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Tiny billboards promote tiny art show in Halifax

Due to the ongoing pandemic the number of in-person visits at the Argyle Fine Art Gallery has been less than in previous years, but the small show goes on. Argyle Fine Art Gallery

An art gallery is hoping to draw Haligonians into its annual tiny art show with a new strategy: tiny billboards.

The Argyle Fine Art gallery, located on Barrington Street, launched its 2021 Pre-Shrunk Art Show on Jan. 29, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, visitation has been down.

“During the pandemic, there’s been a lot of ups and downs,” says Adriana Afford, owner of Argyle Fine Art.

She says visitation at the gallery has depended on case numbers on Halifax, but generally has reduced this year compared to previous years.

However, Afford says the gallery has had an opportunity to reach a wider audience online.

Click to play video 'Celebrating the Art of “Small”' Celebrating the Art of “Small”
Celebrating the Art of “Small” – Jan 27, 2021

The Pre-Shrunk Art Show is one of the Argyle’s most popular events. In a normal year, the gallery would see a line of visitors waiting to get in nearly every night of the show.

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“This year, more and more people are experiencing to show from the comforts of their home,” Afford said.

By partnering with local marketing agency Wunder for the tiny campaign, Afford hopes to see more support for the artists in the Pre-Shrunk show.

Submitted by Wunder. Submitted by Wunder

This is the 17th year of the show, and it now features over 300 art pieces — all four by five inches small. Each piece sells for $175, no matter who the artist is.

“It’s a way for people to start owning and appreciating original artwork from artists all across Canada.”

This year the gallery’s jury looked through more than 900 tiny art pieces and selected 317 to showcase.

“What we have found this year was, it was a lot of wildlife. I think it has a lot to do with people maybe being outdoors during the pandemic a lot more,” Afford said.

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“We have a lot of frogs, fish, tons of birds; it could almost be called the bird show.”

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Now, that tiny art has tiny ads to go with it.

On Tuesday, the gallery and Wunder placed dozens of tiny billboards and posters in downtown Halifax to attract visitors.

“It’s a playful campaign… but it’s also a way to remind people that we’re here and that they can come in,” said Afford.

Submitted by Wunder. Submitted by Wunder
Submitted by Wunder. Submitted by Wunder

“Although it does work fairly well in an online platform,” Afford said, “I don’t think there’s too many people would disagree that seeing art in person — there’s nothing better than that.

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“(If) they see these fun little teeny tiny billboards and posters and everything, it might intrigue them and they might be more inclined to come in.”

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For those who are not comfortable going in just yet, the Pre-Shrunk Art Show can be viewed virtually here, or in VR here.

The Pre-Shrunk Art Show is on until Feb. 20.