All posts by margotd

Lexicon Week 9

1. Kerning allows the designer to adjust the space between individual characters. This process of adjusting the spacing between letters allows for a more visually appealing layout and helps avoid awkward looking text. The goal is to make the typography pleasant to look at and readable. This can be sort of an optical illusion because letters all have unique shapes and need to fit together in a way that works best for each pair.

2. Emphasis can be created by strategically placing elements on a page in order to draw attention to the eye. This can be done by using the principles of contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity. An element of a design that dominates or becomes the center of interest has emphasis.

3. Descender: In typography, a descender is the part of a lowercase letter that appears below the base line of a font. An ascender is the part that extends above the base line of the font. Letters with descenders are usually g, j, p, q, y.

4. Visual Impact is a descriptive metaphor used to convey the effect that an image had on a person. Impact means to hit with force. In the case of a work of art, a piece with visual impact can have a sudden and lasting effect.

5. Constraints are a fundamental part of design. Design constraints can help achieve consistency that allows a brand to establish visual identity.

Case Study & SWOC Analysis

I. Organization Background

Art City Eugene creates opportunities for artists by offering business support and a collaborative community. Artist, Charly Swing, founded this start-up organization in 2016 with the goal of nurturing the culture and economy of Eugene by providing opportunities for artists. Art City envisions Eugene as the most vibrant and culturally rich city between San Francisco and Seattle. They strive to do this by creating a collaborative arts community that will inspire activity, growth and opportunity. Art City was founded by artists, arts leaders, and forward-thinking citizens of the Greater Eugene Area working together to create a platform for multidisciplinary artists to ignite culture, economy, and community (ArtCity, 2016).

II. Environmental Scan

Economic Scan

ArtCity has does not yet have a major funding source secured. In order to seek funding, they need to first create a comprehensive business plan. There are no paid staff members at this time; they rely on a group of volunteers, in-kind and individual donations. ArtCity is getting assistance with graphic design and marketing from graduate students at the University of Oregon. Some possibilities for future funding might be major individual funders, corporate sponsorship or an investment campaign such as Kickstarter.

ArtCity’s earned income comes from events such as “Drink and Draw,” a figure drawing and live music event hosted at a local pub. Participants pay a suggested donation of $10, which is used to pay the artists featured at the event. A portion of the food and beverage sales goes toward helping ArtCity fulfill its mission of supporting artists. Once the location and start-up funding is secured, earned income will come from artist-members who pay a discounted fee to rent studio space. This will allow emerging artists the opportunity to exhibit their artwork with the goal of becoming professional artists.

Government funding for the arts continues to be low. However, there have been small increases in funding as the U.S. recovers from a recession. In 2016, arts funding from the National Endowment for the Arts increased for the first time since 2010, state funding decreased slightly, and local funding increased for the 5th consecutive year (Americans for the Arts, 2016). ArtCity may face competition from local non-profit arts organizations, so federal, state and local arts funding agencies may be difficult to obtain.

ArtCity Eugene is a grassroots organization that is still in its formative phase; therefore much of this analysis is based on speculation. As of now, they have not filed as a non-profit or for profit corporation, but they are leaning towards a for profit co-operative model. Eventually ArtCity aims to expand to other cities in the U.S.

Demographic Scan

Art City caters to a varied audience, as there is no specific target audience. Artist members will most likely be in their early twenties and older. Emerging artists tend to be younger, however the organization strives to provide artistic opportunities for a diverse audience and build a stronger arts community in the Eugene/Springfield area with the goal of expanding nationally to other cities.

According the U.S. Census Bureau (2015), population of Eugene is estimated at 163,460, and Lane County is 362,895. Eugene is not racially diverse, with a large white majority of 85.8%, compared to 77.1% for the entire U.S. The population is evenly split with roughly half of Eugene’s population female (51.1%). The poverty level is 24.4%, with a median household income of $42,715. This is significantly lower than the national median income of $53,482 and 13.5% of the population at or below the poverty level. The education level is high, with 93.3% of the population having a high school degree or higher. Income and education level may be the biggest factors effecting ArtCity participation.

