All Black Zine
The ABZ mission is to disrupt creative spaces by featuring primarily artists of colour and thereby draw more patrons of colour. By doing this we intended to address social issues, encourage progressive discussions, and hopefully bring about change in our community.
The patrons of art events in Duluth, MN did not reflect the diversity in the city at the time. There was a zine that had been circulated before, to entice POC but excitement had atrophied and there seemed to be an opportunity to rejuvenate the idea with a more robust offering and use it as a vehicle to galvanise people and bring forth positive change in the community.
Our team conducted a working session with project stakeholders to ideate why so few people of colour were attending art events. We prioritised two hypotheses: 1) There was a lack of subject matter that was pertinent to POC experiences and this curtailed engagement 2) Attendance was time and/or cost prohibitive. We then followed up with an exercise of asking “ what would it take to achieve ______? This exercise helped us to formulate a set of actionable objectives.
The Metrics and design strategy were formulated around the basis of raising consciousness, discussing volatile issues and not being intimidated by the breadth of the overall systematic issues we were trying solve. We wanted for patrons to feel empowered that they could help be a part of the solution by starting small.
The pre-work to get to this point included running focus groups which were a go to from my advertising and marketing experience. However in hindsight these proved to be limiting with regards the accuracy of the conclusions we reached as we later discovered better ways of asking questions in order to really understand what was required.
The final solution culminated in a physical artifact in the form of a quarterly zine, and some promotional material. Everything was centered on a theme that was drawn from a current event / thorny issue. It contained written excerpts and artwork from local POC artists. The second tier was a series of free events that featured artists panels, gave live readings, performances, Q&A and biddings for some of the artwork that was on display. As entry to the gallery was donation based we relied on grants and our own funds to make the events happen. All final proceeds went to the contributors. The zine was circulated in the community and it was well received.
01. Crowd Funding
Through a bidding app, patrons could pledge as little as a dollar for art, when a dollar amount was reached all the patrons would receive the artwork in digital format like wallpaper or desktop.
02. Targeted Branding
By drawing such a diverse patronage there was opportunity to attract brand sponsorships that were ethically aligned to secure a more substantial monetary compensation for artists.
03. Emergent Technology
Including Mixed reality interpretations of the art, would allow for the themes to be made into immersive experiences.