Huntsville Festival of the Arts

Organization size: Medium
Discipline: Multidisciplinary
Huntsville, Ontario (2011-12)

Nuit Blanche North celebrations boosted by local business partnership


Huntsville Festival of the Arts and The Nutty Chocolatier Partnership Summary

The Huntsville Festival of the Arts has become one of Canada’s most highly acclaimed arts festivals, having celebrated its 22nd season in 2014. Based in Huntsville, Ontario, the festival covers classical and contemporary music events, dance, theatre, literature, children’s cultural activities and public celebrations. The festival fosters a sense of ownership in the community and is considered an integral summer event in the area. For over two decades, The Nutty Chocolatier has been central Ontario’s finest purveyor of hand-crafted truffles and chocolate specialties. The Victorian-style shops offer an assortment of imported and domestic candies, chocolates, gifts and other treats.

When artsVest was announced in Huntsville, it gave the festival the opportunity to extend its Nuit Blanche North celebration from a one-evening event to an artistic celebration spanning several days. Seven local artists were paired with seven downtown businesses, one of which was The Nutty Chocolatier. Through these partnerships, the festival was able to extend the reach of the Nuit Blanche North evening through sponsors’ support and assistance in promotion of the event, and allow businesses, visitors and patrons to take part in its unique live artistic creation.


“We want this event to be artistically engaging and economically stimulating.”

- Rob Saunders, General Manager – Huntsville Festival of the Arts


Huntsville Festival of the Arts
huntsvillefestival.on.ca

The Huntsville Festival of the Arts has become one of Canada’s most highly acclaimed arts festivals, having celebrated its 22nd season in 2014. Based in Huntsville, Ontario, the festival covers classical and contemporary music events, dance, theatre, literature, children’s cultural activities and public celebrations. The festival fosters a sense of ownership in the community and is considered an integral summer event in the area.

The festival enhances the area’s cultural draw to both new visitors and residents through artistic activities such as Nuit Blanche North. It strives to not only enrich the local arts community but also to create economic benefits to surrounding businesses.

The Nutty Chocolatier
thenuttychocolatier.com

For over two decades, The Nutty Chocolatier has been central Ontario’s finest purveyor of hand- crafted truffles and chocolate specialties. The Victorian-style shops offer an assortment of imported and domestic candies, chocolates, gifts and other treats.

With support from artsVest, the festival was able to bring on many small local businesses like The Nutty Chocolatier that may not have had the sponsorship dollars to contribute. Together, these businesses and artists supported the festival in achieving a full-scale art presentation throughout the downtown for the Huntsville Festival of the Arts’ Nuit Blanche North event.

Using a process called Encaustics (painting with hot bees wax), artist Bruce Tyner created a piece inspired by the work of Tom Thomson using hot wax and melted chocolate. The finished piece was displayed in the Nutty Chocolatier’s front window and visitors were also able to work with Bruce to try out the process on their own business cards.


About the Partnership

In the past, Huntsville Festival of the Arts sponsorships had been directed to a limited number of local businesses with a minimum contribution of $1,000. With this support and a few funding programs, the festival and Edge of the Woods Theatre combined to present a successful Nuit Blanche North event, an annual, free one-night event that fills the streets of downtown Huntsville with art exhibits, performances and installations. The minimum $1,000 sponsorship amount was not easily attainable for smaller businesses, so the festival created support packages that ranged from $250 to $500 to bring in more participants and incorporate smaller local businesses. The festival also realized that while many small businesses could not offer large cash sponsorships, they were very willing to offer in-kind sponsorships such as their shops and supplies, window displays, materials, etc.

Seven local artists were paired with seven downtown businesses, one of which was The Nutty Chocolatier. Through these collaborations, the festival was able to extend the reach of the Nuit Blanche North evening, with the sponsors’ support and assistance in promotion of the event, and allow businesses, visitors and patrons to take part in its unique live artistic creation. These partnerships allowed for many successful art installations and exhibits that became the focal point of the businesses’ activities over the course of the week. The artists’ goal to create art for economic benefit combined with an increase in customer traffic for the business owner created a win-win opportunity for the festival and local businesses. Sponsorship dollars and in-kind support from the businesses, as well as matching funds from the artsVest program, were used to pay local artist fees and for marketing materials.

The Nutty Chocolatier contributed both cash and in-kind sponsorship that included the shop’s front window display and the use of their venue. Their most exciting contribution was in the form of products/materials. An artist created a piece of work live in-store for patrons, incorporating chocolate products during Huntsville Festival of the Arts’ Nuit Blanche North celebration.

The process itself became the event as visitors and patrons experienced the creation of these art installations while contributing to the economic well-being of the neighbourhood by shopping and visiting local businesses.

 


Benefits for The Nutty Chocolatier

Short-term

  • Visibility in the community as a supporter of an exciting community-wide event
  • Opportunity to sell special merchandise and do promos in-store for patrons who visited the store to see the art exhibit
  • Opportunity to bring customers in to experience their products during a high-traffic festival
  • Since the artist’s work reflected merchandise using chocolate and chocolate-based products in the design, the Nutty Chocolatier was able to show their product in a new and interesting light to patrons
  • Logo recognition on programs and on the website while also detailing the artist and exhibit with an ‘About Page’ connecting them to The Nutty Chocolatier

Long-term

  • Reputation as a business who supports the community through repeated sponsorship of the festival
  • Attracted new tourist customers who may not have walked through their door, who then may return to the shop on their next visit after their artistic experience, expanding their customer base and brand awareness

Benefits for the Huntsville Festival of the Arts

Short-Term

  • The Nutty Chocolatier contributed both cash and in-kind sponsorship in the form of the shop’s front window display, use of their venue and products/materials, striking rental space and materials off their bottom line.
  • artsVest dollars and new sponsorship dollars from business partners helped to pay for artist fees, supplies and marketing materials.

Long-term

  • Reached a broader audience through a lengthier festival, thanks to increase in financial support
  • More opportunities to involve local artists as more businesses got involved in partnerships
  • Increase in community involvement and support for the festival as a result of bringing on smaller local businesses
  • Through partnerships, the festival built a reputation as a deliverer of a large, unique and entertaining event, deepening Impact and growing audience.


“This proposal goes beyond the traditional sponsorship arrangements that focus on logo recognition and actually integrates businesses and their products into the event itself.”

- Rob Saunders


Benefits for the Community

The impact of the festival’s partnerships on the Huntsville community can be measured from both an economic and an educational perspective. The festival employs local musicians and reinvests money back into the community while visitors to the festival shop in local stores like The Nutty Chocolatier and stay in local resorts/hotels. A number of educational initiatives link the festival with the community’s youth and aspiring young musicians specifically through its extended artistic offerings and activities as well as year-round concerts.


Stewardship

The festival’s sponsorships integrate the business and the products into the festival and art projects, going beyond logo recognition. The unique partner engagements like the one between The Nutty Chocolatier and Nuit Blanche North garnered positive feedback from the businesses and visitors involved. This type of mutually beneficial partnership recognizes local business support and results in returned sponsorships year after year.