Tips and FAQS
Open Field provides:
• Space on the field to hold creative community-building activities.
• Amenities such as the Garden Grill by D’Amico, picnic tables, and a Tool Shed to help make the space more interesting and inviting.
• A friendly and helpful staff to assist with scheduling, answering questions, and facilitating participation during your activity.
• We can provide limited promotional opportunities, such as Take 5 blog posts on the Walker’s website and/or documentation assistance with advanced notice. If you are interested in either of these opportunities, please indicate it in your proposal. Keep in mind that it is primarily your responsibility to promote your activity by reaching out to interested parties and audiences. For more information on promotion, see Promoting Your Activity below.
• Open Field is a DIY environment. This means that there is no access to electricity or other equipment though there is limited Wi-Fi on the Field.
• Please plan to bring friends and family as volunteers to assist with any set-up and/or clean up, and know that the Walker is not in a position to host activities requiring set-up or technical support.
The most successful events tend to have public programmers who:
• Utilize social media and their communities to generate attendance for their event (Promoting Your Activity)
• Plan their event to be flexible and accommodate the size of any group, large or small
• Engage participants in an interactive way
• Plan activities that can be enjoyable for all ages and abilities
Here are some examples:
The Swatch Team is a burgeoning collective headed by a charismatic artist who knows the community of knitters and fiber artists in the Twin Cities. For Open Field, the group activated a community of advocates (including knitting-related business owners and online networks) and their inclusive vision, which allowed interested people to participate at any level, and led to a successful summer program.
To promote her Tot Mama Yoga program, organizer Milissa Link of Tree of Life Yoga Studio wrote a Take 5 blog post for the Walker’s site and posted announcements on the Walker Open Field Facebook page under her own Tree of Life Yoga account, further expanding her audiences. She also used meetup.com to connect with the public. Overall, Link’s firm understanding of her target audience—active mothers with young children—allowed her to think more broadly about who might be interested, but unaware of the program. Her networking and promotion of the activity was a key part of landing a big photo in the Star Tribune.
Promoting Your Activity
Your event is promoted on the Open Field calendar, however you should plan to promote your activity to your own network. Here are some suggestions:
• Make a Facebook event and write personal e-mails to invite everyone you e-know. Be sure to follow up with a reminder before and/or on the day of the event.
• Make fliers and pass them out at work and to your neighbors. Two weeks beforehand, people will forget; two days beforehand and people already have plans—a week ahead is usually best.
• Community bulletin boards are a great resource. You can find them at grocery stores, libraries, community centers, and apartment lobbies.
• Find groups that would be interested in the content of your activity. Is there a store, online discussion board, or an informal organization of people that would be interested? Get other people excited enough to be your advocates.
• personal phone call or in-person conversation is absolutely the best way to get people to come. The phrase “Will I see you there?” will encourage participation more than simply saying “I hope to see you there.”
• To direct people to the Open Field website, use this link: walkerart.org/openfield.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When are the best times for scheduling my activity?
A. Most activities occur during gallery hours when the Tool Shed is open (Tuesday–Sunday, 11 am–5 pm; Thursday, 11 am–9 pm). The Open Field Coordinator will also have suggestions based on other activities planned on a given day.
Q. Is amplified sound allowed?
A. No. With respect for our neighbors and City of Minneapolis regulations, amplified sound is not allowed on Open Field. Acoustic and other unplugged sound-making, however, are encouraged.
Q. Will I be able to distribute promotional materials (coupons, swag, etc.) during my activity?
A. No. In keeping with Open Field’s sharing and bartering spirit, commercial promotional materials have no place on the field.
Q. Will the Walker provide me with as many tables, chairs, extension cords, assistants, and tech equipment as my activity requires?
A. No. Keep in mind Open Field is a DIY environment. Though you do have access to a number of amenities, including picnic tables (as scheduling allows), items in the Tool Shed, and sandwich boards for signage, please plan your projects accordingly by keeping it simple.
Q. Is the Walker responsible for promoting my event and ensuring public turnout?
A. No. You, the public programmer/activity leader, are responsible for getting the word out about your event. We will post the event on the Open Field calendar and on Facebook, but the majority of the event promotion is done by you in order to ensure activity participants. See Promoting Your Activity in the Tips section. Remember, small- and large-scale activities are equally successful at Open Field.