Going Virtual Celebrating the Arts

‘Art and Innovation’  Continues in Emeryville, CA


With a large number of residents who are artists, the City of Emeryville thrives on its motto of ‘Art and Innovation.’ To highlight the work of local artists, the Celebration of the Arts committee hosts the annual Emery Arts Festival – a 4-week long festival focused on the traditional visual arts of painting and sculpture and, more recently, incorporating other art forms such as poetry and dance. This 34-year old festival has created a legacy of bringing together artists and the larger Emeryville community to celebrate.

In the pre-COVID world, the committee – in collaboration with the City of Emeryville – would select a building that served as their gallery for the exhibition. The exhibition was inaugurated with an opening night party attended by the artists and the community. However, since the pandemic put a pause on normal life, the Emery Arts Festival faced the question of how (if at all) to host the 2020 version of Celebration of the Arts.


The USDR team was brought in to conceptualize what a digital exhibition could look like and then support the event by migrating an in-person experience to a digital experience. Emeryville wanted the digital event to continue its 34-year-old tradition and attract a minimum of 150 attendees, raise $2,000 in donations, and establish an ongoing social media footprint.

The USDR Team

Alex Allain

Account Manager

Prince Boucher

Project Lead

Vaissnavi Shukl

Project Lead

The Work

The USDR team, collaborating with Emeryville Celebration of the Arts personnel, kicked off the project by co-creating an omnichannel strategy to run a virtual EmeryArts2020. The aim was to launch a sustainable platform to successfully run the event this year and in future years.

The USDR team assessed both the existing and proposed platforms. They created the strategy for a new website, with an online storefront, and recommended analytics for site optimization. Workflows were simplified. The existing website was migrated along with the backed integration of previous versions. The launch of Facebook and Instagram accounts enhanced Emery Arts’ social media presence. And digital communication improved with the set-up and integration of Eventbrite and Mailchimp.

Practices Used

  • Digital and content strategy
  • User experience design
  • Social media strategy
  • Online event management
  • Systems integration

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