Posts Tagged ‘Houston Events’

Bayou City Art Festival – Memorial Park and Susan Farb Public Relations

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

The fine, juried Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park consistently ranks among the top art festivals in the U.S. in such well-regarded national art magazines as AmericanStyle (#3 art festival in U.S., 2009) and Sunshine Artist (‘Top 50 Art Festivals & Fairs,’ 2008). The objective of the media relations campaign was to heighten the awareness of this top national ranking and build upon it to attract new audiences within the Houston metropolitan area and regional markets.  The goal was to focus publicity on the high quality of art exhibited at the Festival in order to attract new serious art buyers and collectors and increase ticket sales. The plan incorporated:

  • Traditional print and electronic media
  • 2.0 social media
  • Local awards recognition as an additional publicity vehicle

Tantamount to the campaign’s success was communicating the message that Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park was an award-winning, fine juried art festival that showcased art gallery-level quality works. The editorial tag, “Houston’s one-of-a-kind outdoor gallery,” expressed the exceptional quality of art shown:  fine gallery-quality artists and artwork in a family-friendly park setting

To help build top-of-mind awareness of the high quality of Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park, the Festival, with the support of Susan Farb Public Relations, pursued and achieved three major media-sponsored “Best” awards:  “Best Festival in Houston” from Houston Press “Best of Houston,” “#3 Festival in the U.S.” as voted by AmericanStyle Magazine readers and KPRC-TV “Best of Houston” contest’s “Best Gallery in Houston.”  These quantifiable awards were added to publicity, as well as the website, e-blasts and advertising.   In addition, Susan Farb Public Relations’ Susan Farb Morris nominated Kim Stoilis, executive director of the Art Colony Association, presenter of the Festival, for the Houston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40 Award” for the city’s top young entrepreneurs, an award which she won with great pride.

The agency’s media relations effort, through news releases, real and virtual media kit deliveries and online postings, garnered local, regional, and national editorial coverage in print, on TV and radio, as well as international visibility through news release postings directly onto the Internet and the integration of blogs, vlogs, Facebook and Twitter to create additional buzz.

Media Outreach – Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park pursued editorial coverage pre-, during and post-event.  The media outreach began with “Call for Entries” targeting professional artists to apply to the Festival and high school-age artists to its Emerging Artists Program, followed by news release distribution for calendar listings, featured artist announcement, travel and artist-oriented feature stories and entertainment stage listings.  The goal was to secure local, regional and national stories and interviews in newspapers, magazines, television, radio and online.  This year the Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park fully embraced 2.0 social media with targeted postings and updates on Facebook and Twitter, plus posting keyword-optimized news releases directly to the web to achieve Page One results on Google searches.  The three news releases posted to the Internet garnered 998,273 total impressions, 3,593 total views and 473 total e-mailed.  The overall advertising value of the entire media relations/outreach effort (print, electronic and online) totaled $364.577, with the publicity – third-party editorial – valued at more than $1.1 million.  Circulation/Impressions: 32,147,414.

Newspaper Highlights (includes four newspaper cover stories*)

Magazine Highlights

Television Highlights (includes three “live” shots on Opening Day, Fri., March 27)

  • Vigorously promoted on KTRK-TV (On-Air mentions and spot promos)
  • KPRC-TV Feature Interview – March 22, 2009
  • KTRK-TV 30-Minute Program – March 22, 2009
  • FOX 26 – Weathercast Shout-Out/ Weather Blog – March 22, 2009
  • KTRK-TV “Hometown Live” Feature Interview – March 24, 2009
  • FOX 26 – (6) “Live” News Segments from the Festival – March 27, 2009
  • FOX 26 “Live” Traffic Report from Bayou City Art Festival – March 29, 2008
  • KHOU-TV “Great Day Houston” – Two Segments – March 27, 2009
  • KPRC-TV – Feature Interview “Green” Artists  – March 27, 2009
  • KPRC-TV – Feature Interview “Emerging Artists” – March 28, 2009
  • KIAH39 TV – Weekend Coverage – March 28 and 29, 2009

Radio Highlights

  • KHMX MIX 96.5 “First Look Friday” On-Air Promotion and On-Air Personality Personal Appearance
  • KPFT Radio Promotional Spots for 90.1 KPFT Bike Depot
  • BizRadio public affairs interview with Art Colony Assn. Board Member M. Paulette

