What an exciting week for the organization and for my family. Being on the Double Vision committee for Visionaries and Voices has been an incredible experience due to the wonderful committee members whom I now treasure as good friends! It has also been exciting for Nati Social as it was the first major event managed through our new brand. We wanted to really show off what we do through social media promotions to increase awareness, invite new audiences and #makesomemoney for the organization. Our committee came up with a great gorilla marketing campaign for the preview party. We strategically placed double vision sunglasses around the city dropping clues on where to find them on Facebook.
We posted twice a day for 2 weeks, giving “hints” on the location of the glasses. Once found, the lucky winner would post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram #ihavedoublevision gaining them access to a sneak peek of the incredible art collaborations to be auctioned off at the main event. The social media aspect of the sunglasses campaign was essential to the success of the preview party. We introduced many new faces to a great organization, many which attended the preview party bought tickets to DV4 on the spot!
Social media was crucial to the success of this event. Nati Social joined forces with an incredible marketing team that was very active on Facebook and Twitter. We began posting pieces up for auction about a month in advance and with the help of the committee sharing photos and Liking, DV4 became viral. V+V’s Facebook Likes skyrocketed by more than 150 from April 21st to May 18th!
While we were all busy preparing for the annual fundraiser, behind the scenes my husband was also preparing for a monumental occasion. He had thrown in his hat in the ring to become the Executive Director of Visionaries and Voices. We have loved this organization as collectors and volunteers for a number of years and feel extremely passionate and vested in its continued success and growth. Brian along with 37 other candidates began the intense, yet diligent interview process which took several weeks. When it came down to the last two candidates, Brian was asked to bring in a few letters of recommendations. With all the buzz in the household our four daughters became pretty involved with the organization and in tune with Dad’s experience, so they asked if they could supply a letter as well. At the final interview all the letters were read and our 11 year olds letter stated “I recently heard you were going to pick my dad as executive director. OH MY GOSH!!!! THAT IS FANTABULOUS!!!! I think you should pick my dad because he will give Visionaries and Voices a bunch of great ideas! I mean have you met my dad?! He built a guitar! He is so smart. It’s like he has everything anyone could ever know stuffed in his head!”
The day before the big event we were all busy setting up and were overwhelmed with excitement. Even more exciting we found out that Brian had been awarded the job and that it would be announced that Saturday night before the big auction. That night we arrived at the beautiful Carnegie in Covington KY originally constructed in 1904 as a Carnegie Library, we looked forward to creating a new chapter inside its historic walls. The venue was packed full of artists and their families, board members, collectors, staff, volunteers and friends of V&V. DJ Mowgli blessed up with upbeat tempos, which ignited a spontaneous dance party. The live auction pieces were displayed in the main gallery as well as the silent auction that itself was a work of art in its display. Guests chatted, drank, ate and took some candid photos courtesy of Flashbox Studios.
Once the silent auction ended and everyone had a solid bidding strategy we gathered into the main theater. I could sense Brian’s anxiety as he awaited the big announcement. My sister-in law started to tear up when Matt Distel announced his new position with the Carnegie and Brian as his successor. Brian stood up and waved to the lively audience once he was declared the new Executive Director of Visionaries and Voices. I couldn’t be more proud of him.
Jonas from Main Auction Galleries worked his magic on the crowd as hilarious bidding wars broke out across the room. The artwork at this event is just amazing. One of the V&V artists is paired with another local Non-V&V artist and the outcome is a one of a kind collaborative piece of heaven. I was fortunate to win a couple Andy Warhol works and my sister in law got a piece created by Ashley Mays and Tracy Feldman for Brian and I’s upcoming anniversary.
We were also treated to a special performance by The Pones at intermission. Kim Popa was first introduced to V+V through her friend Ria (DJ Mowgli), who had such great things to say about the organization that she was motivated to reach out and see if there was a potential to pair up for the Double Vision Gala in a way that served both organizations. It’s funny that we were invited to the first Double Vision event by DJ Mowgli as well! I asked Kim, to elaborate on her origination’s involvement with V&V. She stated, “At Pones Inc. our mission is to create artistic opportunities for community growth and we are fortunate enough to work with diverse populations who expand our dance community. Our experience with V+V did just that! When I first met with Christa Zielke we discussed how to create a dance that felt like it was informed by V+V artists and inclusive to all dance levels. At Pones we want to make sure that dance is engaging and accessible to all, so this pairing proved to be a perfect fit. Throughout the process, Pones Inc. five dancers familiarized themselves with five V+V artists’ work and personalities. We then used this information to create five solos based upon this inspiration (ex: circles in Kevin White’s art work, Manny Love’s martial arts movement in person, Courttney Cooper’s love of “The Chicken Dance”.) Additionally, we held a one time dance workshop at the Northside V+V facility. This two hour workshop was a great opportunity for Pones dancers to meet the artists and interact even more, as well as a chance for V+Vers to expand their artistic experience from visual art into movement / dance. The video, created by Jay Taylor, was the way in which we included additional V+V artists in the performance. The video played behind the dancers (Ashley Morton paired with Jake Ryan, Ian Forsgren paired with Kevin White, Trisha Durham paired with Courttney Cooper, Kim Popa paired with Kathleen Brannigan, and Kate Stark paired with Manny Love). Our experience with V+V was so magical and I look forward to more opportunities with the organization. Everyone was not just kind, but incredibly engaging and joyful. The participants and staff dove into the idea of movement head first and made the experience a favorite among many for the Pones artists who facilitated.” All attendees awesomely felt the experience as well.
The party did not stop there, we continued till the wee hours in the morning at 3 kings in the arts district of Covington. There was much to celebrate as the event was a smashing success and the new career will be equally rewarding for my family and the V&V. I felt an emotional out pouring of congratulations, support and excitement from all the staff, board members, family and friends. It was truly a moment of tremendous gratitude.
The next day most of us were resting but Kristy Geis must have stayed up all night to tally up all the numbers as we all received an email Sunday afternoon reporting that we exceeded last years numbers. We were all overjoyed and looking to get together soon to plan our strategies for next year… Double Vision 5…Are you ready?