#LoveLaneArt launches to promote engagement with the arts in Lane County

Aug. 15, 2020—  Love Lane County? Love the arts? Then Lane Arts Council’s new “#LoveLaneArt” is the perfect opportunity to interact with local artwork and post about it on social media. 

Using the hashtag #LoveLaneArt, artists, arts organizations and community members are encouraged to post on social media, sharing about their favorite local artists or works of art, calls to buy art pieces, opportunities to participate in arts experiences and promotions of public art tours and arts spaces. 

According to the Lane Arts Council, the goal of the initiative is to raise awareness of how vibrant, diverse and valuable local artists and arts spaces continue to be for local communities, and how the arts are embedded into the culture and identity of Lane County. 

“#LoveLaneArt is really contributing to that shared identity of how we’re all one — one place, really,” said Lane Arts Council Interim Executive Director Stacey Ray. “Lane County is so culturally vibrant. It really feels like we’re kind of giving this warm hug to everybody in Florence and across the county through arts and culture. It just feels like we’re coming together.”

Arts lovers interested in supporting the campaign are encouraged to create posts using the hashtag #LoveLaneArt and can find resources and a logo library at lanearts.org/lovelaneart/.

“This is an idea that has been bubbling for a while,” Ray said. “We’ve been having conversations, definitely in the Eugene arts community and with arts organizations across the county, around how we’re all working in our own little spheres, and how we can all benefit from more collaborative work together, collaborative messaging and sharing more about what all of our artists and arts organizations are up to across the county. This idea of collaborating on a marketing or media campaign has always seemed like something that could be really impactful.”

According to Lane Arts Council Communications & Development Coordinator Hillary Tully, the hashtag is a push to promote local arts and culture through social media.

“Because we’re using a new hashtag, #LoveLaneArt, it will now be easy for any resident or visitor to share and discover Lane County’s vibrant arts scene,” she said. “This is a much-needed addition … in a time when ‘supporting local,’ across sectors, is so essential.”

The hashtag launched this week across the county in honor of Eugene’s Visual Arts Week, now in its third year. However, the campaign seeks to highlight artwork across the county.

“It’s worth noting that so many arts leaders are working together on this to amplify our collective voice, rather than working from our own separate organizations, cities or artistic disciplines, as in the past,” Tully said.

Over 20 local arts leaders worked together on the collaborative marketing effort. This includes representatives from ArtCity, Arts and Business Alliance of Eugene, City of Eugene Cultural Services, City of Florence Public Arts Committee, Click Clack Media, Creative Sector Strategy group, Eugene Contemporary Art, Florence Regional Arts Alliance, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Lane Arts Council, Maude Kerns Arts Center, Emerald Art Center, McKenzie Arts and Culture Collective, Opal Center for Arts & Education, Travel Lane County and Whiteaker Community Arts Team.

“This has been in line with some of the bigger community-wide art sector work that’s happening in Eugene, and this project kind of grew out of that,” Ray said. “We realized this can be something that can really be countywide, and there’s so many amazing things going on right now all across Lane County.”

Locally, Lane Arts Council worked with both the Public Arts Committee and Florence Regional Arts Alliance (FRAA). Ray named both FRAA President Kristin Anderson and Florence Public Arts Committee Chairperson Harlen Springer as instrumental to the effort.

“We’ve been really connecting a lot more with Florence this past year,” she said. “This initiative has been one of those ways. It’s just been cool to be working more with the Florence arts community. … You guys are killing it over there (with public art).”

In fact, some of the initial artwork released as part of the #LoveLaneArt campaign includes Florence’s “Stitching Time, Weaving Cultures” mural by Marino Heidel Studios, located at Quince Street and Highway 126, and “The Crystal Tree” metal sculpture by Pancho Clark, located at Old Town Park on Bay Street as part of the Public Art Committee’s “Art Exposed” Rotating Art Gallery.

“It’s a cool way to take this Lane County initiative and then bring it even further down into Florence,” said Anderson, who is involved in both FRAA and Backstreet Gallery in Florence. “When it was empty downtown, you would see people just walking around and looking at the artwork because they needed to walk. If people have to get out of their houses, maybe they can take a break and go find a piece of art that they enjoy and take in the pleasure of art.”

For Ray, the campaign is also about the “essential” nature of art — referencing the COVID-19 pandemic’s labeling certain livelihoods as “essential work” in keeping communities going, even under lockdown conditions.

“When we were developing this campaign, we were talking about why we are doing this. One of the things that came to light was … showing how essential art is to our quality of life here in Lane County, how essential it is right now for our sense of well-being and our connection to each other,” she said. “Mental health, those moments of joy and expression and creativity, and the things that bring us hope and healing at a time when we feel disconnected and we sometimes feel lost and overwhelmed. It feels more important than ever.”

She also said visual art, while easily shared with the hashtag and logo, are just one component of the campaign.

“This campaign really embraces all of the arts. We recognize how essential arts and culture are still to our way of life in Lane County, and that means all artists and all art forms,” Ray said. “Right now, we just need artists to stay strong and stay resilient, because we need you.”

Besides promoting artists’ work through the hashtag, Ray said people can support local artists by buying art, commissioning artists, attending art events and tipping artists online. 

“I mean, we’re all using digital platforms right now. It just feels like such a great way to spread this message about arts and culture,” Ray added. “And when we come back together, artists are going to play an even bigger role in helping us connect and really continue to thrive as a community and an arts and culture destination.”

Until then, the Lane Arts Council will be looking at all the submissions in #LoveLaneArt and seeing how people interact with the arts and their communities.

“It’s really about empowering people to think about how they’re engaging with arts in their own lives,” Ray said. “That includes the artwork that is on their walls, the music that they’re listening to and the public art that they’re driving by every day on their way to work, or walking by. So, that’s really cool to see it through the eyes of residents who live here and folks who visit here.”

Lane County artists have the chance to add their work to the logo, which includes a frame of the State of Oregon, a background of local art, a white map of Lane County with a cut-out heart and the words #LoveLaneArts. The campaign’s toolkit, available at lanearts.org/lovelaneart/, has a blank logo for people to create their own design.

FRAA is also available to help local artists with their designs, and has even added a challenge component to the social media posts.

“Artists can see their art behind something like this and say, ‘Oh, nifty,’” said Anderson, who is also working to make a poster of Florence-based versions of the #LoveLaneArt logo. “They get to be part of this bigger program.”

But she wanted to help FRAA take the local campaign even further. Now through Sept. 30, people can be entered into a drawing to win a $150 gift certificate to FRAA.

“I was trying to figure out how to get more residents involved, not just artists,” Anderson said. “Basically, people have to send in two pictures of themselves. One in front of a piece of public art, and the other in front of a piece of art at FRAA that inspires you.”

People can send their submissions to [email protected]

“The whole goal is just to get people out looking at art and enjoying art,” Anderson said. “That’s what we’re really trying to encourage: just love art.”

The #LoveLaneArts project team plans to expand the #LoveLaneArt campaign as it continues into 2021.

For more information, explore the hashtag on social media and go to lanearts.org/lovelaneart/.