Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PF/PCA) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to support artists and advance excellence in the visual arts by offering courses, equipment rental, studio space, and a robust screening and exhibitions program. Originally two separate organizations, Filmmakers (founded in 1971) and Center for the Arts (founded in 1945) merged in 2006 to form PF/PCA under one CEO and administrative team. I was hired in August of 2017 as Director of Marketing & Communications, primarily to: lead creative agency c-leveled on the website redesign effort; improve the organization's relationship and reach with the media and local art and cinema lovers; increase enrollment numbers and artist-membership; and greatly expand the already-existing style guide to establish a united look and tone for all visual promo materials. None a small task, especially given the org's recent, public financial difficulties, a vastly reduced staff, and the lack of cohesion—branding and operation-wise—between the two different wings of the organization (PF & PCA which were also housed in two different buildings).

The work I performed at PF/PCA is categorized four ways: PF/PCA Exhibitions (you're here), PF/PCA Education, Pittsburgh Filmmakers Cinema, and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts Shop.

As one of the largest and most storied cultural organizations in Western PA, ensuring that the exhibitions and programming offered by PF/PCA was marketed properly and effectively was a top-tier priority. In conjunction with the Director of Exhibitions & Programming, Lauren Goshinski, I worked on the marketing, PR, and communications strategies for five exhibitions between two exhibition spaces - The Melwood Gallery in the Pittsburgh Filmmakers building and the historic Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside. These strategies included:

  • Writing engaging press releases that the board, editors, journalists, and artist members would actually enjoy reading; and revamping the press release template, format, and distribution list to ensure the right entities and sister organizations were being properly informed;
  • Creating beautiful, artistic promotional assets for use across social media, the PF/PCA website, and print (i.e. the large-format vinyl yard banner at PCA, posters disseminated through the city, flyers, signage, and ads for newspapers and magazines); and
  • Photographing and filming exhibiting artists and their body of work for high-quality, unique visual content to be used in media kits, ad campaigns, catalogs, event invitations, and other promotional materials.
The exhibitions for which I led marketing and communications, detailed below, are: Amanda Jolley's scapes, Samir Gangwani's Become Camera, Artist of the Year Jo-Anne Bates' EXPLORATION of COLOR, Emerging Artist of the Year Haylee Ebersole's New Works, and the Women of Visions' guild show, Sankofa Soul.

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts: lawn sign

For every new season of shows at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, a corresponding sign is created for display on the lawn. This vinyl banner, at 8' x 12' in size, is extremely large and a visual cue that commuters traveling on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood have come to expect from PCA to announce the newest season of exhibitions. Arguably the most important banner of the year highlights the Artist and Emerging Artist of the Year exhibitions.

Artist and Emerging Artist of the Year 2017: marketing efforts
PF/PCA Exhibitions													Full-page ad for Pittsburgh City Paper's Nov 15-21, 2017 Issue (Vol. 27, No. 46) to promote the Artist and Emerging Artist of the Year opening reception
Artist and Emerging Artist of the Year 2017: Promotional headshots

In September 2017 I photographed and interviewed the Artist of the Year and Emerging Artist of the year, Jo-Anne Bates and Haylee Ebersole respectively, in their home studios. I also photographed Haylee's sculptural work later that same month. The resulting assets were coupled with press releases and media kits, and utilized in ads, the yard banner at PCA, invites, and their exhibition catalogs.

PF/PCA Exhibitions													Catalog design by Martha Wasik
Sculpture photography
PF/PCA Exhibitions													Catalog design by Martha Wasik
Exhibition Previews

Promotional imagery created for social media to generate interest in and attendees for the Artist of the Year, Emerging Artist of the Year, and Women of Visions Inc opening reception and award ceremony.

Preview/VIP/Media night

The night before the opening reception, in advance of the hectic day to come, we hosted a private preview night at PCA for our board members, the artists' families, select members of the media, and other VIPs. The preview night was an idea I began plotting while: a. amassing an invitation database from the personal lists provided to me from Jo-Anne and Haylee; and b. pursuing and scheduling interviews and coverage with the press. This intimate event came together with the assistance of the Exhibitions & Programming department and Special Events Manager Joy Sato. And although Jo-Anne and Haylee had been in preparation for their Artist and Emerging Artist of the Year exhibitions for almost a year, this evening was the first time they met in person - a moment I'm glad I was able to capture.

Gallery visit from Ben F. Jones and Kilolo Luckett

On December 5, 2017, we received word that renowned multidisciplinary artist Ben F. Jones, whose work was then on view at the Carnegie Museum of Art, accompanied by art historian Kilolo Luckett would be visiting PCA to browse the current exhibitions. The Director of Exhibitions and I conducted a private, personalized tour of the works and I was able to shoot a few photos of these two very special guests, as well.

Opening night
Become Camera: Samir Gangwani

Become Camera, a video installation and performance art series by Samir Gangwani, opened December 9, 2017 in The Melwood Gallery. Become Camera explored Gangwani's experience as a heavily surveilled “brown man with a beard” who is all-too-frequently watched, followed, and profiled as a terrorist. The surveillance theme was reflected in the visual assets created for promotion, including a 11" x 17" poster and social media graphics.

Teaser video

On install day for Become Camera, I paid Samir and the Exhibitions team a visit at The Melwood Gallery as they were installing security cameras and monitors. I'd originally intended to just shoot a few photos for social media promo, but I quickly realized, as I looked around at the equipment, that video footage made more sense. The resulting clip, edited specifically for Instagram, was a cheeky nod to the theme of the show, including the use of the 1984 Rockwell classic "Somebody's Watchin Me."

Become Camera: opening night

I was on-hand the evening Become Camera opened to shoot photos and video of Samir's intense performance. In nothing but his underwear, feebly painted white to "blend in" with the walls, and wearing a surveillance camera on his head (which was very much on and live streaming), Samir spent the entire opening (3 hours) hiding in plain sight, pressing himself up against the walls, becoming more and more agitated as people noticed him, and running away at full speed to hide again and start the cycle over.

Note: these photos may be NSFW depending on your job. Be advised.

PF/PCA Exhibitions													Artist Samir Gangwani and Director of Exhibitions & Programming Lauren Goshinski
Scapes: Amanda Jolley

scapes, a solo exhibition of large digital images by emerging artist Amanda Jolley, opened at The Melwood Gallery on September 29, 2018. scapes was the first exhibition I had the opportunity to opening; opening roughly six weeks after I began my directorship. Jolley's landscape-inspired art was used to create the assets, most of which were used for social media PR. I photographed the install process for pre-opening promo, and I shot a few photos at the opening, as well.

PF/PCA Exhibitions													Artist Amanda Jolley and Director of Exhibitions & Programming Lauren Goshinski

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