College of Fine Arts: Swamp Symphony

Print, Social Media

Client College of Fine Arts, Creative Services, Print, University Relations
Date April 10, 2013

In 2011, the UF College of Fine Arts introduced Swamp Symphony, in partnership with UF Homecoming and Florida Blue Key, to the University of Florida.

The concept was to create a collective fine arts performance program that deviated from typical concert venues on campus, and engaged students by intersecting with their campus interests and activities—in this case, the roster of annual Homecoming activities.  Furthermore, the project aimed to build relationships with campus partners and student organizations and establish Swamp Symphony, and the College of Fine Arts, as a tradition on campus worthy of support and attendance, canonized on the bucket lists and ritual behavior of Gators for years to come.

The founder and project director, Andy Howard (then, Marketing and Alumni Affairs for the college) approached Jim Harrison of the Office of University Relations with the charge of creating marketing materials that were executed during the event’s first year, to evoke emotional response as if Swamp Symphony were already a long-standing UF tradition.  The marketing concept was informed by principals of “fabricating authenticity” used in the early production of Bluegrass and Country music.

Homecoming celebrations at UF typically fall in October or early November which also created an opportunity to partner with National Arts and Humanities Month (October), organized on the national level by Americans for the Arts and endorsed via proclamation annually by the President of the United States.  In 2011 and 2012, Swamp Symphony was programmed as the closing and cumulating event for campus observations of NAHM, including concerts, performances, gallery exhibitions, open house events and campus installations including Blue Trees by Konstantin Dimopoulos.

Florida Blue Key was also invited to use Swamp Symphony as a venue to combine multiple Homecoming programming efforts, previously sprawling and serving small, disparate audiences.  In 2012, Education Celebration was added giving a platform for academic support awards given to faculty by Provost.  In 2013, the event is expected to join also with Homecoming’s carnival (previously Kids’ Day) programming for families.

Admin
Andy Howard, Marketing and Alumni Affairs, College of Fine Arts
Garrick Harding, Homecoming General Chair 2011
Hannah Swerdloff, Homecoming General Chair 2012
Jonathan Schonfeld, Event Director (Homecoming) 2011
Michael Levy, Event Director (Homecoming) 2012
College of Fine Arts Student Development Program Interns

Creative
Andy Howard, (Project Director) Marketing and Alumni Affairs, College of Fine Arts
Jim Harrison, Director of Creative Services, University Relations
Holly Franklin, Graphic Designer/Ad Layout, College of Fine Arts and University Relations
Eric Zamora, Photographer, University Relations
College of Fine Arts staff and intern team, Social Media and Public Relations

Production
Raymond Chobaz and the UF Symphony Orchestra
Scott Wilson and the UF Jazz Band
Kenneth Broadway and the Sunshine Steelers
Mihoko Tsutsumi and the Men’s Glee Club
Tony Offerle and the UF Opera Theatre
Will Kessling and the UF Concert Choir
UF Dance Area (School of Theatre + Dance)
University Gospel Choir
Pazeni Sauti Africa Choir
Agbedidi African Drum and Dance Ensemble
Alumnus Don Devito and the Sydney Lanier School music program
Jeff Chenery and the O’Connell Center Staff
Everyman Sound
Terry Moo Audio Recording

Partnerships
Visit Gainesville (funded in 2012 by a tourism marketing grant)
UF Homecoming and Florida Blue Key (including the Homecoming Community Advisory Board)
Student Affairs (advisors for UF Homecoming)
UF Alumni Association (awards presented in 2011 by Danita Nias)
UF Creative Campus Committee and Creative Campus partners (including UF Performing Arts, Harn Museum of Art, Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, Housing, CLAS, UF Honors Program, etc.)
Academic Affairs and the Office of the Provost (funding and programming support)
Americans for the Arts and National Arts and Humanities Month
WRUF

Strategic planning spearheaded by College of Fine Arts between Homecoming and other partners

Creation of visual campaign, by UF Relations, to execute emotional response and “buy in”

Coordination with media partners and campus communications channels

Sponsorship and advertising package from GTN

Development of student involvement and student (volunteer) staff for engagement and productivity

Out of county marketing supported by Visit Gainesville funding in 2012

Engagement of campus partners in programming for NAHM month and also Swamp Symphony event programming (e.g., Education Celebration and Alumni Awards brought Academic Affairs and Alumni Affairs to the concert, respectively)

Ongoing meetings about smart growth and strategic planning for Swamp Symphony’s future events

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