Case Study: Artopia 2015

Case Study: Artopia 2015

Big Bend Cares, the region’s only dedicated provider of HIV/AIDS services, relies upon money from fund raising to cover client needs that can’t be paid for using restricted grant funding. The Artopia Art Auction, the agency’s largest annual fundraiser, is critical to fulfilling the agency’s mission to provide compassionate care to people infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. While the auction has traditionally done well, Big Bend Cares’ new Deputy Executive Director enlisted the help of 7Hills Communications to take the event to the next level.


Artopia Print Campaign
7Hills devised a comprehensive marketing plan to raise the event’s profile in the community and to attract an audience that had never before attended the festivities. Our plan included the following:

  • Development of unique event branding that positioned Artopia as a stand-alone event yet retained Big Bend Cares’ overall identity.
  • Comprehensive collateral, including save-the-date cards for direct mail, posters, fliers, print ads for various publications, web graphics, event tickets, a sponsor packet and an artist donation packet, all of which had a common look and feel designed to position the event as a highly credible “society event” not to be missed.
  • A comprehensive media relations campaign to generate pre- and post-event coverage, designed not only to promote the current year’s event, but also to set the stage for a more successful event in 2016. The campaign included news releases, a media packet, submission of pre-written articles and photographs and media pitching.
  • Co-promotion of Big Bend Cares’ new primary care facility slated for completion in 2017.
  • Administration and management of an online ticket purchasing system.
  • Creation and updating of web content supporting the event, including information for sponsors, contributing artists, promotional graphics and partner-recognition copy.
  • Creation and maintenance of an online Artopia Art Gallery displaying art to be auctioned.
  • High-quality photography of donated art. The photographs were used to populate the gallery, with updates occurring over several weeks prior to the event. Photographs also were used in the news media.
  • A “Featured Artist Series” video project, profiling some of the finest of the donating artists. These popular videos were featured on the Big Bend Cares website, Facebook and YouTube. The series can be viewed here.
  • A sponsor recruiting video for use in generating additional large sponsorships.
  • Design and production of a first-rate, 40-page program/catalog for the auction.
  • On-site management of news media in attendance, including television, print and radio.


The success of this program speaks for itself.

According to Big Bend Cares, Artopia 2015 surpassed every metric used to quantify the event’s success.
Artopia Web Promotion
In 2015, the 17th annual Artopia Art Auction:

  • Raised more than $75,000, an increase of 23 percent over the previous year and an all-time record.
  • Generated record attendance, nearly filling the Leon County Civic Center conference facilities to capacity.
  • Sold more art than any other previous event.
  • Set a record for most money spent on a sole piece of art: $1,500.
  • Netted more than $15,000 in the live auction alone.
  • Recruited a record number of sponsors, especially corporate sponsors that donated large amounts of money in support of the event.
  • Generated the most media coverage in the history of the event, including all local television stations, the Tallahassee Democrat, The Chronicle, Limelight and NPR.
  • 7Hills’ reasonable pricing helped Big Bend Cares maintain a very low expense-to-net-proceeds ratio.

John L Horne is the Creative Director of 7Hills Communications. When he’s not driving his Wacom, he drinks quite a bit of coffee and plays drums.