What can you say about the queues for Serov - is it a consequence of competent PR or an increased demand for cultural events?
The success of any PR campaign is based on the content itself - the product and its quality. Serov's exhibition was amazing, large-scale, collected from the best works of the artist, many of which were shown to the public for the first time. Plus, Serov is still a beloved, folk artist, always expected. Therefore, the queues, first of all, are the merit of the exhibition itself, the curators and the genius of Serov.
We try to choose our own approach for a PR campaign for each exhibition; in many respects, in the context of Serov's exhibition, we have adopted a different language of communication that is unusual for Russian museums. Firstly, a month before the opening of the exhibition, we launched a teaser video with a revived girl with peaches, which broke all records in the number of views, even in comparison with teasers of Western museums. In general, this format is used by all foreign museums in the world, but we have so far neglected this one of the most effective advertising tools.
In addition to the teaser, a promotional website for the exhibition was launched, which was very popular. We made a series of video clips on the places of Serov's biography, mobile applications, a stunning exhibition catalog and a collection of souvenirs were released. We dedicated our program "Arts Nights" to Serov. The director and curators gave hundreds of interviews about the exhibition. This is the result of the work of the entire team of our museum, our common great success.
Can you describe the main audience of museums now? Has the average visitor changed a lot since the early 2000s?
Last year we did a lot of research on the audience of our museum, and soon we will get accurate results and will analyze them. According to previous polls, our audience is very wide: from parents with children and retirees to fashionable youth and foreigners, plus, we have many buildings with different profiles.
In general, now the visitor has become more demanding in terms of quality, services, and the general level. People have gotten "watching", it seems to me, some kind of general awareness and understanding of the value of their time. If a person goes to a museum and sets aside his time for this, he wants to clearly understand what he will get there - what exhibitions he will see, with what level of comfort he will spend the time, where and what to eat, where he will rest, how he will park, whom he may meet from friends, and so on … There are a lot of factors that play a role in deciding where to go. We want to become a museum loved by all categories of visitors. This is always the most difficult task.
Tell us, what is the peculiarity of working in PR in the field of art and do museums generally need PR people?
As for the peculiarities of the work, in addition to understanding and knowledge of all effective PR tools, you need to know and feel the subject very deeply. In my case, this is double work and study in parallel. For each exhibition, for which we conduct a PR campaign, I carefully prepare: I go to the library, study the artist and creativity, communicate with our researchers and curators. For me this is a great happiness and it is truly priceless.
Plus, you must always be in the context of world museum trends, follow, read, communicate, travel and watch: the forms and methods of communication change along with the needs of the audience, you must always be aware of and navigate in this area.
Regarding the "PR people": our work is aimed at meeting the needs of the modern audience, at delivering information to it in a variety of accessible ways, at preserving and maintaining our cultural code, at development. It seems to me that any museum has the potential to become a place of inspiration, a cultural artery where you come to spend the whole day with your loved one, family, parents and friends. And museums should be different, both modern and not so, with their own atmosphere.
The consumer market with this dominance of the same soulless shopping centers is an obvious tendency towards mass degradation, museums should become a worthy alternative to this leisure, which has now become the norm for most people.
Do you think it is necessary to have a specialized education to work in art?
It seems to me that the main thing for working in such an area is experience and love for the people for whom you do it. I am sure that working in a museum is, first of all, a very deliberate personal choice, complete concentration and understanding why you go there at all. And, of course, unconditional dedication to their work. There is no other way.
I graduated from the Faculty of Journalism of the International University in Moscow (MUM), for many years I wrote for various publications from ITAR-TASS to gloss about art and culture, then I began to organize some small events, exhibitions, and so on. I attended a lot of lectures on art history at the same Tretyakov Gallery even before I came here to work. Graduated from RMA. There is a plan for the near future to get an art history education, so a specialized education will obviously not be superfluous, but it is not at all necessary.
You mentioned the RMA business school. Today, many continue their studies by enrolling in similar programs. How did you get there, and did the training give you something like that?
I got to school through my friend Nikolai Palazhchenko, curator and creator of the course, which I actually graduated from, "Art Management and Gallery Business." At the time of my studies, I already worked at the Tretyakov Gallery, but I felt that the direction was not entirely mine (then I was engaged in the development of Internet projects and SMM), and I was more eager to change my activity towards public relations and organizing events.
We had a rather concise and dynamic course, full immersion in the environment, acquaintance with all key persons, an excursion into the work of the main cultural institutions. After the end of the classes, I had a strong emotional uplift, I was very inspired, I wanted to do more, not be afraid to be heard in our conservative museum, believe in my ideas. I met our current director, Zelfira Ismailovna Tregulova, at her lecture at RM (then she held the post of deputy general director for exhibition work and international relations at the Moscow Kremlin Museums), where I also made many friends and like-minded people with whom we keep in touch until so far, we are working, we are meeting.
The acquired knowledge and acquaintances were very useful to me in my work, I began to understand much better many internal processes, the specifics of work in our environment, the experience of museum management, which was shared with us by such gurus as Marina Devovna Loshak, Zelfira Ismailovna Tregulova, Vasily Tsereteli and others.
Photo: Amalia Alefirenko / building: Evgeny Alekseev
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