In our hometown of Seattle and in cities across the country, the Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the appearance of our urban streets. Restaurants, stores, parking garages and office buildings, many still closed or largely empty are a hollow contrast to the energy and vibrance that used to be. This period of isolation and global unrest has shifted our thinking about what we feel is certain or uncertain in our lives, our communities, and the world.
Our client Facebook recently approached us with an unexpected opportunity to help make our city streets more beautiful and meaningful during this strange and challenging time.
While we are all familiar with Facebook as the leader in social networking, Facebook’s AIR (Artist in Residence) program is a well-kept secret.
In response to the Covid-19 crisis and to mark the 10-year anniversary of Facebook in Seattle, Facebook AIR commissioned 10 local artists to design large format visual art messages to the city. Each artist created new work, presented as installations on the street that “wrap” unoccupied buildings, turning dark, boarded up structures into sources of visual and social inspiration.
You can learn more about Facebook’s AIR program and see examples of the artists’ work in this video:
To support this program, Facebook AIR approached us with a multi-faceted challenge: a) print the artwork on a grand scale large enough to wrap entire buildings b) print on a substrate that will make outdoor installation on buildings fast and efficient c) produce the finished, ready to install product quickly and ship it to the cities where the art will appear d) produce the finished product cost effectively.
Our team quickly got to work and developed a solution. AlphaGraphics Seattle offers extensive expertise and capabilities in grand format printing. We have created large environmental graphics for many clients in the past and we were excited to apply our skills to public art. Using a unique new thin wheat paper, the artwork can be printed cost effectively and installed on building surfaces quickly and easily.
Upon receiving art files from Facebook AIR, we print and finish these oversized works of art on extremely fast turnaround, packing them and shipping them to their destinations by the next afternoon. They arrive in the hands of the artists and installers ready to transform unoccupied buildings.
In the normal course of business, our grand format work is about amplifying a client’s brand message. In these uncertain and far from normal times, we are proud to amplify these artists’ messages of inspiration and social change, making our cities more beautiful.