Boston, MA

Contact Name
Derek Lumpkins
Project Dates
Workshop Leader
Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) 2013
Design, Marketing
First printed in 2012, the ArtROX! Season Guide is an important marketing piece that has been key in (re)branding, increasing attendance at, and developing motivated audiences for Discover Roxbury's arts programming. Modeled after a theater playbill, the guide presents a year’s worth of arts and cultural programming happening in the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury.
Project Goals
What were the project goals?
The initial goals of the ArtROX! Season Guide were to build awareness of Discover Roxbury's year-long arts programming and to present them in a convenient and attractive physical package.
Have they changed over time?
Over time, our goals have come to include using the guide to change the narrative of Roxbury through bold and colorful imagery, to grow new audience and stakeholders for Discover Roxbury's arts and cultural programming, and to raise money for Discover Roxbury's marketing initiatives and arts programming via ad sales.
Who are the project partners and stakeholders?
The project partners and stakeholders are local and citywide non-profit organizations, universities, businesses, and Roxbury residents and visitors.
Project Specifics
How was the project implemented? What were the steps taken?
When Discover Roxbury inherited Roxbury Open Studios (ROS) in late 2010, the organization recognized the need to connect its existing arts programming to ROS under a unified theme and brand. In 2011, the ArtROX! brand was applied to all of Discover Roxbury's arts programs and initiatives. The smaller programs were marketed and repositioned to be the proverbial steppingstones that would lead arts audiences through the year to Roxbury Open Studios in autumn. The ArtROX! Season Guide was created in 2012 to give the brand and the series more visibility, and to save money on advertising costs over the course of the year.
Have they been refined over time?
Discover Roxbury now has a better sense of what its capacity is and how to plan and implement a year's worth of programming that can be marketed in advance. Knowing this has provided the organization with additional insight on where it can be flexible, where its limitations are, and what kinds of metrics can be used for evaluation.
What were your major obstacles?
One obstacle is funding. Discover Roxbury promotes the idea of the season guide to advertisers with the premise that a large number of guides will be printed before any payments or pledges to advertise are received. That has created some concern over whether Discover Roxbury will have the funds to cover the costs of the guide. The other obstacle is time. With such a small staff, there was concern that committing the time to create and design the season guide would detract from other important activities, such as fundraising and grant writing.
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
Discover Roxbury staff firmly believed in the importance of the ArtROX! Season Guide and were persistent in recruiting advertisers. Advertisers, many of whom were familiar with our mission and the quality of our work, understood that Discover Roxbury - via the guide - would position them in a positive light with educated, urban consumers with disposable income. Staff also found the time to create the guide by eliminating under-performing programs from our programming schedule.
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
1. Don't be risk averse. Set a bold, attainable goal.
2. Know your pitch and your target audience(s) well.
3. Build a culture of accountability and a sense of ownership among the staff.
Project Impact
How has this project contributed to creative community building?
The project has generated new partnerships which support Roxbury's arts and artists, contributed to the development of a larger network of working artists and civic leaders, pushed Discover Roxbury into the role of being a civic and arts leader in Roxbury, and allowed Discover Roxbury to take risks in building community that other organizations aren't yet doing in Roxbury.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
In 2012, 2000 copies of the ArtROX! Season Guide were distributed around Greater Roxbury. For many people, the guide served as a reminder for them to attend ArtROX! programming and to become more involved in the cultural life of Roxbury.
Were there unexpected impacts?
Artists who advertise with us have reported being contacted to become exhibitors in gallery shows because they were seen in the guide. More individuals and organizations are approaching Discover Roxbury to explore programmatic partnerships and collaborations. The guide is also opening doors to conversations with universities and area businesses about recruiting their support for Discover Roxbury's work and using their prominence to assist in changing the dated narrative of Roxbury.
CCX Workshop Handout