Online Highlights

Overall Effectiveness

The Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park 2009 media relations campaign was the most successful in its history in terms of the depth of coverage and reach, with 312 non-paid editorial placements. Highlights included a national wire story (travel), four local cover stories, 44 television placements and Page 1 optimization on Google searches on the Internet. There was extensive local coverage in monthly magazines, daily and weekly newspapers as well as select regional and national coverage.  Full-page feature stories graced arts-oriented and general interest publications. There was international print publicity thanks to a travel piece in the Miami Herald-International Edition and the optimization of news releases posted directly onto the web. The media relations program methodically incorporated online calendar/entertainment listings, website and e-zine listings, plus a wide variety of blogs, invitations and event updates placed via Facebook and Twitter.

Types of Mediums Used for Promotion

  • National art trade publications (i.e. Southwest Art magazine and
  • Wire service (Dallas Morning News Wire – National Travel Story)
  • Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau (info in their national promotional materials; art display in the downtown Houston Visitor Center; e-blast to 120,000 subscribers; website tout; and inclusion in “Spring ’09 Houston Highlights” news release to local, regional and national travel traditional and online media)
  • Local magazines (illustrated calendar listings and feature articles)
  • Newspaper (daily and weekly, including news, feature, entertainment and photo)
  • “Best of Houston” Award Recognition (Houston Press “Best Festival in Houston” and KPRC-TV “Best Gallery in Houston”)
  • E-blasts (includes Art Colony e-blast series, external e-blasts by Houston Airport System e-newsletter, GHCVB and a local 50,000-marketing e-blast)
  • Blogs (from art blogs to children’s activities blogs, MomBlogs, empty nester blogs, beer blogs, bike blogs, dog blogs and the like)
  • Online event calendar listings
  • TV Feature and News Reporters, News Desks and Meteorologists
  • Radio Public Service and News

Measurable Results (Indicating number of publications/cities states targeted) – The media relations campaign targeted approximately 277 outlets:  print, TV and radio in greater Houston; Texas (Dallas/San Antonio/Austin and regional publications; national art trade publications; and the Internet.  The program worked to maximize several editors to get the most “bang for the buck,” such as three stories in an issue of Greater Houston Weekly inserted in 30 Houston Community Newspapers in the Houston metro area (90 placements) and posting optimized news releases picked up by 39 news sites.

Houston Daily and Weekly Newspapers – 43 placements. This figure does not reflect that by virtue of pitching three different story angles to one paper, “Greater Houston Weekly,” three stories ran in a pull-out section distributed to 30 different HCN Newspapers for 90 placements.

Houston Monthlies – 24 placements, including four customized articles written and submitted by Susan Farb Public Relations.

Regional Media – March 1 Dallas Morning News travel story put out on DMN wire service and picked up by San Antonio Express-News, Miami Herald, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Free-Lance Star in Fredericksburg, VA, The Columbian in Vancouver, WA and Santa Fe New Mexican – another example of getting an exceptional return on one media source.

TV (Houston) -  44 TV placements, including feature interviews, news coverage and continuous weather mentions on five English-speaking stations.  One “live” weathercast from the Festival (CBS affiliate) was set, but cancelled due to rain. Three other “live” TV shots were done on Opening Day.

Online Media – Websites, e-zines/e-newsletters, online calendars and bloggers targeted. Above and beyond those, there were at least 39 additional .com sites that ran the news releases posted directly to the Internet and optimized for a Google search.

Challenges – With newspaper circulation and readership declining, the Festival made changes this year to complement traditional media with the optimization of news releases and posting them to the Internet for Page 1 Google search results. One release landed on 39 news sites, including UPI.comNews, WCBSTV.Com, San Francisco, and tourism, arts and entertainment sites.  The online releases made 998,273 impressions, secured 3,593 views and at least 473 were e-mailed to another party. 2.0 Social Media, i.e. Facebook and Twitter were new to the media relations mix, as were several hip, well-followed Houston blogs, e-zines and e-listings that brought out some serious art shoppers.

The use of the Internet and social media enhanced the on-line presence of the Festival in the eyes of the artists and prospective artists and Festivalgoers.  The ability to optimize the releases to the extent of generating close to one million impressions compares to publishing one’s own newspaper online.

