It’s no secret that women are often overlooked for recognition in their fields—that’s especially true in art galleries. Leading creative agency R/GA set out to change that, by digitally and physically showcasing emerging women visual artists in the #ArtByAWoman campaign and Open Gallery for LIFEWTR.
LIFEWTR is known for its custom water bottles showcasing new artwork. To maximize its series celebrating women artists, R/GA created an accessible gallery to display #ArtByAWoman—landing the campaign the 2018 Webby Award for Brand Strategy in Advertising, Media & PR. We chatted with R/GA about the campaign, what they learned, and more.
How did the idea for Open Gallery come about?
As we were tasked to launch the new LIFEWTR “Women in Art” bottle series, we discovered a jarring statistic: 51% of today’s visual artists are women, yet their work makes up less than 5% of permanent collections. When we realized how severely under-represented women still are in the art world, we decided to create a new type of gallery beyond art galleries. Starting with our three emerging women artists on our LIFEWTR bottles, we then created more spaces for people to share works of #ArtByAWoman in high-profile out-of-home spaces (including Times Square, Oculus in NYC, and Wrigley Field), a live event at Lincoln Center, and on our official Instagram account.
Open Gallery leveraged Instagram to populate spaces with #ArtByAWoman. Why was Instagram the right digital platform for this project, and what other technology was involved in bringing this to life?
In just six months, the LIFEWTR Instagram account had already attracted thousands of fans and followers who resonated with our message of making every day more inspired. We realized that by turning this account into a digital Open Gallery, we were putting more women’s art literally in the hands of people everywhere. As a result, we helped elevate the voices of even more emerging women artists to the world.
What was the most surprising or unexpected response or outcome from this initiative?
In a number of weeks, we saw over 13,000 artworks were shared through the campaign hashtag #ArtByAWoman, and by campaign’s end had generated over 251MM impressions. We were overwhelmed with how many people responded to our message to give more women artists a louder voice. And even though this campaign ended last year, we’re still seeing people share more art by women through the hashtag.
What is one key lesson you learned with Open Gallery that you will apply to your work going forward?
When you back up what you stand for, people become emotionally invested in your brand. With the success of Open Gallery, we look at every upcoming LIFEWTR bottle series as a new opportunity to do something that once again proves our purpose.
Learn more about R/GA’s Open Gallery here. Check out more Winner Stories of Webby-recognized projects as you continue creating great work this year.