The Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP) – a research, teaching and learning resource that is due to open in 2019 – has been a Flow client for the past year. During that time, we have worked on the centre’s new website and have provided allied PR and social media services.

When an opportunity arose to create an exhibition stand that would boldly announce the Javett-UP’s presence at the FNB Joburg Art Fair at the Sandton Convention Centre in September, the centre also decided to enlist our exhibitions, design and development skills.

Shenaz Mahomed, curatorial assistant for the Javett-UP, engages with visitors at the art centre’s stand. (Image: Javett-UP)

As Javett-UP director Christopher Till explains: “With extremely tight deadlines and challenges that included a large pillar being placed in the middle of the allocated stand, the Javett-UP approached Flow Communications for assistance with conceptualising and realising the look and feel of the stand.

“[Working closely with Javett-UP staff], the Flow team designed customised banners, and marketing and other printed material – and installed this all in under 48 hours. The stand drew much attention from visitors throughout the four days of the fair and successfully addressed the mandate to place the Javett-UP ‘on the map’,” he says.

As construction of the stand commenced, Flow painted its walls in one of the centre’s corporate colours and strategically placed the lighting to best showcase a small selection of artworks by Alexis Preller, Speelman Mahlangu, Gerard Sekoto, Lucky Sibiya and Louis Maqhubela.

The production and application of pillar vinyls, the design, production and application of a wall banner, and the setting out of art displays slowly breathed life into the Javett-UP’s stand.

With the new art centre physically taking shape on the University of Pretoria campus in Hatfield, the Joburg Art Fair provided an opportune platform to introduce the public to the model finally chosen from a number of design submissions to give life to what is being termed the “home of the art of Africa”.

Opting for a collage of artists’ impressions and actual construction images, we were able, in a creative manner, to show stand visitors how the building of the complex was progressing. A large matte pillar wrap was the vehicle chosen to turn “dead” space into a striking centrepiece that successfully piqued the interest of attendees at the fair.

With the opening of the Javett-UP in a matter of months, Flow is looking forward to driving the marketing and PR for this new cultural venue.

“We have hosted two media walk-throughs of the site, introducing journalists to what the centre will offer when it opens next year. We also have a netizen visit of the site planned for early 2019,” says Flow PR account director Allison MacDonald.

“Journalists are really interested in, and excited about, this new addition to the Pretoria arts and culture scene,” she adds.

One of the artworks on display at the art fair: Fields, Woman and Cows, by Gladys Mgudlandlu. (Image: Javett-UP)

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