ArtPrize debt reduction with national advertiser partnerships
Patrick Center September 24, 2013 | WGVU At 7 feet high and 16 feet long, a giant scrap metal Koi makes for an irresistible photo op. The “Good Luck Fish” beached on the banks of the Grand River is one of more than 1,500 ArtPrize entries. Thousands of artists have participated over the years attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors walking the streets of Grand Rapids casting votes for their favorite works. The question is how to leverage that traffic generating revenue for the event organizer?
“We really began as a start-up.”
That’s newly appointed executive director, Christian Gaines. He says ArtPrize produced and delivered an event at a very high level straight out of the gate when it began in 2009 and yes, that meant taking on debt, now more than $3 million.
“That was really an investment in the future and that debt that you see is definitely and investment in the future and it’s something that we are definitely going to pay down.”
Balancing the budget means signing national and international brands to multi-year sponsorships. This year Delta Airlines, Heineken and Subaru have partnered with ArtPrize. Gaines says a 2011 economic impact study indicates demographics are desirable.
“I think there are all kinds of ways for sponsors to get creative. To really be able to activate affinity programs: We love this event and because you love it too you you must love us sponsorship programs that’s something we are really pushing forward.”
Gaines says it’s a focus on delivering large brands actively supporting a participation driven event attracting a half-a-million visitors. A formula that he says will eventually eliminate ArtPrize debt.
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