Three Fathers’ Journeys: From Probation to Promise: ESCAPE Family Resource Center Helps “Dads Count”

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Houston – June 16, 2009. . . . ESCAPE Family Resource Center helps make a difference for Dads in their children’s lives by providing the parenting programs necessary to help prevent abusive relationships and build healthy families. This Father’s Day, three local graduates of ESCAPE’s “Dads Count” (or “Building Confident Families”) course share their personal journeys from fathers on probation to those with promising futures.

According to ESCAPE Family Resource Center CEO Lidya Osadchey, “We called the class ‘Dads Count’ to remind Dads that children count on their fathers to be there to guide and protect them.” “I’d like to help other men so they don’t get caught up in the system,” explains ESCAPE “Dads Count” graduate Robert Robertson. He, Derwin P. Williams and Glenn Robinson, dealt with the emotional and financial ravages of divorce in ways that directly impacted their children, including being delinquent in their child support payments. Referred by the Domestic Relations Office to take ESCAPE’s “Dads Count” class, each enrolled in the class begrudgingly and only because of the mandate. However, by the end of the eight-week, interactive course, each had attained a new perspective on how to co-parent their children with the mother (some were never married to their children’s mom) to the betterment of the son or daughter’s development and everyone involved.  Here are their stories:

Robert Robertson and his wife had been in the nightclub and restaurant business as partners. When their marriage broke up, Robert claimed his wife took child support payments out of the business for their daughter, who was 9 or 10 at the time. Not only had his relationship soured with his wife, he says his ex was putting their daughter in the middle, making her “pick sides.” Robertson bought things for his daughter, but the court viewed those as “gifts,” not child support. Before he knew it, he got a court summons and was jailed for contempt of court.  He was, in his words, “forced” to take the “Dads Count” class. He admits now that he had an “awesome instructor” who made sure everyone (20 Dads) participated in class to release whatever frustrations they were feeling. “We all had a common thread — all of us love our children and wanted to be good Dads, but couldn’t deal with the pressures of relationships gone bad.” Robertson’s daughter graduates this year from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in broadcast journalism. For the first time in years, he gave his ex-wife a Mother’s Day gift, including a card and an orchid, to tell her what a great job she did as a Mom.

When Derwin P. Williams and his common-law wife split up in 2008 after eight or more rocky years, she took their son, age 5, and her two sons (ages 10 and 12) from a previous relationship with her. In July the children were going to a pool party with their mother, aunts, uncles and cousins. The youngest cousin, age 4, was left in the car and died of heat exhaustion. CPS took all the children away from the mothers. Williams, whose son is currently living with his paternal grandmother, took ESCAPE’s “Building Confident Families” class because it was something he needed to do to get his sons back. “I don’t think I’m a bad parent, but if you want to show me how to be a better parent, show me. I’m willing to learn,” he said.  “Going to the ESCAPE class, I gained a better understanding of myself and how to help my son become a better person,” said Williams. His birth son, 6, recently finished Kindergarten and made honor roll. Williams has another court hearing coming up; his best Father’s Day gift ever would be to get custody of his son and be able to adopt his two stepsons.

Glenn Robinson has a make-up class to do before he earns his “Dads Count” graduation certificate. Self-described as a “nice guy who has a good relationship with his kids,” Robinson got behind in his child support payments after getting laid off from his job in 2007. Though he says he made partial payments, his common-law ex-wife took him to court and the judge ordered him to take the ESCAPE classes.  Like the other Dads, Robinson was not looking forward to spending his Sunday afternoons in a parenting class. However, he says after the first day, he had a different opinion. He told his new wife that he really had learned a lot about how he could help mold their children (and those from his previous relationship) and guide them. “This class opened my eyes a lot.  I keep up with my (child support) payments.  The class is about LOVE,” he says with joy, quoting ESCAPE’s catch phrase to “Listen with your heart” and learning to ask your children questions and really listen to what they are saying. “I wish I’d known then (as a younger Dad) what I know now,” Robinson said.  “I came to the class nonchalant, but I really learned a lot.”

“Dads Count” classes are held in a safe group environment with other fathers who are experiencing similar situations.  Sessions are led by master’s level facilitators who lead Dads through classes on managing stress and anger, creating positive co-parenting arrangements, identifying the feelings and needs of one’s children, and speaking and listening from the heart, among the lessons.