The cost of living in Eugene is lower than that of other cities on the west coast. As the cost of living continues to rise in Portland, Seattle and San Francisco, artists may be attracted to the lower cost of living that Eugene offers. However, if there is not a strong market for art or enough funding, making a living as a professional artist in Eugene will be difficult. Since funding sources may be difficult to secure, the cost of renting a studio may be more than emerging artists can afford. Artists who are not yet established in their careers may have trouble affording studio space. Swing sees a need to support young artists by filling a gap that is left by university and college art programs. Art majors are not getting ample support and training on how to market themselves as professional artists.

Cultural Scan

The culture of Art City appears to be collaborative and casual. Since the founding members are local artists and arts leaders, there is a high level of passion and dedication to exceed in fulfilling the mission and vision. The community of Eugene is very arts-friendly and participation at arts events is high. According to a study by the Arts and Business Alliance of Eugene, residents in Eugene engage in the arts in a much more all-encompassing way that people in similarly sized communities. This is based on the number of people who volunteer at arts organizations, the number of out-of-town guests who attend arts events while visiting Eugene, and the number of 18-34 year olds who attend arts events and are active art makers.

Eugene boasts a vibrant arts community, with a number of theaters, museums, galleries and performing arts centers. There is a high rate of arts participation as well as people who are creating art. While there is strong interest in the arts in the greater Eugene/Springfield area, the per capita income of artists is quite low, and there seems to be more of a focus on artisan culture than contemporary fine art. There is not a huge market for buying and selling art, however, ArtCity aims to change this by increasing the visibility of artists and creating a more vibrant contemporary fine art community.

Monthly art walks in Eugene and Springfield will offer opportunities for ArtCity to gain exposure. As a result of the current political situation and recent election results, there may be less funding available for the arts. The marijuana industry may also present a challenge to Art City; warehouse spaces that could be potential sites for ArtCity studios are being bought up by marijuana growers, making real-estate more expensive.

In order to stay relevant in their community, arts organizations need to be aware of trends in popular culture, especially social media trends that can affect how people engage in the arts. ArtCity focuses mainly on creating art in traditional hands-on medium such as sculpture, painting, drawing and printmaking. It is unclear whether there will be a focus on art that utilizes technology. Partnering with more tech-forward organizations could create a beneficial relationship. ArtCity is still in the process of creating a visual brand identity and a strong web presence, which will help promote the organization.

SWOC Analysis

  Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Challenges
Cultural Products Emerging artists who have not previously had the opportunity or resources to create a market for their art can be a part of an artistic community. Artists can share resources and get feedback by working collaboratively. Eugene does not have a great market for purchasing art compared to larger cities. It may be hard to gain support from the community and find funding sources. Large interest in the arts in the greater Eugene area. Collaborative and supportive atmosphere with opportunities to form beneficial partnerships. Enrich the community by strengthening the arts presence and provide opportunities for artists to further their careers. Providing access to a diverse audience and getting support from the local community. Shifting from artisan culture to fine art.
Pricing Events and workshops are affordable or donation-based, so they are widely accessible. Studio spaces are offered at a discount rate, but this may still be a financial burden for emerging artists with low incomes. Studio rent costs may be prohibitive for emerging artists. Many small donations and a large member base may supplement lack of government or state funding and allows members to be partial owners of the organization. Gaining enough support and participation to generate revenue may be difficult.
Place (Access) A location in downtown Eugene will be easily accessible by car, walking or public transportation. If they are not able to find an affordable location in the downtown area, access may be restricted. There are no similar arts organizations at this time, so ArtCity will fill an unmet need in the community. Eugene is located on the I-5 corridor, which is conveniently located between San Francisco and Seattle. Real estate may be expensive and hard to find in downtown Eugene. ArtCity may face competition from the marijuana industry.
Promotional Efforts ArtCity is made up of a group of creative and dedicated volunteers who are working towards building community partnerships and promoting events through social media. There is a need for more developed, cohesive brand identity and stronger web presence. Opportunity to engage in creative marketing tactics and rely on the artistic abilities of its founding members and community partners. Participation in local art walks. Generating enough funding momentum and creating a strong visual brand identity for the organization.