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Making Magic Happen: CODAME Sponsorship Q&A

Curating and hosting large scale creative art and technology events requires a lot of effort, planning, and technical gear. On the CODAME blog, we spend a lot of our time promoting and highlighting the artists and installations themselves, but we couldn’t create these events without our sponsors and supporters.

In this Q&A, volunteer Irene Malatesta chats with founders Bruno Fonzi and Jordan Gray (AKA @staRpauSe) about the sponsors who make events like the CODAME ART+TECH Festival possible, and how new supporters can get involved.

Jordan Gray and Bruno Fonzi co-founders at CODAME

Q: Who is sponsoring CODAME ART+TECH Festival 2019?

Bruno: We have not yet nailed down all our sponsors yet, but we are in talks with some leading technology companies with a presence in the Bay Area. We do have some partners lined up already, including Open Austria, Intersection for the Arts, the San Francisco Arts Commission, Palacio, Zero1, CounterPulse, and LASER Talks. As we add more partners and sponsors, you’ll be able to find them on the festival website here.

Jordan: One thing we can say is that we’re very excited to be working with Open Austria. It’s rare to see a government organization with so much passion for the arts. Can’t wait to announce everything we have cooking!

Q: Who are some of your favorite long-time CODAME sponsors?

Bruno: We’ve been fortunate to have support from Adobe. They were heavily involved in the early days of CODAME, which really helped us get started. @Autodesk, GitHub, and Salesforce have also been important sustaining sponsors for several years.

Jordan: I don’t think I can choose a favorite — this is as dangerous as picking a favorite parent! Aside from those Bruno mentioned, we’ve partnered with Mozilla on some exciting launches, like their VR-enabled web browser. They’ve also been gracious hosts to our salons. Those salons are fantastic events to meet artists outside of our exciting ART+TECH Festival environment.

swissnex San Francisco is an inspiring group we partnered with last year to look at automation and play in the workplace. Their programming, office space, and people are already one foot into the future.

Featured artist Deanna Hood speaking at ART+TECH Festival 2018 #ARTOBOTS

Q: Who are some of CODAME’s most recent new supporters?

Jordan: At the end of 2018, we partnered with Leonardo to celebrate their 50th anniversary at an event we called Intersections. It was an honor to bring the unique flavor of CODAME celebration to an institution with such a rich history.

Q: There are a few ways that sponsors get involved, from making donations, to hosting workshops, to bringing their entire teams to events. Why do companies choose to support events like the CODAME ART+TECH Festival?

Bruno: Companies, especially leading tech companies, want to be recognized as supporting innovation, leading the way and being visionaries. Our sponsors are companies leading the way, both in technological innovation and in creating globally-recognized employee cultures of excellence and engagement.

Jordan: Engagement is really key, both for employees of our sponsor companies, and engagement within the broader Bay Area art and tech community. Engaged employees are happier, they innovate more, and they build more trust in their organizations. 51% of the U.S. workforce is “not engaged” which ends up costing organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually. Taking your team to a CODAME event is an inexpensive way to open eyes and light fires. Being part of the event demonstrates that you value diversity and fresh thinking.

Q: What kind of organizations get the most out of partnering with CODAME?

Bruno: Organizations that value creativity and art, want to reach out for more, and are interested supporting the art and tech community are a great fit for working with CODAME.

Our sponsor Salesforce doesn’t target necessarily only creatives, but also highly values non-profits organizations. They find brand value simply in giving and being associated with the independent creative tech community. Autodesk, on the other hand, have been great partners who do target creatives and speak the same language. It’s a pleasure working together on events like the 3DWebFest which we co-produced. Autodesk went above and beyond as a very engaged sponsor and partner.

Jordan: All of our sponsorships are the result of a champion blowing the ART+TECH horn inside their organization. These people have been all over the ladder but all of them understand the inherent value of creativity. If that sounds like you, we definitely want to hear from you!

Q: How does CODAME work with sponsors creatively to both make sponsors happy and maintain artistic, creative integrity of our events?

Bruno: The ART+TECH Festival is not a conventional event with expos and company brands all over the place. That’s part of what makes it unique. CODAME events are about building inspiring experiences, playful ART+TECH projects, and supporting artists. Sponsors can expect a tasteful brand presence on site, social media promotion, and promotion during the festival where it aligns with event content.

Jordan: Plopping down a booth or throwing up a banner would look out of place at carefully curated CODAME events. We find tasteful ways to bring brands into the [ SPACE ].

For examples. if a company sponsors the sound system, their name will be there on the program handed to all attendees. Similar little pieces that bring an ART+TECH Festival to life are a great way to get involved. It feels huge when your team rolls through the event and realize that an international artist is there because their company authentically contributed.

Workshop: Fashion Technology series as part of the ART+TECH Festival 2018 #ARTOBOTS

Q: How does the CODAME mission inform the way we work with our sponsors?

Bruno: Our values inform everything about how we work with supporters. We meet them, talk to them, and organize a pre-festival event with a more intimate presence with artists, supporters, and potential sponsors. We show them what we are building, what we plan to build. We share our learnings and explore opportunities with them where they can join us in the future. In that way, we connect with them very closely.

Jordan: CODAME “shapes the future through inspiring experiences and playful ART+TECH projects.” It’s not just cute wording in a tagline — it’s a mission we are very focused on and passionate about. We are building things the world has never seen before with our partners and sponsors.

Play is core to our engagements. If we aren’t having fun then we’re doing it wrong! But we don’t take play lightly, it’s our number one tool for learning and sense-making. That includes understanding our sponsors goals and helping them get there.

Inclusion is another core value we bring to our partnerships. When we work with technologists we help them see the value of creativity. When we work with artists we help them understand the value and expressiveness of new media. When we work with companies we help them discover hidden treasures inside themselves and their teams.

Interested in getting involved? Want to donate, support, or volunteer?

We accept tax deductible donations as members of Intersection for the Arts 501(c)(3) non profit organization. We’d love to hear from you. Contact the CODAME team here.

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