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©Art, Not Apart

Art, Not Apart

A day without divide

The idea is simple: this is art, no-one’s apart.


Art, Not Apart began eight years ago as a one-off, experimental arts event. Now it is Canberra’s largest annual contemporary arts festival. The festival promotes all different types of art forms including visual arts, performing arts, music, dance and anything in between presented by local and visiting artists. This results in a one-day explosion of good music, good food, and of course, good art.


In 2018, the festival identified a need to increase attendance at the event. The event promoters, cultural development organisation Dionysus, wanted to attract both repeat visitors and first timers. The festival is built on the principle that art is innately inclusive and seeks to attract everyone which is an approach that makes the Art, Not Apart communication campaign unique.


© Martin Ollman

To fulfil its business need of increasing the attendance rate, Dionysus sought to broaden its use of media to include multiple traditional and social media channels. Television and media partnerships, sponsored advertisements on social media and the engagement of key stakeholders in events and promotions were used to promote the festival. Broadening media channels also enabled the festival to streamline one of the key messages of the festival:


“Art is a fundamental element of cultural practice that extends beyond classic marketing demographics”.


Due to the large target market of Art, Not Apart, Dionysus utilised a broad mix of promotional tactics to maximise audience exposure to the festival. The primary channel for Art, Not Apart was social media, due to its affordability and effectiveness. The platforms used included Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Art, Not Apart had different goals for each platform:  Facebook for general promotion and the event feature; Instagram to create a humanised content to promote the artists; and, Twitter for business to business communications such as sponsorships.

Art, Not Apart by Cole Bennetts.jpg

© Cole Bennetts

Traditional promotional tactics were also implemented including: media partnerships with HerCanberra and postcard distributor Spy Card; television advertisement sponsorship with Prime7; and pitching to media outlets for featured stories, such as OutInCanberra, The Canberra Times, Canberra Weekly and City News. Public relations tactics, such as an event announcement and press release from Arts Minister Gordon Ramsay, and 30 second videos with both brand CBR and Minister Ramsay, were shared on various social media channels. By using multiple media channels to promote the festival, the content on each channel could be crafted in a way to engage with and appeal to different audiences.


Art, Not Apart aimed to increase the attendee rate by 15% based on 2017 figures and as a result of the expanded communication campaign attendance numbers increased by 25% from 12,000 in 2017 to 15,000 in 2018.


The festival team also successfully increased Facebook engagement with more than 8000 users clicking ‘going’ or ‘interested’ across the four Art, Not Apart Facebook events; an increase of 3.4% from 2017.


Data from Prime 7 showed the television commercial had more than 160,000 views. This will be used as a benchmark for analysis in future years.


Dionysus plans to utilise and expand on tools that were used in 2018 for the 2019 event with a focus on creating strong, lasting connections with current and new partners.

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