Jan 14, 2019
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New Selfridges stores campaign aims to make the arts more accessible

Jan 14, 2019

Selfridges has released its biggest campaign yet dedicated to promoting the arts with the retailer aiming to “take the arts out of galleries and museums often perceived as intimidating and present them in unexpected public places to make them more accessible to people.”

Broken Time by John Margaritis

And of course, it's all part of the overall quirky approach to marketing that the retailer has taken for some years that has helped to make it a destination not just for shopping, but for experiences too.

The company commissioned dozens of artists to contribute existing artworks and to create new ones as well. In many cases, this creation process is actually taking place in real-time in front of customers and sometimes with their participation.

The campaign runs from this month until March 30 in the London, Birmingham and Manchester locations as well as on its website.

And it has partnered with the Ikon Gallery, Manchester School of Art, and the Gasogian, Whitecube and Pace galleries, among others.

Called State of The Arts, the company said that the campaign marks a turning point in its commitment to supporting the arts and artists, especially emerging UK-based talent alongside more established names.

It has launched a series of eye-catching art installations in its Oxford Street, London windows featuring nine “critically acclaimed” artists all of whom were commissioned by the Crossrail Art Programme to create site-specific artwork in the new tube stations of the Elizabeth Line. Each one has created a unique piece for the store windows that echoes the piece created for their specific station.

The London store’s Corner Shop is also playing host to the Art Store, a “multi-dimensional destination that combines retail, customer information and artist participation.”

Within the Art Store, the Art Tank is suspended in a window and will be the focal point for a series of one-off art happenings, classes and residencies.

Series highlights included Michele Lamy and Paul Kooiker in their Genius You performance; Alexandria Coe creating charcoal drawings of live models; and Wilfrid Wood who’s sculpting in plasticine.

And there’s also an Art Trail being hosted by the retailer, as both a map and an audio guide, showing the “unexpected artworks and amazing art pieces” around the store such as the Art Block installation, a newly commissioned work by Matthew Darbyshire.

Selfridges' State of The Arts campaign

Meanwhile in Manchester, some of the Manchester School of Art’s “most exciting upcoming talent” such as Bex Isley, Rebecca Halliwell-Sutton and Omid Ehmirahmadi all have artwork in the windows, the entrance and across the sites in the menswear floors of the Exchange Square store. The Trafford store, meanwhile, features work by local artists Emilie Alstrup, Clare Calveley, Sophie Russell and Kay Shah, whose installations and sculptures can be seen on all levels at the store.

And in Birmingham, the company has linked with the Ikon Gallery with artist Perry Roberts creating an installation that draws on the experience of the seasons, prompting questions on both climate change and the nature of fashion. In this store, the arts trail also includes pieces by Richard Wilson, Gillian Wearing and Joanna Vasconcelos. And events also include drop-in art workshops for children and seasonal activities.

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