McDougall Interactive Case History: Montserrat College of Art and WGBH-TV
Monserrat College of Art was the hub of the encaustic painting universe, hosting the 4th Annual International Conference on the campus grounds. Several dozen leading experts on encaustic painting – an ancient Egyptian technique using melted beeswax – joined recognized artists working in this medium.
Coinciding with the conference, an art auction of the famous “Flag” encaustic painting by Jasper Johns sold for $28.6 million – biggest ever for a painting using this medium. This became a very effective “news hook” for ensuing coverage.
McDougall Interactive was tasked with generating media coverage of the conference, focusing on the artists from all over the world, their work, and nationally known expert keynoters.
A unique challenge for the 2010 conference was a competing group in San Francisco vying for art-world attention via encaustic painting. The publicity, then, also had to reinforce Montserrat College of Art’s “brand” as the center for this technique.
Boston, Massachusetts is blessed with some of the most knowledgeable editors and reporters covering the art world, due to the colleges, universities and world-class museums located here. Media covering art range from daily and weekly newspapers, art magazines and national public television, the renowned WGBH-TV.
Prior to and during the conference, publicity in the major news outlets was tied to the Jasper Johns mega-sale and Montserrat Gallery viewing sessions. We generated excellent coverage in ARTSCOPE Magazine, SALEM EVENING NEWS, BEVERLY TIMES, BOSTON GLOBE and WGBH-TV.
Initial contact was made with Public Broadcasting Systems’ prestigious WGBH-TV for their “Greater Boston” daily show, hosted by Emily Rooney, well-known journalist and TV personality. Because WGBH-TV is culturally oriented, they were very interested in covering the conference. However, timing was a problem, as they could not allocate a crew and interviewer until the conference ended.
WGBH-TV was able, however, to cover encaustic painting at Montserrat’s on-campus Gallery, which featured actual work by contemporary working artists. They also suggested a live demonstration of encaustic painting, which the Gallery was able to provide.
WGBH-TV came to Montserrat Gallery, led by Jared Bowen, producer of “Greater Boston,” and a camera crew on June 23, 2010, for set-up, camera angles, etc. On June 25, the crew spent 2 1/2 hours interviewing Dr. Stephen Immerman, Montserrat College of Art President, Leonie Bradbury, Gallery Director, and Julie Shaw Lutts, encaustic artist who demonstrated the technique on-camera.
On July 8, 2010, Emily Rooney’s “Greater Boston” aired an 8-minute segment. Although not the first time Montserrat College of Art appeared on television, the national coverage afforded by WGBH-TV, a PBS anchor station, was a first.
Immediately following the broadcast, McDougall Interactive issued a nationwide press release, further reinforcing the Montserrat brand as the center of the encaustic painting universe. Coverage was generated across the United States and Canada, in many different forms of media including online, broadcast and print.