For appreciating art, one need not be an artist. In fact, art is all around us, and in every possible form; and no wonder one of the greatest ever multitalented personalities Michelangelo pointed out, “The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection” and it aptly signifies the adage that the beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
An artist, they say, is just waiting to give wings to his dreams. His canvas is his world of expression…he goes on with his work with a few subtle brush strokes here and there trying to match with the vivid colors of his own versatile imagination. Days pass into months, months into years and finally the artist comes out with that ‘gem of a painting’ to be termed as true masterpiece.
Among us we have several budding artists in our midst, but not all make it to the top – reasons could be manifold. Nevertheless, one ideally needs the right kind of platform and direction to showcase talent and then it’s up to the person to make his/her mark. And in a country where art and culture has changed over a period of time…say over thousands of years; it just needs the right stimulus to get things back in perspective.
For years, the Indian art scene did not have the right kind of environment which could guide the art fraternity and put them on par with their global counterparts. The Hanmer MS&L team brainstormed about promoting India’s rich cultural heritage to the world, and pitched the idea to the government authorities of making it into one of the biggest and most talked about cultural events ever to be held in this part of the continent. Great minds think alike and as a result, the ‘India Art Summit’ (IAS) was endorsed by Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni, and global auction house Sotheby's.
However, since there was no precedent to IAS, the biggest challenge faced by the Hanmer MS&L team was to explain the concept, importance and components of an art fair to the media, Indian art industry, consumers, and ultimately dispel skepticism. Then, of course, mass awareness and attendance needed to be generated. To overcome this challenge, the IAS team went about gathering support and third party opinion from the domestic and international art fraternity.
Categories: A3 (India), B12 (Corp Image), C24 (Public Sector) plus B10 (Consumer - new), C18 (consumer), C23 (travel) Program: Creating the India Art Summit and promoting India’s Artistic Creativity Nationwide and around the Globe Organization: India Ministry of Culture and India Ministry of Culture Agency: Hanmer MS&L Program Story The Strategic Approach Initial Research - The Hanmer MS&L team identified in 2007 that Indian art was a growing trend and that there was a gap in understanding, appreciation and respect for contemporary Indian art. The time was right for India to offer a suitable platform for art in the form of an art fair, only a vision, leadership and investment was needed. Research included analysis of media, comparative review of art communities in peer countries, discussions with influential galleries and art collectors and initial discussions with the Ministry of Culture. The insights gleamed from this investigation ultimately helped the team formulate an ambitious approach to branding and promoting the rising Indian art movement which would bring a diverse Indian nation and set of artists together under one umbrella. Approach - After presenting the findings and high-level plan to the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Tourism, Hanmer MS&L now needed to build a supporting foundation among art community influencers and galleries. By personally contacting top galleries and art collectors nationwide, one-by-one the Hanmer team developed enthusiasm and partnerships that would ultimately lead to the Summit’s inaugural success. As India’s first industry platform for contemporary art; getting together 35 top galleries from India and overseas, showcasing over 400 artworks created by over 200 Indian artists, and making arrangements for logistics and equipment was no easy task. Besides that one had to take care managing the comfortable stay of overseas delegates. It was imminent that IAS would be huge with delegates from various countries coming for the event. Besides we would be having international auction house Sotheby’s and Ministry of Tourism and Culture gracing the event. Accordingly the security and management of the concerned delegates and also the key assets such as paintings, sculptures, and important art works was a matter of top priority. Help was sought from police and private security to take care of the priceless treasures in store. Event mapping was done months in advance and every minute detail pertaining to the event was noted. Subsequent to extensive research and discussions with esteemed members of the art fraternity, all agreed to collaborate and invest in progressive planning, infrastructure and documentation to support the development of creative arts. Finally, after months of meticulous planning that took countless liaison efforts with government departments and other higher authorities, the process was set in place. It was all through sheer grit and determination, the ‘India Art Summit’ finally took shape. CONFIDENTIAL – Not authorized for public distribution Objectives are listed on next page
With a strong foundation of support among key government and industry influencers, the initiative now rested on the successful positioning and promotion to Indian consumers, global collectors and, not to mention, designing and producing the entire event. The key strategies included:
Extend foundation of support from galleries to art collectors and key media with sneak previews
Build an engaging web site and online promotion program to establish the online platform destination
Aggressively promote the summit via traditional PR, direct marketing, digital and influencer mailings
Engage art thought leaders to participate, lending credibility and attention through implicit endorsements
Create a fun atmosphere that will give art professionals, hobbyists and learners a chance to experience the diversity and creativity of Indian Art.
Art for money’s sake or vice versa – Caveat Emptor- Art collection has been a hobby for people since ages; but of late, it has become a die-hard sport amongst the rich and famous. Obviously, for a sector overflowing with High Net-worth Individuals (HNI); it’s a matter of pride flaunting the highest prize at the bidder – where every individual worth his salt tries to outbid his rival for astronomical sums. At the stroke of the hammer generous amount of money exchanges hands and some smart guy walks away smiling at his new worldly possession. And it need not always be a genuine ‘Vincent van Gogh ’ or a ‘Picasso’ that you might be taking home! (Well, you never know.)
