SOMERS — University of Wisconsin–Parkside students working with five Kenosha nonprofit organizations showed how creative collaborations could be used to their benefit in furthering the arts while helping local communities thrive culturally, socially and economically.
On Tuesday, students in associate professor Doug Singsen’s art course presented their community collaborations involving projects with Union Park Art Market, the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, Uptown Brass Village, the Kenosha Community Foundation’s Arts Fund and Lincoln Park Live.
The students were tasked with helping the organizations market the arts, employing artistic measures to assist in promoting an organization or discovering how communities view artistic endeavors and their place in the local economy.
“The sort of focal point for the class is trying to keep trying to advance the four objectives in the strategic plan,” Singsen said.
Within the framework of their collaboration, students worked with the groups assessing their needs with a goal of creating a product they can use and continue to expound upon.
The objectives under the Kenosha Creative Economy strategic plan are business partnerships and philanthropy, community marketing, neighborhood revitalization through the arts, and downtown revitalization and entrepreneurship.
Union Park Art Market
Students who worked on the Union Park Art Market plan established a new logo for the organization. They encouraged the group to continue using social media, including Facebook and Instagram, to post events and to maintain and update information. Advertising through word-of-mouth, sending emails and flyers to colleges, K-12 schools and local businesses would also benefit them, they said.
“The major thing we did accomplish was creating the logo, really strengthening and establishing the identity for Kenosha Art Market itself, developing the promotional plans so they have something to take with them as they continue to advertise the event,” said student Daniel Hoffman.
Students created a website with a centralized resource list of art events and organizations, with locations and hours of operation that could be used in community marketing.
Students said the initial meeting had involved a plan to possibly redesign the Kenosha Rising website, focusing on active art and the culture of the organizations. Students said the project, however, was changed because the website acts as a communication tool for the Kenosha Creative Economy strategic plan, which led them to create a separate “sandbox” website for different art and cultural organizations.
Students said they’d like the organization to use the website as a resource for consumer arts and envisioned it as a self-maintaining resource.
Francisco Loyola, executive director of Kenosha Creative Space, said he was “gladly surprised” at the template for the website and being able to adapt to the change in plans.
“Now, as a community, we have to take that conversation back and to take it to the next level,” he said. “The biggest challenge is not getting the website, but who’s going to maintain it. It’s a big effort to update it on a constant basis. … Thank you for opening this conversation.”
Uptown Brass Village
Students had the goal to help update the organization’s brand, designing a targeted or “vectorized” logo and redesigned the organization’s website.
Among the things they created in addition to the website were campaigns such as recognizing and outstanding landlord and “Love Your Front Door” to promote the neighborhood.
Students said they also had an ambitious plan to tell the video stories of people in the neighborhood, but ran out of time.
“The reality is it’s time, life and school. These realities get in the way,” said James Murray, a project member.
Kenosha Community Foundation Arts Fund
This group was tasked with surveying local businesses about their interest in the arts and how likely they would support them financially.
Their goal was to try to have at least 22 business answer surveys, whether by email, phone or in person, according to Matt Flowers.
Flowers said that, with one large corporation, his call “bounced around for about 45 minutes before someone hung the phone up on me.”
“We did get 11 responses, but we did get good responses,” he said.
The group said they received mixed responses when they asked the question of whether the arts were a helpful tool in helping a community.
Their advice to the foundation was to educate businesses and establish relationships with them.
Lincoln Park Live
This project aimed to tell the stories of the people who’ve made the neighborhood and the summertime event a success, including the late human rights activist Mary Lou Mahone.
Students working on the project said the event and the neighborhood has a lot going for it and urged them to continue to use diverse ways to promote the event, including social media in addition to articles about the park.
In addition to the strategic plan, students also reviewed and discussed two anthologies by the National Endowment of the Arts on creative place marketing to apply to their projects.