Seminar VII - Hyonchu Park
Searching for the Entrance and Exit of an Exhibition
Eugene Hannah Park (DCW 2021)
At the seventh seminar of the DOOSAN Curator Workshop we met with Hyonchu Pak, who works in public relations (PR) and marketing for the Suwon Museum of Art, to talk about the roles and methods of PR in exhibitions.
PR and marketing are the first entrance to an audience, responsible for inviting visitors to an exhibition. However, PR is often not given sufficient consideration due to budget and time constraints. Hyonchu Pak believes that effective and appropriate PR is still possible within a limited budget if one considers the PR direction and target audience from the planning stages of an exhibition. She added that it is important to adopt doable PR and marketing strategies, monitor situations as they change, and revise goals as necessary.
Regarding the channels through which PR operates, Pak chose the two that PR officers should pay the most attention to—press releases and social media. Press releases are important because they are generally effective in communicating the general outline of an exhibition to the public. A press release must be clear and concise, focusing on the key points of the exhibition. The main keywords must be presented in a way that the public can easily understand, so PR professionals must be able to select their words carefully. Since timing is also important for press releases, Pak recommends they be issued at least a day before an exhibition opens.
Comparing to press releases, social media is much more interactive and able to reach larger audiences to rapidly spread information. Social media content can be divided into numerous categories, providing details on exhibitions and events, plus informational guides and educational and daily life content. A far-reaching influence is possible when content is customized for different platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and blogs. Instead of uploading posts only before and after an exhibition’s opening day, it is important to divide the exhibition period into early, middle, and later stages and continuously revise the PR plans. For example, the Suwon Museum of Art was surprised to find that many visitors in their 20s were attending the exhibition New Ways of Living for ____ to take photos with the exhibition in the background, so the museum began to use these pictures as a main PR strategy during the latter half of the exhibition.
Marketing can assume various forms, including partnerships with companies, ticketing promotions, cultural events, and associated programs, and it must be conducted according to an exhibition’s goals and qualities. One of the objectives of marketing is to deliver content in a way that conforms to the motives of an exhibition. During this process, the best way to approach marketing is to reach an agreement with the organizer of an exhibition and find a balance between ensuring the quality of the exhibition and expanding its scope of communication. For instance, many events have been held online during the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure to emphasize the exhibition’s key factors.
Pak also shared some recent issues in PR and marketing with workshop participants. We discussed the difficulties inherent in keeping up with and utilizing rapidly changing trends, as well as ways to increase accessibility. In order to design highly accessible content, Pak explained that she visits an exhibition numerous times and tries to understand the organizer’s perspective. Smooth communication between an organizer and a PR professional will naturally broaden their common ground. A PR professional’s main task is to identify all PR factors while keeping an eye on the multiple agents that participate in an exhibition during the process of planning, producing, and presenting it; from the start to finish, the entrance to the exit, the institution, curator, artist, and audience must be kept in mind.