Each October, Hickok Cole transforms its 4-floor (24,000 SF) Georgetown, DC offices into a huge art gallery to produce Art Night—HCA’s 15th annual social marketing event where the proceeds from the sale of artwork are split between the nonprofit organization Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) and local, participating artists. HCA absorbs all costs. To control the size of the event, there is no preannouncement of the show. Despite these measures, Art Night has become the major word of mouth go-to event in a region where people have become jaded about charity fund-raisers. At Hickok Cole, a packed house is normal. Still, the event depends on the marketing department’s creative invites to draw buyers.
The firm created a sponsorship program that stood out from the crowd. Hickok Cole, began calling potential Art Angels six months in advance to strongly suggest they consider adding an Art Angel sponsorship to their annual strategic plan. To be qualified, each sponsor must commit $2,200 towards the purchase of art at Art Night. We challenged Hickok Cole employees to capture new angels and to develop a friendly rivalry between sub-consultants.The popularity of the sponsorship program developed a reputation in the local community—firms began calling Hickok Cole, unsolicited, to inquire about the sponsorships. Prominent Art Angel sponsors included Interior Design magazine, Multi-Housing News, Herman Miller, and Clark Construction. 2015 continued a new trend of Art Angel sponsors in the form of individuals who wanted to have first pick of the art featured during the show.