National Competition Launch
George Blunden Public Art Prize
PR & Media Relations
See Media developed a creative campaign for attracting artists to enter the George Blunden Public Art Prize, whilst effectively raising awareness about the social value public art has among our communities. This enabled us to showcase the placemaking work we do as an organisation and demonstrate best practice to our sector peers. I’m pleased with what we’ve achieved through the competition with See Media and we are now looking to run the competition annually.Executive Director of Development, Stonewater
Leading, not-for-profit housing provider Stonewater has been installing public art at its new developments, to add value and convey a distinctive sense of place within its communities, for nearly a decade. However, for what was a substantial investment, there had been little coordinated activity to promote the initiative externally.
Stonewater commissioned us to launch a public art competition in 2021 to raise awareness about their initiative among its customers, the wider housing sector and prospective artists.
The campaign needed to incorporate Stonewater’s existing social and digital channels, as well as media relations, to generate a total of 20 clippings across local, housing and arts media, and attract at least 30 entrants to the competition.
Our research found that no other housing association had launched a similar competition but that public art installations had been a successful driver for local authorities in generating positive media coverage.
We supported Stonewater to launch the George Blunden Public Art Prize, a national competition inviting established and emerging artists to pitch their ideas for the chance to win five public art commissions and £75,000.
Our strategy to promote the prize centred around issuing targeted press releases and media briefings that would spotlight existing pieces and the commissioned artists, with a three-phase strategy to promote the launch, ongoing call for entries and winners of the prize.
We created a new web page, a digital competition brochure, with Google Analytics features embedded, and a podcast exploring what the judges were looking for, what it’s like to work with Stonewater and why public art is important for communities.
We also worked with a Stonewater colleague (and competition judge) to draft a LinkedIn blog promoting the podcast as well as identifying two artists who could help us to tell a wider story to the media about how the organisation is tackling homelessness. This involved us also delivering media training.
We successfully raised the profile of Stonewater’s public art initiative among its three core audiences, far exceeding set targets with 69 clippings across local, radio and trade media.
As a result of the campaign, 161 artists registered their interest for the prize and subscribed to an e-marketing list for future public art commissions – while 47 artists submitted entries for the competition.
The six finalists for the competition were of such high standard, that Stonewater has agreed to work with them all as and when the right installation is needed. In addition, the supporting LinkedIn blog generated three enquiries about setting up a similar initiative.
See Media also won the 2022 Not-for-Profit PRCA Midlands DARE award for the George Blunden Public Art campaign.