This is a teaser of sorts, a preview of what’s to come.
Because there’s so much that can be done with three simple letters, especially when those letters are BRG.
Those are Baton Rouge Gallery’s initials. The gallery’s full title is Baton Rouge Gallery Center for Contemporary Art.
It’s around for 46 years, and its home has been the City Park Pavilion since 1984. Yet there are people in the area who haven’t heard about the gallery.
“Some people came in last week,” Jason Andreasen said. “They were riding by on their bicycles and decided to stop. They had no idea we were here.”
Andreasen is the gallery’s director, and he and his staff have been working on a few changes to draw attention to the gallery and its many offerings. Baton Rouge Gallery is, after all, one of the oldest professional artist cooperative galleries in the United States.
It not only highlights the latest in local contemporary art but also contemporary pieces by artists from throughout the nation in its annual Surreal Salon juried art show. Add to that its many Sunday programs, movies series and children’s classes, and there’s a lot going on in this gallery.
So, a few changes were needed to move Baton Rouge Gallery back into the spotlight.
Beginning with the logo.
“Scott Hodgin of Tilt Design worked with his students at LSU to come up with the logo,” Andreasen said. “This was the only design they presented to us, and we were blown away the first time we saw it.”
The design is “BRG” in bright, multicolored letters. And with today’s technology, the letters’ content easily can be changed for whatever event is on the agenda.
Take the gallery’s annual Kinetics live art auction, for example. The letters’ foundation stays the same, but the interior reflects an image illustrating the event. Andreasen demonstrated the transformation on his computer.
“We started talking about doing this last summer,” he said. “The gallery had its current logo with the tree and fingerprint for 10 years, but the gallery isn’t necessarily in the same place as it was a decade ago. It’s worked hard to become more engaging, whether it’s through our Sundays@4 programs, through our movie series or through the artwork. We wanted a logo to reflect that, and this is amazing.”
And he’s right. It is amazing to watch a basic design suddenly take on a new meaning each time the visual is changed.
“We showed it to our board of directors, and their vote for it was unanimous,” Andreasen said. “It’s something that’s contemporary and accessible. It has lots of energy, and it lets us think of ourselves as playfully sophisticated.”
The new logo has already been printed on umbrellas, T-shirts, coffee mugs and other new merchandise stocking the gallery’s gift shop. It also will take center stage on the gallery’s newly designed website.
Graphic designer Jeremy Grassman designed the new site. “It’s much more user friendly,” Andreasen said. “And it will list all of our artists and show their work.”
Both the logo and website officially will be unveiled at the gallery’s monthly First Wednesday reception on Sept. 5, which also will mark the opening of its September show featuring exhibits by gallery artists Leanne McClurg Cambric, Kathryn Hunter, Katherine Scherer and Michaelene Walsh.
“We normally would have opened our show on the Sunday after the day they were installed, but we’re waiting for the First Wednesday to unveil everything,” Andreasen said.
Now, there will be a change that won’t be ready on Wednesday. Baton Rouge Gallery will include the new logo on its signs, which not only will be placed on the gallery but will point visitors from the road to the gallery’s home in the pavilion.
The signs will come later, but new benches are being placed inside the facility’s two gallery spaces to make the rooms more comfortable for visitors.
“The benches will have cushions, and we’ll put two in each gallery, so visitors can sit down and look at the art,” Andreasen said. “And there will be still be plenty of room for visitors to walk around. We’re also doing some things to make our back patio more inviting. We want people to come here, and we want them to have a great experience while they’re here.”
So great that they may be inspired to purchase a copy of the gallery’s new book, The Art and Artists of Baton Rouge Gallery. The book’s pages are filled with stunning color reproductions of work by the gallery’s current roster of artist members. It, too, will be available for purchase in the gift shop.
And some of these artworks soon will be seen throughout Baton Rouge as the gallery partners with Lamar Advertising in the “Tell Someone” project. Artist members’ work will be displayed on digital billboards inviting viewers to interact with the gallery through Twitter, emails and Facebook.
Different artworks will be featured on different billboards throughout the city. The project will run between four and six weeks. A start date has yet to be set.
“We hope this project will get people locally engaged with one another,” Andreasen said. “It might strike up conversations that normally wouldn’t have happened.”
And it all starts with the unveiling of a new logo filled with possibilities.