Avenues: Celebration of Fine Art
For 30 years, the Celebration of Fine Art has connected art lovers with artists by hosting a 10-week art show in Scottsdale under what has become known as CFA’s “big white tents.” The show brings together 100 juried artists who work in a variety of mediums and set up temporary studios inside the tent in order to engage with collectors as they create new pieces.
The COVID-19 pandemic cut short CFA’s 2020 show, which begins every year in January and runs through March. Gatherings were suspended, which led to travel restrictions and local quarantine periods. In order to recoup lost revenue and prepare for a 2021 show that may still face similar social distancing restrictions, CFA had to meet collectors where they were — at home. As an in-person event for its entire existence, CFA needed a strategy to determine which avenues to use to reach a new audience in a new era.
As an iconic event that leveraged the in-person connections attendees could make with artists, CFA had long considered developing an online marketplace where collectors and artists could connect at any hour of the day, during any season. The pandemic, and the impact it had on business, inspired CFA to implement that vision. An Avenues Plan, guided by WHYFOR’s proprietary L.A.B.S. process, allowed CFA to see which audiences it would be targeting with its new platform and understand how to reach them.
Because the online art-buying world is different than the in-person one. Different audiences use different avenues.
The creative concept:
Since branding remained consistent, WHYFOR worked with CFA to build its marketplace as an integrated experience on its current website. When creating the shop, WHYFOR was mindful of keeping it user friendly and artist friendly, since CFA wasn’t sure how many artists would participate in the online version — especially if the process was complicated.
This marketplace was to be an extension of the premium in-person experience people have come to know and it would also act as a gateway for new audiences experiencing CFA for the first time, which meant every detail was crucial.
The aha moment
After WHYFOR completed a thorough analysis of CFA’s in-person and online audiences, it finalized an Avenues Plan that dovetailed with CFA’s content marketing plan. In addition, WHYFOR helped CFA manage artist relations by crafting an email campaign, developing painstakingly detailed instructions on how to create a virtual storefront and producing video tutorials to complement those written instructions.
The end product? An easy-to-navigate online marketplace that allows artists to create individual storefronts and collectors from around the globe to browse and buy at any hour of the day.
Knowing the participation of its existing artist base was crucial for the success of its new e-commerce presence, CFA aimed to have 60 artists integrated into the platform by the time it launched, just after Thanksgiving in 2020. Coordinated external communications in print, digital, email and across social channels aided awareness for the launch effort.
How’d it go? It almost seemed like the artists, and the collectors, were waiting for something like this.