even if this happens in daily life).

Everyday

Efficiency

Productivity

Speed

Responsibility

Getting Away Experiencing anew

Stretching your mind

Creating ‘family’

(re)Invests relationships

Nourishes the spirit

Inspires

The DIA exists in the symbolic world of “Getting Away” NOT “Everyday”

The DIA has the potential to inspire, invest relationships or nourish the spirit (even if consumed on a daily basis)

The DIA is equivalent to taking the back roads…

www.practicagroup.com


Taking the high back road48 l.jpg
Taking the High (Back) Road

  • The significance of (visual) art is uncontested by these target audiences

    • It is part of ‘Everyday’ through children and in its display in homes

    • It is consumed in ‘Getting Away’ venues – art fairs, vacations, museums in other places

    • It lives in their homes, as aesthetic contributions, as symbols of ‘Getting Away’ experiences

    • It is, in the viewing, an imaginative journey

Yet ‘art museums’ are NOT a venue of first choice in daily life (for this audience)

For enrichment of children, other museums come first

For creating a sense of family, DIA competes with art fairs, science/historical museums, dinner with friends, movies, camping, fishing…

For nourishment of the self, the DIA competes with family interests

If art museums are especially relevant when on vacation or other ‘Getting Away’ venues, the DIA has to capitalize and leverage its credentials for ‘Getting Away’

www.practicagroup.com


Strategic goals for advertising l.jpg
Strategic Goals for Advertising

  • Advertising must inspire the feelings and values of aesthetic experiences

    • The flights of the imagination.. the nourishment of the soul (serenity, peace, tranquility, wonder, inspiration…) nourishment of the child’s soul…

End Benefits: ‘Everyday’ is enriched

Personal enrichment

Peace

Serenity

Harmony

Spirituality

A sense of wonder

Inspiration

Art

Strengthening social relationships

A Journey of the Imagination

(“Getting Away”)

Socialization of children

The strategic goal of the campaign should be here…………………..Not necessarily here (yet)

The DIA is “Getting Away” (in daily life)

Going there means a little bit of it can be brought back into the Everyday, in the form of inspiration, centeredness or just a change of mood; it is nourishment.

www.practicagroup.com


Strategic goals for advertising50 l.jpg
Strategic Goals for Advertising

  • For the visually inclined, DIA pieces could speak, on their own, without ‘official’ curatorial translations…

    • In communications, let the pieces ‘speak’ for themselves just by what they are; foreground their power to engage the senses, to have conversations with their viewers

    • In which specialist knowledge is immaterial

      • Everyone knows art museums have ‘the best’ (such is the vulnerability when I can’t ‘appreciate’ )

      • The power is in their visual presence, their capacity to engage, NOT in mastering their pedigrees

This is the goal of a campaign

The DIA is “Getting Away”

This is an audience who notices and appreciates visual art and aesthetics already

Provoke them to tap their feet, feel a presence, notice a detail…

Possible if the onus of ‘specialized knowledge’ is stripped away

www.practicagroup.com


Strategic goals for advertising51 l.jpg
Strategic Goals for Advertising

  • To motivate and ignite, the campaign itself has to be a journey of the imagination…

    • Needs to stand in for what is promised in the going…

      • Leverage what your target does now…

        • The details of color noticed in nature

        • The patterns of texture that inspire gardening

        • The awe of a glimpse of nature

    • It needs to provide pleasure in and of itself

      • A puzzle to be solved, a smile to the face, a something!

      • Ideally, it (or some part of communications) needs to end up on their refrigerators…

All of which intrude, break through, the ‘Everyday’

Tap into and thereby remind people of what they do when they ‘Get Away’ – whether on vacation or when noticing something beautiful when commuting in traffic

www.practicagroup.com


Strategic goals for advertising52 l.jpg
Strategic Goals for Advertising

  • To motivate and ignite, the campaign itself has to be a journey of the imagination…

    • Currently, those not socialized into ‘high’ culture often feel more comfortable searching out their visual experiences at art fairs, yet the art museum has much more capacity to connect the viewer to a variety different worlds to “get away” to:

      • The visual life of subcultures within the US

      • Other cultures abroad (both “ethnic” and “high” cultures)

      • Other historical periods

Communications could/should highlight these varied ‘flights of the imagination’

www.practicagroup.com


Strategic goals for advertising53 l.jpg
Strategic Goals for Advertising

  • Why this strategy?

    • Has the crucial advantage of speaking to everyone in the target… (young moms and/or traditional target for whom visual arts are important, though local art museums are not)

    • Doesn’t deny the cultural space the art museum occupies (in fact the opposite), but it does deny implicitly the elitist baggage that is too often attached

    • Sets up an expectation of an imaginative journey and leaves aside (as unimportant) ‘specialist’ knowledge

    • Puts the communications emphasis on what visitors get out of their experience (vs. what the DIA ‘offers’)

www.practicagroup.com


The future l.jpg
The Future

  • To engage children and many spouses… the DIA needs to deliver beyond personal nourishment.

    • Currently, there is great emphasis among the American middle class on activities fostering “self-development” of their children.

    • This could be leveraged by the DIA, perhaps as a separate or later communications/content effort

      • Why separate or later? If the museum experience doesn’t engage children – that is, if it is stressful for parents, if it causes discord in ‘creating family’, then the risk is losing these more vulnerable audiences altogether

      • If you can get the visual aesthetically inclined (male or female) through communications to visit the museum – s/he will discover in the visiting what is possible for children/family, and so on.

www.practicagroup.com


The future55 l.jpg
The Future

  • To engage children and many spouses… the DIA needs to deliver beyond personal nourishment.

    • Allow exhibition content to function as a populist hook that overrides the specialist knowledge obstacle. As one respondent, whose daughter does ballet, noted, “They (DIA) had an exhibit of Degas of ballet dancers. She’d like that.”

    • This strategy could be used to draw in a range of audiences currently at-a-distance

      • Exhibitions and events that tap into deep chords for alienated groups

        • What can be done for kids?

        • For spouses who’d rather not?

        • For people who weren’t raised with art museums in their lives?

The goal would be to have the DIA come to be seen as a center for visual expression and aesthetic experience for the entire Detroit community (democratic) rather than simply a bastion of ‘high culture’ (elitist)

www.practicagroup.com


The future56 l.jpg
The Future

  • To engage children and many spouses… the DIA needs to deliver beyond personal nourishment.

    • Put the science back into art?

      • The technical craft, the how-did-they-do-this (mimicking the how-does-this-work of science/hands on museums)

      • Puts process into art museums, just as it is elsewhere

        • The great appeal of sidewalk portrait painters is seeing them do it before your very eyes. The interaction with the artist is a central part of the object’s value and it becomes a relic of that process/interaction.

        • The art object displayed in the home is a relic, a mnemonic device, of the social experience of its acquisition and the setting in which that occurred. It is as much about the process of travel, the interactions during the acquisition, the settings and memories, as it is about the object itself.

      • In keeping with these varied interests in process, the DIA could present process-oriented pieces, interactive venues, “demonstration”-type events by artists. It could unpack the ‘how did s/he do that?’ queries that visitors have of what they see.

Thus the museum could be seen as ‘laboratory’ as much as ‘storehouse-for-objects’

www.practicagroup.com