Rethinking where “art” happens, and why it’s important for social change
When we express our creativity, we build powerful connections with ourselves, our community and the world around us. The City of San José tapped MG to develop a virtual festival to celebrate creativity, sometimes in unexpected ways.
What was the challenge?
Creativity is everywhere: in the clothes we wear, technology we use and events we attend. WeCreate408 helped people see creative expression as a way to celebrate communities, connect with neighbors and make their voices heard—as well as for people to appreciate the value of cultural organizations, artists and artist-run businesses as cultural producers, teachers, neighborhood anchors and organizers.
What did we do?
MG developed the strategy and designed the brand and collateral for WeCreate408, a San José, California-based campaign that showcased creative expression in everyday life (408 is San José’s area code). Working with local artists, businesses and arts organizations, the Office of Cultural Affairs sent out daily prompts to inspire engagement. These prompts included creative actions anyone could do and encouraged participants to share their responses using the hashtag #WeCreate408. Each prompt was linked to relevant activities taking place in San José that day. Prompts provided enough variety so that all people could see how what they already do, and already value, contribute to the city’s incredible and unique creative fabric. WeCreate408 grew out of San José’s many years as a pilot site for Creating Connection, a national initiative co-created by Arts Midwest and MG to make creative expression a recognized, valued and expected part of everyday life.
Over 1,000 people registered for the inaugural WeCreate408 campaign, which inspired thousands of shared posts and countless other actions. Hundreds of people came out to explore San José, celebrate the city, and connect with family, friends and neighbors through creative expression. Ultimately the campaign helped people embrace arts, culture and creative expression as a way to celebrate their diverse communities and practices, share with and get to know their neighbors, and make their individual and collective voices heard.
From our client:
“We worked in partnership with Metropolitan Group for years on the Creating Connection initiative, which served to strengthen the local arts and cultural sector by providing organizations with proven messages and strategies that demonstrate the connection between their offerings and the public’s existing values. When we wanted to expand that spirit to engage all of the people who live in, work in and visit San José, we turned again to MG for their strategy, creativity and engaging design work to launch WeCreate408. I really appreciate their long-time collaboration.”
—Kerry Adams Hapner, Director, City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs