For Local Art’s Sake

“Just add art” is the advice in Mullen/LHC’s pro bono print series for the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.

“Secca came to us last summer for a marketing plan,” said Robin O’Neill, account planner at the Winston-Salem, N.C., shop. “They’d made a shift from showing local and regional artists to more national ones like Annie Leibovitz and Stephen Hendee, but had lost their audience in the process.”

Created by art director Keith Borshak and copywriter Rich Parubrub, four ads present monochrome photos by Dennis Manarchy. Each has a portrait of the client’s target: an elderly woman, a child, a young woman, a man. Headlines like “Thought provoker*” or “Connoisseur*” accompany the “Just add art” tag.

“Everyone wants to enrich their lives, but the time you have to nourish the creative side of yourself is dwindling,” said O’Neill. “The tagline reminds them that it’s easy—just add art.”

The ads are running in local and regional periodicals including the Winston-Salem Journal, The Winston-Salem Chronicle, Triad Business News, Creative Loafing, Durham Independent, Raleigh Spectator and Triad Style.

Parallel efforts included expanding hours for the museum and for continuing education classes. As a result, attendance at performances and exhibits has risen 24 percent since last year.

But the Winston-Salem center’s No. 1 challenge was to bring back alienated local and regional artists.

“We’ve begun a series of art auctions called ‘Secca Collects,’ ” said O’Neill. “Secca knows it has a role in the community—to bring collectors and artists together.”