Strategic Planning • Public Relations • Event Planning
Community Organization Outreach • Social Media • Strategic Partnerships
The Long-Sharp Gallery’s Project Space NYC hosted “Nelson Mandela: The Artist,” a rare exhibition of 32 pieces of art created by Nelson Mandela. The art, which was inspired by Mandela’s time spent incarcerated on Robben Island, explores themes of captivity and freedom. The drawings and signed lithographs served as a timely reminder of the international peacemaker’s message of peace and reconciliation. Featured works included Hand of Africa, a lithograph of Mandela’s handprint with a white shape like that of Africa in the palm, as well as six one-of-a-kind pastel drawings, shown for the first time in New York in this show.
This powerful collection served as a catalyst for dialogue about contemporary issues of gender, identity, inequity, racial injustice, religion and violence. As part of the exhibition, community groups were invited to experience “Nelson Mandela: The Artist” and use the art as an incubator for discussions on how to promote and carry out Mandela’s ideas about peace and reconciliation.
The exhibition was presented in partnership with Belgravia Gallery in Mayfair, UK, whose owners worked with Nelson Mandela on this project during his lifetime. A portion of the proceeds from the show benefited the Sebastian Hunter Memorial Trust, which helps fight poverty in South India.
Strategy and Implementation
GZ&A conducted research to identify target community organizations and created support materials to raise awareness and increase interest about the exhibition. The agency drafted event invitations, reached out to more than 50 New York-based target groups and coordinated visits and private tours of the Gallery. Working closely with Gallery staff, we provided strategic social media advice and counsel including assessment of existing social media efforts, social media recommendations for paid and organic efforts, guidance for identifying and connecting with target influencers and sample posts to engage a diverse online community.
To expand the impact of “Nelson Mandela: The Artist,” GZ&A coordinated an informal partnership between Long-Sharp Gallery and another agency client, Union Theological Seminary, which champions social issues related to the exhibition’s subject matter. This coordination also included setting up a reception at the Gallery, allowing the Union community, which began the antiapartheid movement in the U.S. in the 1970s, to experience Mandela’s art and explore its relation to contemporary social issues.
Through strategic outreach, social media guidance and relationship building, GZ&A helped build awareness for “Nelson Mandela: The Artist,” bringing the artist’s iconic message of freedom and equality to a diverse and engaged group of people and organizations. More than 10 community groups – ranging from child welfare organizations to educational institutions – participated in private tours.
The Long-Sharp Gallery and Belgravia Gallery generously donated two lithographs featured in the show to Union Theological Seminary, which will be displayed at the institution to spark continued dialogue on Mandela’s work and message.