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Evolving Tech to Aid Evolving Art

Feature Article | August 25, 2016 by Cindy McKendry

The Pentimenti Gallery stays ahead of change with SAP Digital Consumer Insight.

As one of the oldest cities in the U.S., just 30 minutes from SAP’s North America headquarters in Newtown Square, Philadelphia boasts both gorgeous historical buildings and captivating public art at every turn. Its best-known landmarks – Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the house where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence – are at the heart of the Old City cultural district, called “America’s most historic square mile.” Old City is home to some of the oldest buildings, roads, and churches in the nation. It’s also home to a thriving modern-arts scene, with more than 50 independent galleries and showrooms that spotlight artists that are world-renowned, up-and-coming, contemporary and in many cases, local to Philadelphia. Among these is Pentimenti Gallery, often cited as one of the top galleries in the city.

Pentimenti Gallery, which opened in 1992 and is housed in industrial space, features content-driven contemporary art that challenges traditional materials and aesthetics by both well-respected international artists and emerging talent. Christine Pfister, gallery curator and owner, works directly with her artists in coordinating seven to nine exhibitions in the gallery each year, many of which have garnered critical attention from publications, including Art in AmericaThe Art EconomistHuffington PostNew York PostUSA Today, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Throughout its time in Old City, Pentimenti Gallery has seen substantial change in the neighborhood. In the 1970s, this former industrial hub began to give way to spacious lofts, and warehouses were transformed into artists’ studios and galleries. The pace of change has intensified in the last 15 years. According to census data, Old City experienced over 44% growth between 2000 and 2010 – the highest growth among Center City neighborhoods in Philly.

Keeping up with Change

“The city of Philadelphia is experiencing a renaissance, and it’s happening all over the city,” said Christine. “We are seeing a wave of people moving back to the city core, opting to live here instead of the suburbs. On my block alone, over 200 condos have been built just this year. Those moving to Old City include a large group of young people – either single or double income. Then there are empty nesters returning to the city. It’s fascinating. We’d like to find out what the impact is on our gallery.”

Since 2001, Christine has kept a manual log of visitors to the gallery every Saturday, using pencil and paper.

“As a gallery owner, I’m not only an art dealer,” added Christine. “I do get the artwork from my artists and I sell it. The work I do is vital to the relationship with the artists – but it extends beyond the gallery. I promote every artist I represent every single day. From the data I receive from SAP Digital Consumer Insight, I hope to make better business decisions overall, for my artists and for collectors, too.”

Christine wants to know what’s going on in her city and how can she better serve her community, her artists, and her collectors. Understanding the changes in demographics will help her to keep her gallery up-to-date, fresh and relevant.

Pentimenti-Gallery_1

 

Insights Provided – with SAP Digital Consumer Insight

Pentimenti Gallery has three distinct target markets: first, the local market, then the national market, and followed by the international market. The data received from SAP Digital Consumer Insight will mainly be used for gathering insights into the local market. To get a pulse on who is visiting the gallery, the busiest times of day for visitors, and where people are coming from, we ran a few reports using SAP Digital Consumer Insight for not only Pentimenti Gallery, but two other galleries nearby: Gallery #2 two blocks away, and Gallery #3 a mile away. These galleries offer a similar quality-level of work as Pentimenti.

“Of course every gallery is unique, because every artist represented has a unique way of creating and working,” said Christine. “There are 10 leading galleries in my neighborhood that collectors follow and pay attention to. The two I chose to compare against aren’t really competitors. Not unless a collector is looking to buy something here or there, because they like the work of both artists.”

When reviewing data of those in the areas of all three galleries, the most prominent age groups are in the 25-34 age range (39%), followed by 35-44 (19%), then 45-54 (17%) – a much younger demographic than previously thought. And one that Pentimenti Gallery should consider strongly when planning marketing promotions and campaigns.

Pentimenti-Gallery_2

The busiest times of day for foot traffic around the galleries are during the workweek, from 6 am to 6 pm, with the peak at 11:30 am. On Saturdays, foot traffic begins later, around 10:30 am, peaking at noon, and then dropping at 5 pm.

Pentimenti-Gallery_3

The data shows that Gallery #3 has much more foot traffic than the two other galleries. It peaks at close to 11,000 people at 11 am during the week. In comparison, Pentimenti peaks at 11:30 am with 8,000 people, and Gallery #2 peaks at 11:15 am with just over 7,000 visitors.

Where are people in the area coming from? Pentimenti Gallery and Gallery #2 attract visitors from similar zip codes: Richmond (19134) and Frankford (19124). Gallery #3’s visitors are from closely located but different neighborhoods: Pennsport (19148) and Kingsessing (19143).

Pentimenti-Gallery_4

Armed with this new information, Christine can use it to help answer questions such as:

  • Is Pentimenti Gallery located in the right place? Given the larger numbers of people around Gallery #3, it might make sense to reassess Pentimenti Gallery’s location.
  • Are the 7-9 exhibitions hosted by Pentimenti Gallery each year scheduled at the right times? Are they offering the right artwork for those coming to the gallery?
  • How can Pentimenti improve its marketing, in terms of the demographics of people visiting the gallery vs. the others? As those visiting are in a much younger demographic than thought, Pentimenti can use it to better tailor its marketing efforts.
  • And knowing where visitors are coming from – to visit all three galleries – Pentimenti can target campaigns to those specific zip codes.

“The data from SAP Digital Consumer Insight is already helping us to better understand the changing neighborhood landscape. I had a feeling the demographics were changing, but now it’s been validated by the data provided. We now see that the largest age group in the area is a youthful one: 39% are in the 25-34 age group. I can already see how we can use this knowledge to adjust our planning, messaging and audience targeting. These insights will allow us to evolve from the manual processes of the past to remain fresh and relevant – for our local community and our artists.”

For more about SAP Digital Consumer Insight, visit SAPStore.com.

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