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.”
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