Nations, and the places that define a country, say a lot. In their own surreptitious way, they’re as visual as the artworks they describe.
The visual on the e-mailed gala invitation from Art Museum of the Americas intrigues, as all good art does, but begs some questions. Is this a screen grab from the featured video, or what? There is no text, just a small identification in the lower right-hand corner stating the artist’s name and his country of origin Trinidad and Tobago – that’s all the explanation I needed to begin to understand the visual and want to learn about the event being announced. Place names are evocative, and every reader will conjure their own collage of images. Art Museum of the Americas has a mission to fulfill in identifying its works and programs by country. But in any museum, the names of places, towns, or regions enrich the visuals around them, whether in a label, digital or print material.
Museum of Arts and Design, in New York, identifies the objects in its store by the American state in which the artist/designer resides. Museums I visited in London and European cities identify on wall labels the “Born,” “Died” and “Lives in” cities of the artists on display.
Environment matters, and it piques a visitor’s imagination to learn where artists live – one place or many in the course of a lifetime — as they search the physical world for intangible inspiration. One of the first questions people ask when they meet some new is: where do you live, where are you from. It’s a connector, and a fool-proof way to engage with a stranger. It works for visitor engagement, too.
Museum Branding, Second Edition, contains new chapters on How to Find your Brand Identity, Digital and Social Media, Events, E-mail, Tours, Public Relations, Academic Museums, and Databases.