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Use a Post-It for Something Other than a To-Do List

Today's guest blogger is Lori Hodgen, Public Affairs intern and Butler University student.

A Post-It seems rather unimportant in the grand scheme of things—its only purpose to remind you of things you have yet to do (and often don’t want to do). But when it says something interesting, and you have the ability to post it ANYWHERE, a Post-It suddenly becomes a powerful little tool, like a primitive Tweet.

For the next several weeks, the IMA will be placing Post-Its all over the city. The Post-Its ask a simple (sort of) question: Who is Ai Weiwei? And if you don’t know, you should.

Image courtesy Lindsey Lord

Image courtesy Lindsey Lord

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Filed under: Contemporary, Local, Marketing


Designing Winter Nights

Since The Toby opened in 2009, we have held a Winter Nights film festival in January and February. This winter the theme for our Winter Nights 2012 series is Technicolor.

Design is generally a pretty subjective endeavor, so when starting a new project I like to do a little research into the subject in order to guide the generation of formal elements. Fortunately Technicolor offers a wealth of visual elements to play with, but the methods and appearance of color film varies a lot depending on the time. The earliest versions of color motion pictures involved three separate rolls of film—black, cyan, and magenta—that were layered together in order to produce the color projection. It’s a very distinctive look, and is wholly different from the colors you see in The Godfather: Part II, the last American film made using Technicolor’s dye transfer process. The early three-strip technique provided inspiration for the initial Winter Nights designs, involving a large and somewhat abstract W made from shaded cubes to reference a frigid, icy winter.

While working on this abstract and wintry version, we also pursued a more literal direction using film as the starting point. Keeping the W, this solution retains the grainy texture that characterizes many of those older movies. While each had its merits, ultimately we decided to go with the film-centric version for this year’s series, and a final version was created that made very clear the series’ relationship with film, as well as including the Technicolor theme in the graphic.

Using film stills in a campaign for Technicolor movies is a no-brainer, but this was not as straightforward as one might think. In the 1940s, Technicolor threw out a large volume of color negatives after the studios didn’t reclaim them, and unless they’ve been re-mastered those movies are now only available in black and white. Fortunately, we were able to find some great color images from Charade and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The beauty of these movies speak for themselves when you see them, and in order to try imparting some of that drama and motion in print pieces, I relied on careful crops.

One particularly seductive image of Marilyn Monroe offers plenty of details to highlight—Marilyn’s face, her eyes lightly closed, could be mistaken for being asleep when viewed alone. The diamond bracelet and thick gray fur are a glimpse of luxury, sensuality, and elegant excess. The full image, my favorite among Marilyn’s publicity shots for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, shows the actress dressed in red, wrapped in fur, and draped in diamonds. Her open mouth, even more red than her dress, completes a frozen moment of ecstasy, and was the perfect image to use for our Winter Nights banner.

Filed under: Design, Marketing, Public Programs, Uncategorized


Taking the Bus

I saw Cézanne on a bus today!!! …well, sort of. There is a new IndyGo bus in town and it’s hard to miss. The new bus features a painting by Paul Cézanne from the IMA’s collection. As you can see from this photo, the painting covers the entirety of the bus.

If you’re a little rusty on your art history, Cézanne was a French painter from the 19th Century whose artwork was from the Post-Impressionism period. Cézanne’s paintings bridged the gap between late Impressionism and the 20th century movement, Cubism. His artwork is usually very recognizable because of his repetitive and exploratory brushstrokes. These defining brushstrokes are easily seen in the painting featured on the IndyGo bus, House in Provence, which consist of a single farmhouse set in the landscape of Mont Sainte-Victorie, a mountain in Cézanne’s native Provence in southern France. You can also check out the painting at the IMA, as House in Provence is currently on view!

If you happen to see the bus around town, snap a photo of it! Then upload your photo to the IMA’s Flickr group and send us the link to your  image by emailing it to We will then send you an email with a coupon code for 50% off to the Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial exhibition or Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria. Happy searching!

Filed under: Art, Local, Marketing


Dial-ing In: Target Audience

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is filled with amazing pieces of work. I know that because I’ve been here, a lot. In fact, a lot of people who have never been to the IMA know it’s filled with amazing works. Our challenge isn’t convincing the public there is art here; it’s convincing people there is art relevant to them here.

Meg Liffick is the Assistant Director of Public Affairs here at the IMA. Meg and her team tightrope a difficult role between the curator and the museum-goer. The curator, as I understand it, is the head-of-household in the gallery and the coming/going/hopefully staying artwork is his or her children. It’s the curator’s job to know the artwork inside and out. It’s Meg’s and her teammates’ job to translate that expertise to a viewer who doesn’t know anything about the artwork or any artwork for that matter.

So how do they do it? How can someone be motivated to come to an art museum? Well, they have a few tricks up their sleeve.  Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial is our most recent exhibition/huge marketing undertaking. Dial is an extremely bold artist. You won’t find political, social or historical commentary listed as any of the many materials Dial employs in his art, but they’re there. Because Dial’s work embodies such strong emotions, it’s the very kind of art some people are afraid of. It can make you uncomfortable—not because it’s vulgar or offensive–but because you might not know how to feel at first. We’re used to the art of the snap judgment, not the art of the deeply expressive Alabama welder.

Thornton Dial. Photograph by David Raccuglia.

All of our marketing materials (brochures, posters, radio spots, etc.) are designed here. “We do everything in-house. Everything.  That’s what’s special about the IMA—we all collaborate, no one does anything alone.” says Meg.

The marketing around the city for Hard Truths pushes the story or experience of the exhibition and Dial, himself. Meg explains, “Once they’re on-site we allow people to form their own perspective, but we need to give people a reason to come initially.  We wanted to communicate that these works were largely 3-D.”

"Stars of Everything," 2004, 98 × 101. 1/2 × 20. 1/2 in., Collection of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.

The people involved with the IMA’s marketing have to create a way to honor and advertise the art, however, most –  if not all of them – don’t have formal art history training. Meg explains, “We don’t have art backgrounds, but we can communicate passion.” This exhibit is a completely different experience; one that not everyone would jump at initially. But it’s still relevant. It’s important to have some surprises in life, to (as our radio spots encourage) “Be amazed.” “Be inspired.”  I think Meg says it best, “Museums are here to fulfill the need that you have of finding spirituality, creativity and inspiration.”

Filed under: Art, Exhibitions, IMA Staff, Marketing, Thornton Dial


HootSuite: Managing Your Social Media Sites

From TweetDeck to TwitterFeed, and, there are a variety of tools available to help manage your social sites. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying out the Pro HootSuite account and thought I would share my findings in case you’re in the market for a new management tool.

What’s really convenient about HootSuite is that you can pull most of your social sites into one interface, so you spend less time logging in and out of the different sites. From the dashboard, you can create a tab for each of the accounts you want to include, with choices of: Twitter, Facebook, Facebook page, LinkedIn, MySpace, Pingfm, WordPress, and Foursquare. As you can see in the screen-shot below, my chosen tabs for the trial were my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

HootSuite Dashboard Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Marketing, New Media, Technology


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