Don’t Sleep On Art: A RALLY Take On The Business Of Communicating

by Cynara Lilly

Before we had language, typewriters, computers, the internet, press releases and fake news, early cave dwellers drew on walls to share their stories. Call it the first infographics if you want, but art has always been an important part of communications.

In an era where facts and words are often dismissed and devalued, art can increasingly tell the stories we need and foster emotional connection. Especially in the political issue world, good creative and new voices will often cut through in spaces traditionally occupied by data and dry policy conversations. Art allows for broader audiences to connect and relate in ways words alone don’t suffice.

That’s why RALLY has made significant investments in bringing more creative into our work. From growing our creative team to bringing most of our design work in-house to enlisting artists — from filmmakers to illustrators to musicians and more — to tell stories. We are excited to share some examples of this work.

Destination Crenshaw

On behalf of our client, Destination Crenshaw, RALLY helped drive a call for local artists in South Los Angeles to send artwork submissions that reflect the story of Black L.A. We are proud to be working with Destination Crenshaw to create a 1.1-mile long open-air street museum that will celebrate the culture and the contributions of the African American community in Los Angeles, scheduled for opening in Spring 2020.

Even Science Needs Art

Last year RALLY worked with Resilient by Design | Bay Area to help change the way the Bay Area thinks about resilience in the face of climate change. The year-long challenge invited global design, architecture and engineering leaders to work alongside the communities themselves. More and more, sea level rise brought on by climate change intersects with transportation, housing, economic and equity needs — and traditional ways of thinking won’t work. RALLY worked with RBD to bring in some of our favorite artists with Culture Strike to unite around art and start a new narrative about how to think about resilience in communities.

In Fact, Art is Everywhere

Art in communications doesn’t have to be high-tech. When STAND-L.A. needed to bring more attention to the toxic oil drilling happening next door to schools, parks and family homes in South Los Angeles, the answer was, of course, to hold strategic events, amplify with smart digital, and engage the press — but we also partnered with muralists to engage Angelenos. By strategically commissioning murals in neighborhoods impacted by oil drilling and hosting community events where residents helped paint to an environmental justice-themed mural, we engaged the community in this fight by empowering them to create the vision for a healthier future for Los Angeles.

And—It’s Not Just Us

Just last month, RALLY ran the communications for COAL+ICE, an international photography and video exhibition on climate change, featuring the works of more than 40 artists from around the world. Hosted by the Asia Society, COAL+ICE took over 50,000 square feet on San Francisco’s waterfront as a cultural complement to Governor Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit. In a week of important conversations and commitments, the exhibition, and accompanying festival of ideas, showcased why this Summit was so important. The exhibition tangibly, graphically, and viscerally used every medium — from cuisine to photography to wheat paste street art to spoken word poetry — to reach new audiences and illustrate the climate change crisis in a way that data and science can’t.

And we are proud of RALLY friend and content studio, Original Media Ventures, for pushing not just the conversation about using great creative to tell stories, but also who is actually developing and making the art. OMV knows that stories need to be brought to life by diverse, unique storytellers that come from different perspectives, experiences, and geographies. They are developing compelling projects for film and television, and to promote inclusion at scale, they’ve launched REPRESENT, a creative community to connect storytellers from all backgrounds with resources and opportunities. Does that sound like you? Check out REPRESENT at OMV.

RALLY is an issue-driven communications firm that takes on sticky political and social problems and finds ways to push them forward. Cynara Lilly is a Principal in RALLY’s Los Angeles office.