To take care of such discrepancy, the India Art Summit took the responsibility of educating people about the dangers (fakes) that exist in the art world. Real time cases and sessions presented by speakers of repute took the summit to an all new level. ‘The art of investing’ – ‘Valuation, authenticity & transparency’ and ‘Investment trends and best practices’ ably presented by Mr. Philip Hoffman, Chief Executive, Fine Art Fund (UK), and Henry Howard Sneyd - Deputy Chairman, Sotheby's Europe and Asia were the icing on the cake. Besides these two internationally renowned speakers, we had in our midst Dr. Robert Storr – Dean, Yale University School of Art, Dr. Hugo Weihe – International Director-Asian Art, Christie’s, Ms. Deborah Swallow – Märit Rausing Director, Courtauld Institute of Art. In all respects, the interactive sessions left everyone who attended with an introductory education to the world of advanced art collecting and an appreciation for the same.
Target Audience and Program Insights - Art Attack – We want more! - At the summit; artists, painters, art work designers, students, art institutes, academicians, historians, curators, auction houses, collectors, entrepreneurs and general visitors rubbed shoulders with the who’s who of the art fraternity world. The three day art show was certainly a moment of intellectual stimulation where everyone concerned shared their knowledge and vision in promoting art and culture and could ideally be termed as revival of a modern ‘Renaissance’ period. The main highlights of the event being "Collectors' Preview" that was attended by collectors from India, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, New York and London. Besides that there was the Art Forum - day long sessions and panel discussions on knowledge sharing by experts in the field of art. No doubt, those three days were a period of time in eternity where one could identify the true blend of art, creativity, culture and bonding.
It is rightly said creativity is fundamental to sustaining, defining, and fuelling our imagination and it definitely plays a major role in boosting our economy and driving innovation. The India Art Summit in every respect was the perfect ingredient for nurturing talent and giving the much needed boost for a healthy international cultural debate and dialogue. Overall, the summit made the right impact by bonding people across the borders and also generated invaluable income both for the organizers and the people (art galleries et al.) who participated during the art fair. With over 200 delegates representing various nationalities and a 10,000 plus surging crowd, the ‘India Art Summit’ at Pragati Maidan, Delhi, from Aug 22 -24, 2008, was truly a spectacle to behold – both in terms of artistic fervor and grandeur. It would be pretty modest to say that it was one of the finest and perhaps the largest ever gathering of art enthusiasts’ under one roof. The lavish setting displayed some of the finest installation drawings, paintings, photography, mixed media, video, prints, and sculptures the modern art world could provide for the art enthusiast.
“ The Indian market is very important in the global art scene and the inaugural India Art Summit is a major step. I can see this to be major fair in Asia competing alongside London, Miami and Basel. The sales results of the fair seemed very impressive by comparison to other fairs in their first year.” - Philip Hoffman, Chief Executive, The Fine Art Fund Program and Execution Objectives and Results Objective: Become the most important platform for Indian Art, providing access to the most comprehensive collection of Contemporary and Modern Indian Art. Result: Hanmer MS&L/IAS secured participation from 34 top galleries displaying over 550 artworks. The range of artwork showcased included paintings, drawings, sculptures, video art, mixed media and installations, acknowledged by media and industry influencers as the largest ever assembled. Objective: Launch India’s entry into the world art fair circuit and establish India Art Summit as India’s premier Art gathering, both in India and across the world. Result: In addition to partnering with the Indian Ministries of Tourism and Culture to develop the India Art Summit, securing their endorsement, world leaders in Art including Sotheby’s, Christie’s, more than 15 foreign art organizations and 200 foreign delegates solidified the summit’s immediate respect and reputation. More than 250 global media placements worth US$1.4M told the launch and success story of the summit. Objective: Provide a platform were the Indian and international art community can share knowledge and discuss the growth and development of Indian Art. Result: An Art Forum was organized during IAS for knowledge sharing through speaker sessions panel discussions and debates, drawing thousands.
Objective: Make IAS a commercially viable venture for participating galleries, media and sponsors
An astounding 10,000+ art enthusiasts from India & overseas attended the inaugural 2008 summit.
The IAS set sales records of approximately 50% of inventory sold, including 280 separate pieces across the 34 participating galleries totaling US$2.1M in sales. This was deemed by global industry watchers as one of the most successful inaugural art fairs in history.
CONFIDENTIAL – Not authorized for public distribution Promotion began early and www.indiaartsummit.com was launched. Using traditional and digital media, collateral materials were developed for nationwide galleries to carry and distribute. Besides, several lifestyle media were enlisted to tell stories about the growing Indian art trend. Skeptical media and industry professionals were quickly outdone by the overwhelming coalition of support from top galleries and influencers enlisted early. This in fact, was the turning point for the success of the Summit.