Art in The Park

You took this city by storm for our kids.  Art in the park was a magical day that created fantastic awareness for our program….Thanks to the talent and devotion of you both, the lives of children with cancer are better. On behalf of the children and families we serve, thank you for making a difference in a child’s life.
– Carol Horvitz, former Executive Director, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, Los Angeles.

Park La Brea, the largest apartment complex west of the Mississippi, was built before and after World War II.  A mixture of tower buildings and townhouses surrounded by substantial green space on a site which is about 5 square blocks, the complex was substantially renovated in the 1990′s under new ownership.

Significant changes were introduced. Where the large complex had been drab and institutional – many who drove past the property believed it to be a hospital or a veterans housing project – the landscaping was dramatically improved, the towers and garden units given a “new” look with fresh paint which accented their architecture, the tower entry ways and lobbies restored to their pre-war style.

Introduce greater Los Angeles to the “new” Park La Brea by inviting nonresidents to visit the property in order to experience for themselves the improved look, the lovely grounds and the community of some 10,000 residents who live in – and enjoy – the property.

Working with Park La Brea management and residents who participated in and managed arts programs housed on the property, WHPR conceived of a community art fair which would be staged on the streets and sidewalks of the property’s interior. The concept called for inviting outside artists, as well as students at the Park La Brea Art Center, to showcase their works at a casual art show which also offered entertainment and food. The goal was to welcome those who did not live on the property to experience, first hand, the changes which had taken place. WHPR generated a series of initiatives which were designed to publicize the event and to expose Park Labrea across a broad spectrum of metropolitan Los Angeles media.

“The Tallest Art Show In L.A.”
WHPR created a contest among college age, area art students. Their schools were selected strategically beyond Park La Brea, so that news coverage would expand into winners’ local community newspapers. WHPR contacted the schools and solicited student designs. Winners, selected by the Park La Brea Art Center, also included one design from a Park La Brea resident. The winning selections were transferred to large (17’ x 17’) mylar banners. These banners were then placed atop 4 of the tall (14 story) Park La Brea towers where they could be seen for miles in all directions.

When the winners were selected and announced, WHPR sent out news media adivisories announcing “The Tallest Art Show in L.A.” that led to TV helicopter shots and print coverage of the four banners atop the PLB towers, stories about each winner were also placed in print media in their local communities.

“Kid Art”
WHPR proposed one additional banner for display along Park Labrea’s street frontage. This banner was designed and executed by children residing in the complex. The creation of the banner was staged a week in advance of the art show itself.

This event generated additional print and electronic coverage for the event. The banner itself was used to promote the event to pedestrian and vehicular traffic along the main streets which border the complex.

“Art in the Park”
The actual art show was staged on a weekend to maximize attendance. Taking its name from the phrase employees used to describe their workplace (“I Work at the Park”), the show was promoted with a combination of news releases, calendar listings, Public Service Announcements and public service ads which were read and heard in the greater L.A. market.

In its first two years, Art in The Park drew hundreds to the property, exposing new audiences to the complex and affording the leasing staff a unique, friendly and effective means of building a much broader base of potential clients.

As the event grew and gained momentum, WHPR urged Park La Brea management to expand its reach by securing a strong charitable partner. Eventually, in concert with senior Park La Brea staff, a co-sponsorship with Camp Ronald McDonald was established. The Tallest Art Show contest was amended to allow for at least one banner designed by a camper, the outreach campaign was expanded to include the Camp Ronald McDonald data base and the publicity effort enhanced to take full advantage of the charitable connection.

This charitable tie-in allowed for even greater coverage when WHPR partnered the event with KNX radio as a media co-sponsor. That co-sponsorship led to PSAs, public affairs ads and the on-site appearance of former public affairs director David Ysais.

Over several years, the base of artists grew steadily, “regular” visitors returned time and again and residents began planning parties to coincide with the dates of the event. In total, thousands of visitors who had never seen Park La Brea were drawn to the property, an ideal marriage of enjoyable event and effective marketing.