One Night Gallery
THE KEEPERS OF ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY ART AND HERITAGE
One Night Gallery & RADAR - (Romanian Artists Developing Alternative Realities) are new media art platforms that offer strong visibility for Romania’s Contemporary artists who often struggle to be recognized in the current economic landscape. Through exhibitions, use of visual arts and technologies as well as knowledge sharing, this social enterprise quickly built up a strong community of artists, investors, and visitors who recognized the quality of its art projects. Constantly innovating and creating new art projects, it was recently awarded a 7000 euro prize by UniCredit at Finance4SocialChange Business Plan Competition, for their activity in new media art and their future business pitch idea „Future jobs of Tomorrow“- an educational platform which will further contribute to job creation and skill development of artists and developers through a combination of workshops, New Media Resource library and talks.
„It all started from the need to create new media art platforms for the expression of local arts, culture, and the new media landscape in Romania which lacked infrastructure - especially for young upcoming visual artists. In addition, the focus needs to shift to the development of digital skills and preparing new generations for future jobs by using technology as a medium of creation“, explains Mădălina Ivascu, one of the co-founders of One Night Gallery. The motivation behind One Night Gallery was the need to be the change world needs to see and get access to all the above.
With its innovative approach and projects, it quickly became a bridge between artists, public, private and public institutions creating an ecosystem where artists received commissioned projects, the general public’s appetite for art was expanding, and sustainable infrastructure for new media art projects where brands and public administrations support and promote these initiatives were being created.
„The rapid growth of our audience made it clear that these initiatives were necessary and that people were eager to experiment and interact with technology in different ways. Our art shows grew from 100 visitors to 3.000 visitors in less than a year, and through our communication strategic campaigns we made an extensive client portfolio, from different industries, that invested more and adopted the arts and culture combined with new tech pillar“, says Ivascu. As she explains, although the concept is still in a continuous transformation, it is a mechanism that generates income for artists and attracting brands to invest in artistic and cultural events, as well as commissioned projects.
This also led to the development of a new media art festival – RADAR – reuniting artists and developers from all over the country, alternative educational projects for children of all ages, as well as adults. The exhibitions provide emerging artists new skills and visibility and educate the public about new media in everyday life.
„Still, the team’s determination and knowhow to make a project with a social impact, that constantly innovates in the artistic and cultural industries is the most valuable asset of One Night Gallery“, says Ivascu adding that their goal is finding more funding projects, getting sustainable support from the public institutions, that would allow expanding the pillars of the business and focusing more on educational and heritage programs.
During the pandemic, the biggest challenge was to organize the immersive art-shows for a large audience. To achieve this, the team used usual tech mediums of expression such as video-mapping and interactive installations as a means of interconnecting people and cultural public intervention. This created new possibilities to link with the public.
„Our mission is to support upcoming artists by offering them access to new technologies as a medium of creation such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Interactive Installations, Artificial Intelligence while creating contexts for cross-disciplinary projects that enrich the Creative & Cultural Industries in Romania“, explains Mădălina.
The hybrid business model of One Night Gallery is based on the idea that the current generations need to understand technology not only as a form of fast consumption entertainment but also it’s applicability in cultural and artistic experiences. „We create and invest in projects that also have an educational purpose – as our new media resource library for kids with RADAR Kids (Animation courses)“, points out Ivașcu. In 2020 One Night Gallery began showcasing projects that aim to demonstrate how new technologies can be used to digitalize and archive national heritage.
Good market research, education, and strong communication strategy- key success factors
As a long-time entrepreneur, Ivascu points out that good base research is the most important for the success of the business. „Research the potential business financial partners, see how your strategies can align, what are your common grounds, the benefits you can offer in order to achieve your goals and always advertise and communicate your results“, says Ivascu.
When One Night Gallery was starting, the biggest fear was that the project would not reach its full potential and would end up being financed as an underground project through personal investments. The lack of equipment was also a constraint that could influence further evolution.
„We had little equipment and two sponsorship fees that were not covering the necessary costs for our exhibition or team income at that time. We lacked funding that would make it possible to expand faster, create even more imposing experiences, and have a bigger team. Then again it was our first startup that was also a cultural and social project and I think we managed to grow quite quickly.
Also, our communication campaigns were amongst our top priorities and we accessed public funding programs that allowed us to acquire more necessary equipment. And we always allowed ourselves to dream big “, explains Ivascu, adding that being an entrepreneur herself in the previous years and also working in PR & Advertising agencies was a very helpful experience when dealing with business challenges in the One Night Gallery.
Finance4Social Change stepped up further business development
In November 2020, One Night Gallery won a 7000 euro prize within Finance4SocialChange Project for a business plan with social impact – Development of an educational platform “Future jobs of Tomorrow” reuniting three pillars: Talks, New Media library resources, and Workshops. „ Together with UniCredit, the main partner of the F4SC project, we want to develop this new project to the highest standards that will contribute to Romania’s investments in a more digitalized strategy. We will invest in research and development“, says Ivascu, concluding that the mentoring and the learning process, as well as work with consultants and mentors within the project Finance4SocialChange, was both an insightful and helpful experience in further business development.