Bravo for the Festival of the Arts

Let’s have a standing ovation for all the artists and organizers of Columbia’s Festival of the Arts! Guided by the marketing genius of Marvin Chernoff of CNSG fame, the festival successfully united a far-reaching artistic community and captured the public imagination.

I must admit, I had my doubts. I have always been content with Columbia’s prominence as center of politics and business. I even reveled in my knowledge of “secret” artistic treasures like Trustus Theatre and the gallery at Nonnah’s. But could my bold, workaday city really transform into a mecca of artistic expression?

When I saw the logo of the statehouse burping stars, I was ready to excuse the entire production. But thanks to a well-paced, thoughtfully executed marketing plan, I became that rare marketing phenomenon: a consumer who changes her mind!

I started seeing Festival of the Arts materials everywhere — and the bold mix of colors really caught my eye. Then I started reading about specific attractions and was drawn in by the excitement of our arts reporters. My ears started to perk up when I learned about all the partnerships with long-running attractions like Artista Vista and high-powered local businesses. It seemed like everyone was talking about the festival, and I couldn’t help but admire the total immersion that we always strive for in the marketing world.

Before long, I was humming the theme from the commercials and pouring over The State’s super-size program guide from The State. By the time I noticed the banners at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, I was sold on the entire venture.

Early results look promising — the South Carolina Philharmonic’s violin auction raised more than $13,000, and my friend from out-of-state was enticed to visit the local art galleries. At Sunday’s fireworks finale, I’ll be applauding all the artists — including the creative marketing professionals who crafted such an inviting campaign for the Columbia Festival of the Arts.

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