For those looking for a Father’s Day gift for the Dad who has everything, they may sponsor a Dad for an ESCAPE “Dads Count” parenting class for $135 in one’s father’s name.

ESCAPE Family Resource Center,, is committed to providing child abuse prevention programs, parenting classes, relevant information and tools to anyone who cares to positively shape the future of children.  Its mission is to give moms, dads and other caregivers the strength to open their hearts and minds to the light that loving parenting sheds on a child’s world.

For further information on ESCAPE, contact Myron Day,, 713-942-9500.

Art Colony Association Donates Record-Breaking $130,000 Back into Community; Recipients Include 16 Non-Profit Partners

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Houston – June 8, 2009. . . .Thanks to the 2009 Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park‘s record-breaking tickets sales and sponsorships, the Art Colony Association distributed $130,000 (the most ever from one Festival) to its 16 Non-profit Partner organizations, emerging artists program and the City of Houston and its parks department this spring. The appreciation payments were made at a Double Rewards reception hosted by the Art Colony Association and Capital One Bank at Capital One Bank Plaza.

“Our Non-Profit Partners provide the volunteers — more than 1,100 this spring — who help run the Festival, including the Capital One Bank Creative Zone,” said Joe Pogge, president of the Art Colony Association, the 501c (3) organization that produces the Bayou City Art Festival juried fine art events.  “We thank our Partners, our sponsors and the arts patrons who help us make this event one of the most prestigious art festivals in the country.” Spring 2009 attendance was 34,857 for the festival, ranked the #3 art festival in the U.S. by readers of AmericanStyle Magazine  earlier this year. The Art Colony Association now will surpass the $2.6 million mark in monies donated back into the community over the past 38 years, according to Kim Stoilis, executive director.

Art Colony Association donations to Non-profit Partners totals $62,000.  Recipients are:  Art League Houston; Bering Omega Community Services; City ArtWorks; Diverse-Works Art Space, Downtown YMCA; Houston Center for Contemporary Craft; Houston Center for Photography; Lawndale Art Center; MECA (Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts); Memorial Park Conservancy; Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Orange Show Center for Visionary Art; Several Dancers Core; Spay-Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP); Spark Parks; and Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts (TALA). Funds may be utilized to cover operating expenses or in the case of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, to help acquire decorative art pieces for the Museum’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts.

The City of Houston, Budweiser Select, Capital One Bank, Legacy at Memorial, Houston Parks & Recreation Department and KTRK-TV are Festival sponsors. The Festival is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. The 2009 Bayou City Art Festival Downtown will be held October 10-11 in and around Houston’s City Hall. For further information, visit or call (713) 521-0133.

Double Rewards: Eastwood Academy Charter School Receives Capital One Bank Mosaic Benches and $3,000 SPARK Park Donation

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Houston – June 5, 2009…. Earning double rewards has taken on an entirely new meaning at Eastwood Academy Charter School, where Capital One Bank recently donated two mosaic tile benches and SPARK School Park Program donated $3,000 to the exemplary high school’s proposed SPARK Park. The dual gifts came as a result of a Non-Profit Partnership forged four years ago between the Art Colony Association, producer of Houston’s Bayou City Art Festivals, and SPARK School Park Program.

“Capital One Bank considers financial support of local non-profit organizations, such as the Art Colony Association, an investment in the future of our city and its people. As our physical presence has grown in Houston, so has our role as a corporate citizen. Houston is a great place to live and do business, and Capital One Bank is proud to be a leading corporate citizen here,” said Capital One Bank-Houston President Annella Metoyer.

Eastwood Academy students have performed outstanding community service on behalf of SPARK at the Bayou City Art Festival’s Capital One Bank Creative Zone. It just made perfect sense for the two Art BaYOU! mosaic benches created at this spring’s Festival to be donated to their school, according to Art Colony Association Executive Director Kim Stoilis. For the past four years, Eastwood Academy students have provided the volunteer support required by the Art Colony Association for SPARK to be a Bayou City Art Festival Non-Profit Partner.

At a recent bench dedication ceremony at the school, SPARK Executive Director Kathleen Ownby also commended Eastwood Academy’s teen volunteers, 40 to 45 students per festival, and announced SPARK’s donation of their $3,000 check from Art Colony Association’s Non-Profit Partner distribution to be used toward the development of Eastwood Academy’s own SPARK Park. A $75,000 fundraising campaign is underway for the park, which is set to feature a running track. Once funded, the park will be completed in 12 to 18 months at the Houston Independent School District charter school, 1315 Dumble, East of downtown.

