Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Arizona Museum for Youth Unveils New Brand, Direction; More than Just A New Name
Following two years of extensive research and creative and strategic input, outreach and discussions, the Arizona Museum for Youth has unveiled a new name, new brand and new logo that defines and shapes the venue’s direction “to take us to the next level of curiosity, creativity, collaboration, participation and experience,” according to Executive Director Sunnee O’Rork:
The i.d.e.a. Museum (Imagination, Design, Experience, Art)
“Our new brand builds upon a solid foundation established over the past 35 years by opening up tremendous opportunities to reach and engage new audiences,” O’Rork said. “The i.d.e.a. Museum will be a place to experience the world differently through science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, or STEAM, and be a creative, imagination-driven destination for children, teen, parents and grandparents to be together, to do things together and to learn together. A place for creative families.”
During the research phase, the Museum collaborated with Reach Advisors, a New York-based strategy, research and predictive analysis firm focused on emerging shifts in “the external landscape.” Reach Advisors President James Chung and Susie Wilkening, Senior Consultant and Curator of Museum Audiences, spearheaded the project. The research also included visits with museums across the country to discuss their successes and challenges.
Mesa-based Creative Engine, a full-portfolio marketing firm, guided the brand development. Company Principle John Willie led the effort utilizing crowdSPRING, an online logo, graphic design and naming website, to engage designers, writers and artists from around the world in the project.
The Museum’s new direction was fully supported by the organization’s Board of Directors, the City of Mesa as well as from grant-making organizations including The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.
“No Fortune 500 company could have been more strategic or deliberate in thinking about a changing community and how to position the organization’s image and services,” said the Trust’s President and CEO Judy Jolley Mohraz.
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith agreed:
“The i.d.e.a. Museum is another innovative example of the direction Mesa has taken as we continue to reinvent ourselves and become a destination for not only Mesa but the valley and state,” Mayor Smith said.
With the unveiling at a ceremony today, the Museum begins an awareness-building process about the new brand that will include Pop-Up Museums at different locations in the metropolitan Phoenix area to provide information and to encourage nominations from the community for consideration for the Museum’s i.d.e.a. Hall of Fame.
The i.d.e.a. Hall of Fame will be a permanent reflection of “the greatest, most creative and most useful ideas of all time,” O’Rork said. “We will unveil the first inductees later this year.”
“I have been involved with the Arizona Museum for Youth and its wonderful accomplishments in Mesa for 25 years and its transformation to the i.d.e.a. Museum is a tremendous idea,” District 3 Councilmember Dennis Kavanaugh said. “Most museums must reinvent themselves to be successful in the 21st century and I am confident the i.d.e.a. Museum and its staff and supporters are heading in the right direction.”
The Museum will close for renovations that coincide with the new brand from May 27 through June 20. The public will be invited to attend the grand reopening on Experience Weekend beginning June 21. The first exhibition, Dream On, explores both the scientific and artistic aspects of dreams.
“These initial changes will reflect our new direction and brand in how the spaces inside and outside the Museum will be used in the future,” O’Rork said. “We will make additional adaptations and renovations going forward.”
Among the changes will be consideration of recommendations by teams from The Design School at the Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts generated during a 10-day competition to develop ideas to improve, enhance and redesign exterior and interior spaces.
The decision to change the Museum’s name and brand was based on research showing that nearly 8 out of every 10 adults visiting Arizona Museum for Youth experienced as much participation with their children as possible and that parents loved that the Arizona Museum for Youth engages children and parents differently from a typical children’s museum: It’s about creating artfully, not just creative play.
At the same time, research indicated that audience growth and expansion would be a challenge because audience base and membership are in constant turnover; children’s visitation peaks at 2-5 years of age and after age 9, there’s a significant drop in attendance; and there was real confusion about the Museum in terms of what it was: A children’s museum just for preschool based on the success of ArtVille or a family museum about Arizona.
“We also found that Arizona Museum for Youth parents have strong desires to feed their own curiosity and interests and create a similar interest among their children,” O’Rork said. “But we knew that the Arizona Museum for Youth needed to separate itself from the competition and establish its own brand and its own uniqueness.”
“With our new brand, we have created not just a new identity but a new direction for our museum and for museums across the country and around the world,” O’Rork added. “Our goal is simple: To be the place for your child and the child within you.”
O’Rork said that a special event, The Big Idea Fundraiser, has been scheduled from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the William Barnhart Studio to support the new brand. Sponsored by Ruth Tan Lim, M.D., Ivan Martinez Photography, Stoker Ostler and BMO, tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. The event includes beer, wine, food and a raffle. Dress is “Creative Cocktail.” Tickets can be purchased online at arizonamuseumforyouth.com/fundraiser.aspx or by calling (480) 644-5564.
Before the Museum closes for renovation, it will present Weather or Not: Art with Atmosphere, beginning Feb. 8, an exhibition that reflects the new direction. The exhibition looks at how artists have shared scientific aspects of our atmosphere. Tickets are $7 per person and free for members and those under age 1.
For more information, visit the museum online.
Arizona Museum for Youth
The Arizona Museum for Youth (AMY) is a fine arts museum for children and families and serves as a terrific place to introduce life-changing art. The museum hosts several world-class exhibitions, annually, and features ArtVille, a special art township for kids under 4 years of age and ArtZone for kids 5 and older. As part of the exhibitions, a dynamic array of art classes, fun workshops and family programs are available to teach basic art principles and techniques as they relate to the current exhibition. Call 480.644.2468 or visit the museum online at ArizonaMuseumforYouth.com.