Alabama Tourism Wins 3 National Awards for Year of Arts Campaign

Governor Bob Riley announced Wednesday that the Alabama Tourism Department has won the Travel Industry Association’s highest honor for its Year of Alabama Arts campaign as well as two other national competitions.  The state agency was presented with TIA’s “Discover America” marketing award and is featured in the November issue of National Geographic Traveler. The 2007 promotion also won the National Council of State Tourism Directors’ “Mercury” award for best state promotion and Travel Weekly’s “Magellan” award for promotion of culture and the arts in the U.S. and Canada.
“To win one top award is outstanding, but to win the best in three separate competitions must be unprecedented,” Governor Riley told tourism and arts representatives at a ceremony in the State Capitol. The purpose of the 15-month Year of Alabama Arts campaign was “to put a huge spotlight on the arts, everything from architecture to dance and in between,” state tourism director Lee Sentell said. “We had involvement from more than 60 communities which shows how important the arts are all over the state.”

Agency staff member Brian Jones created a 56-page brochure that
promoted exhibitions, festivals and landmarks in 64 towns and cities.
Four television commercials featuring the Alabama Symphony Orchestra,
Alabama Shakespeare Festival, arts festivals and Gee’s Bend quilts were
broadcast on Alabama Public Television, the Bravo network and Raycom
Media stations, Sentell said.
A website created by Luckie & Company, a Birmingham ad agency,
allowed individual artists to post profiles of themselves and works for
sale, he added. Sentell said the Alabama Folk Art Exhibition sponsored
with the Birmingham Museum of Art displayed works by some of the
state’s best-known “outsider” artists, including Lonnie Holley, Mose
Tolliver, Jimmie Lee Sudduth and Jerry Brown.
“We were grateful that local newspapers in Alabama supported the arts
campaign by focusing on hometown organizations, facilities and
artists,” Sentell said. Many local groups included the campaign’s
colorful quilt logo developed in association with the Alabama State
Council on the Arts. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Las Vegas and Florida
previously won the TIA “Discover America” award that is open to private
companies and public agencies.
This was the second time in three years that Alabama received the
“Mercury” award for best statewide promotion, winning earlier for the
Year of Alabama Food. The tourism agency also received the Southeast
Tourism Society’s top organization award for the arts promotion, the
third time in four years to win.

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