Bayou City Art Festival goers of all ages joined Houston artist GONZO247 and CKC StART Street & Urban Arts to make the pair of mosaic masterpieces at Art BaYOU!, a hands-on, collaborative public art project at the Festival. GONZO247 also teaches art classes at Eastwood Academy. His students have painted a mural on their school and have created art totems on campus. Ranked the #3 art festival in the country by the readers of AmericanStyle Magazine (Feb. ’09), Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park received two 2008 International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) Gold Pinnacle Awards and was named “Best Festival in Houston” by the 2008 Houston Press “Best of Houston” magazine.

Over the past 37 years, the Art Colony Association, the 501c(3) organization that produces the Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park and Bayou City Art Festival Downtown, has raised more than $2.5 million for local non-profit organizations. The SPARK School Park Program is a non-profit organization operating out of the City of Houston Mayor’s office. Developed in 1983 as a way to increase park space in Houston, SPARK was created by former City Council Member Eleanor Tinsley to develop public school grounds into neighborhood parks. An inter-local agreement (one of the first in Houston) between the city, the Houston Parks Board and the school district, formally established the SPARK program. SPARK combines the resources of the Department of Housing and Community Development, seven local school districts, Harris County, the private sector, neighborhood group, PTA/PTO groups and concerned citizens.

The City of Houston, Budweiser Select, Capital One Bank, Legacy at Memorial, Houston Parks & Recreation Department and KTRK-TV are the Festival sponsors. The Festival is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. For further information about Bayou City Art Festivals, check or call (713) 521-0133.

Two Local Families Touched by Autoimmune Disease That Causes Severe Hair Loss. Katy Residents Head Up “Tortoise & Hair” 5K & 1 Mile Run/Walk Benefiting National Alopecia Areata Foundation

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Katy, TX – June 2, 2009. . . .Two Katy families touched by an autoimmune disease that causes severe hair loss have teamed up to chair Houston’s first-ever “Tortoise & Hair” 5K & 1 Mile Run/Walk benefiting the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF.)  Set for Saturday, June 27, 8 a.m., for the one-mile walk and 8:30 a.m. for the 5K, the event will begin at Wortham Center’s Ray C. Fish Plaza, 500 Texas Avenue, downtown.

Alopecia areata is a poorly understood autoimmune disease that affects more than five million Americans with the severe loss of hair on one’s head, as well as facial and body hair,” said Beverly Tucker, event co-chair with her husband, Jonathan, and Jennifer and Jeff Magee. “It occurs in both sexes and all races and ages, but children are most commonly affected. Currently there is no cure,” Tucker explained. The Tucker’s 9-year-old son, Jonathan, Jr., was diagnosed with alopecia areata at age 7 and the Magee’s daughter, Elizabeth, 10, was diagnosed at age 4. Jonathan, Jr. and his father plan to run the 5K together. Younger brother, Christopher, 8, will walk the one-mile race with his grandfather, Dr. Garrett Tucker.

The “Tortoise & Hair” coincides with the 24th Annual National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) International Conference in Houston. Race proceeds will benefit the NAAF, a 501c(3) organization, to fund research to help find a cure or effective treatment for the unpredictable, emotionally disabling disease. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston serves as a national registry for alopecia areata patients in its support of research.“As parents, we find ourselves challenged daily with helping our children maintain their dignity and self-confidence,” explained Jeff Magee. While we cannot grow hair for Elizabeth or Jonathan, we can raise funds to foster research needed.”

The “Tortoise & Hair” is 100 percent produced by volunteers, noted Tucker, whose family lives in Firethorne, a 1,400-acre master designed community in Katy/Fulshear. Firethorne, and Infinity Investments are lead sponsors of “Tortoise & Hair.” To register for the “Tortoise & Hair,” visit and The pre-registration fee, $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, ($25 for Race Day registration), includes a T-shirt and post-race refreshments. There will be overall awards to the first male and female race winners and top three per age group, make and female. For off-line registration, checks should be made out to National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) and mailed with entry forms to: “Tortoise & Hair” ™, 1422 Three Forks Drive, Katy, TX  77450. For further information, contact or 281-395-9064.

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