dolphin parade at atlanta aquarium

(note:  i got commissioned for two dolphins, and am working on them in more recent updates to this blog.)

there’s a cool fundraiser that cities and other organizations do, where they get a bunch of artists to paint fiberglass animals, then position them around the city, and then auction them off.  you’ve probably seen something like it in your city.  the people who make the fiberglass animals (and other things) supply them, sponsors pay for them, and the artists are chosen based on their designs, given a small stipend, and allowed to use the organization’s logo on their resume (is that a privilege or a right?)

public art.  i’ve done this before.  sandy springs had a turtle trot to raise money, and i designed and built two fiberglass turtle sculptures, both of which sold, one for $19K.  i tried to get a commission when the cows came to atlanta a few years previous, but my proposal wasn’t chosen, so i did my research for the turtles, and got both entries accepted.

what did i learn about this process?

you have to pitch to the sponsors.  for the cows, i thought of things like rhett and scarlett cows waltzing.  cute, whimsical, but did it give any sponsors a thrill?  no.

for the turtles, i looked up the sponsors.  a hospital.  a travel agency.  a gourmet supermarket.  a real estate firm.  and tailored my proposals accordingly.  so, i did a doctor turtle.  and a travel turtle.  and i did a real slick watercolor (the drawing for rhett and scarlett was in colored pencil) and labelled it all professionally and everything.

marketing.  packaging.  that’s what sells.  the content has to be good, but they really love slick.  even tho there’s nothing more contrived than slick.  the public equates it with accomplished.  something you have to know.

anyway.  it’s dolphins, to advertise the aquarium’s new dolphin tank.  it’s a family thing, of course, so i can’t aim it at bars or liquor companies or night spots, otherwise there’d be stripper dolphin.  but i figure coca-cola dolphin, or i could always try travel dolphin and doctor dolphin again.  i could do atlanta braves dolphin, or delta pilot dolphin.  but nobody would sponsor redneck dolphin, or gangsta rapper dolphin, so i’m not even going to bother.

i’m going to spend a few days working up likely proposals, and in the meantime i’m trying to get the sponsor list from the organizers.

i love doing these things.  trouble is, the work needs to be done between august and october, and i’m spending september and october in europe, so it’s got to be done in 30 days.

i worked for months on the turtles.  if i get a commission, it had better be for only one dolphin.


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