Launching a New Cross-disciplinary Arts Institution

Institutional communications campaign for a new boundary-pushing arts organization in New York City, encompassing the launch of its first full season of artistic programming and the revitalization of its landmarked building.

June 2010 to October 2011
New York, NY

R+A began working with Park Avenue Armory in 2006 when it was first awarded stewardship of the landmarked building. Following the institution’s initial three-year “proof of concept” phase, R+A helped to formally launch the new non-profit arts institution through a series of strategic public announcements and media cultivation moments over the duration of fifteen months. Our campaign was built upon the development of core institutional messages that defined and distinguished the Armory as a groundbreaking new type of arts institution for which there was no model, with programming spanning equally across visual and performing arts. These key messages were then integrated throughout communications platforms, including press, marketing, and membership materials.

In June 2010, R+A began to strategize and plan the announcement of a first full season of artistic programs at the Armory, which launched in December 2010 and included a range of site-specific visual and performing art engagements. In order to highlight the depth and range of the Armory's mission and program, we developed a comprehensive season release and worked to secure exclusive feature coverage in The New York Times that ran in conjunction with the distribution to priority targets on the local, national, and international levels. Subsequent to this initial season announcement, we developed stand-alone campaigns to support coverage of each of the artistic programs. 

Simultaneously, our campaign included awareness building for the Armory's renovation and restoration project, designed by Herzog & de Meuron to support the transformation of the Armory's historic building into a state-of-the-art arts organization. The campaign crescendoed to a press briefing and luncheon in October 2011, which provided the media with an overview of the Armory's artistic program as well as an indepth understanding of its approach to revitalizing and restoring its building and included behind-the-scenes tours of two recently completed pilot rooms with the architects. 

Our strategy included:

  • Developing core messages that defined institutional mission, linking the interdisciplinary artistic program and audience experience directly to the Armory’s unique architectural assets;
  • Leveraging the range of new work being presented by the Armory, including artistic collaborations and commissions across the visual and performing arts, into a unified release announcing the new institution's first full artistic season;
  • Advance placement of an exclusive feature in The New York Times “Arts” section, announcing programmatic vision and role of the new arts organization within the cultural context of NYC; 
  • Collaboration with artists and their representatives on the season announcement and subsequent implementation of stand-alone communications programs on the individual project engagements; 
  • Planning and development of messages and materials supporting the announcement of of the Armory’s renovation and restoration, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, in support of its artistic program and mission;
  • Conceptualization and implementation of a subsequent national press luncheon, which provided audiences with deeper understanding of the Armory’s mission and growing artistic program, and unveiled Herzog & de Meuron’s design plan as well as two revitalized  “pilot” rooms.

R+A’s campaign enabled the Armory to establish itself among the most innovative and groundbreaking contemporary arts institutions with audiences and critics alike. We generated extensive media coverage on the Armory’s artistic program and its building revitalization, including feature coverage in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, among many others. 

Project Timeline
  • June 2010 – Initial planning and development for season announcement 
  • September 2010 – Feature placement in The New York Times of the Armory's first artistic season and simultaneous revitalization program to restore its historic building
  • December 2010 – Launch of first full artistic season
  • October 2011 – Press luncheon with the unveiling of building revitalization plans, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, which enabled media to preview two completed “pilot” rooms
  • December 2011 – Appointment of first full-time Artistic Director
Client Relationship
Services Provided For Project
Communications + Media Relations
Analysis + Strategic Planning
Executive Counsel + Management Consulting
Brand Positioning + Constituency Development
Other Services Provided
Social Media and Online Strategies