The MacLarenArtCentre has announced a vibrant 20th anniversary communications campaign that reflects its history while reaching toward the future. The new campaign honours Maurice MacLaren, the gallery’s namesake and legendary community figure who bequeathed his home and his art collection in 1989 to create a public art gallery for Barrie. His impact on the quality of life in this community continues to be immeasurable.
The George Partnership International, a Toronto-based design and communications agency with offices in London and Dubai, has been working with the MacLaren staff and its Communications Committee to create a new brand identity that is authentic to the Centre. Gerald George, Creative Director and CEO, is impressed with the design of the MacLaren facility, its exhibitions and its educational outreach. Through his strong relationships with the Centre’s architect, Siamak Hariri, and the Centre’s Board, Gerald George offered to help develop the Centre’s brand identity and messaging. “The MacLaren is a world-class public art gallery. I was pleased to be involved in bringing its brand identity to an international level and to incorporate the history and legacy of the founder into its image,” says George.
The campaign captures the vitality of the MacLaren. The positioning statement, STARTTHINKINGART, is a playful and provocative call to action. The bold graphic treatment represents a contemporary interpretation of a traditional MacLaren plaid that opens up to a wide spectrum of vibrant colours, geometric shapes and diverse patterns. The flexibility of the format allows for virtually endless variations. Carolyn Bell Farrell, Executive Director of the MacLaren, is thrilled with the new identity. “The positioning statement of the campaign, STARTTHINKINGART, is an invitation to people to explore their own creativity and to expand their understanding of what art is,” says Bell Farrell.
The MacLarenArtCentre is a cultural landmark in Barrie and a major tourist driver in Simcoe County. This anniversary campaign will contribute to re-energizing the downtown core of Barrie, animating Mulcaster Street and attracting tourists and visitors to the area. The culmination of the campaign will be on September 17, Maurice MacLaren’s birthday, with a cluster of events including an exhibition of select works from the MacLaren bequest and a celebratory dinner in his honour. A weekly column in The Barrie Examiner, entitled XX Stories, will tell twenty consecutive stories of Maurice MacLaren’s legacy through the words of those in the community who knew him well. The first story by former mayor Janice Laking appeared on Saturday, April 18.
The MacLaren’s integrated campaign has been brought to life through generous donations from our partners including: The George Partnership International, The City of Barrie, Downtown Barrie Business Association, Tourism Barrie, Georgian College, B101 Radio, Rogers TV, The Barrie Examiner, Owen Signcraft, Caulfeild Apparel, Flags Unlimited, Kempenfelt Graphics, BLEND Communications and Kwik Copy. Working closely with MacLaren Communications Officer Bridget Ayden and Carolyn Bell Farrell, the Communications Committee members have donated their time, expertise and resources to launch this campaign. These extraordinary volunteers include: Jennifer O’Neill (Committee Chair and Board Member, BLEND Communications); Chris Adams (Internet Marketing Consultant); Lily Cadeau (Board Member); John Lister (Lister and associates); Robb MacDonald (MacComm); William Moore (Solutions ink); and Craig Stevens (Downtown Barrie Business Association).
About The George Partnership International
The George Partnership International is a design and planning firm intent on one clear goal: to create communications that sell in a constantly changing global marketplace. To achieve this, we specialize in the disciplines of strategic planning, branding, corporate identity, new product development, literature programmes, annual reports, packaging, graphics, interactive and film as well as retail, environmental and architectural design. We work with some of the world’s most exclusive brands including leading luxury products and services from fashion to finance.
Gerald George, Creative Director and CEO, is a multidisciplinary and inspiring creative leader with international experience and an international, award-winning portfolio including such clients as: Apple, Arcturus Realty Corporation, Balzac’s Coffee, Birger Christensen, Chanel, CIBC, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Luminato, MaxMara, McKinsey & Company, TD Bank Financial Group, The Distillery District and the Toronto Arts Council.
About The MacLarenArtCentre
The MacLarenArtCentre is a not-for-profit, public art gallery located in downtown
Barrie, Ontario. Our mission is to integrate the visual arts and culture within
our community. The MacLaren promotes understanding and awareness by creating
accessible means for the visual arts to be an intrinsic part of everyday life.
The Centre presents a year-round programme of regional, national and
international exhibitions of contemporary art, complemented by occasional
exhibitions of historical and modern art. Exhibitions are presented both at the
Centre and across the city as part of the MacLaren’s ArtCity™
programme, which places permanent and temporary artworks throughout
Barrie’s public spaces. The MacLaren houses a permanent collection
comprising 26,000 works of art, including a unique archive of 23,116 vintage
Soviet press photographs. The balance of the collection represents visual
culture in Canada with an emphasis on contemporary art. Education provides the
unifying link that activates our collection and exhibitions. By presenting
programmes that engage the hands, hearts and minds of people of all ages, we
bring “people to art” and “art to people”. For
information on programming, location, hours, and admission fees, please visit www.maclarenart.com.
The MacLarenArtCentre gratefully acknowledges the support of its members, benefactors, donors, sponsors and partners, the City of Barrie, the County of Simcoe, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.