Creative Life in the Gateway Arts District

Keeping up with Communications

This month for our ArtPlace America blog post Art Lives Here turned to communication experts Michelle Lee of Mingus Communications and Carole Bernard of Gateway Community Development Corporation for a breakdown of what is going on with our visibility campaign. Check out the post Michelle Lee wrote below:


In phase I of Art Lives Here, the communications team developed  a multitude of stakeholders messaging about the projects, partners and activities. While artists, partners and municipal leaders share a common vision for the Gateway Arts District, each had different short-term objectives, organizational capacities and targeted different audiences. Public relations was anchored by a new brand identity, media relations campaign, and video that gave a peek inside what locals call the region’s best kept secret. Grassroots marketing was anchored by an aggressive social media strategy that included the Art Lives Here blog, Facebook page and outreach on community listservs. The challenges for phase II: First, provide a more in-depth look into the community and make the case for further investment. Second, how do we incorporate even more partners and stakeholders into a project with so many moving parts. Plans include further developing:

  • the brand strategy – programming is expanding to include all four towns in the district. We will integrate the Art Lives Here brand and the Gateway Arts District brand.
  • public relations – we will provide target audiences with a more in-depth look at the community. Artist profiles  will be used to give the campaign a “face”, and through our new multi-media working group, we will produce content that focuses on the arts industry and collectives.

Recent Wins

1. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker lead a media roundtable in June, 2013, focusing on the Gateway Arts District and Art Lives Here. We are proud to report that he has agreed to serve as the Honorary Chair of Art Lives Here (phase II) and will lend his name, time and other resources toward our kick-off.

2. Marketing coordinators from three of our partners met and for the first time are creating an integrated marketing communications plan. The team has the potential to serve the marketing needs of partners and the community in general, way beyond the life of the campaign itself. The team will conduct mini communications audits, generate a community calendar and expand the social media strategy.


For a project such as Art Lives Here, it is important for marketing and communications professionals to emphasize to partners that it is (at least in part) a tourism and outreach campaign. The marketing and communications team is also promoting a lifestyle and customer experience. While understandable and appropriate that each organization and artist would look to the campaign to support their niche, the campaign does require sharing resources, each dedicating staff time and coordinating outreach tasks to improve the image of the district. This will bring together those segmented markets for a comprehensive regional campaign that develops our audience and builds foot traffic.


About neenajoe

Joe’s Movement Emporium is a cultural arts hub that acts as a catalyst for creativity and economic opportunity for all through productions and programs in education, artist services and work readiness. Located in the town center of Mount Rainier, Maryland within the Prince George’s County Gateway Arts District, the organization supports and promotes creative projects of local artists and community groups. For additional information on programs and events, please visit

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