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How a Harvard-funded project is supporting local artists, one poster at a time

Art in Print newspaper poster project in Boston. Developed by Isenberg Projects.

Art in Print is a Boston-based public art initiative led by creative agency Isenberg Projects. Since 2018, they’ve worked with over 100 local artists to produce limited-edition posters, printed on our digital broadsheets and distributed through repurposed newspaper dispensers.

"We designed Art in Print to reimagine how a community could engage with public art," says senior design director Madeline Jacobsen. "Putting a quarter in the slot to buy a newspaper may seem like a lost ritual, but now, it’s a way to collect new art!"

Nearly 7,000 posters have been collected from the dispensers – with more volumes on the way. Here's how they made it happen:

The idea

Isenberg Projects needed a way to share affordable local art while building an inclusive community programme. Previously they’d led public art workshops and painted murals, but these required past experience and a much larger commitment. And while these initiatives were well-received by the community, it was difficult to evaluate or measure their success.

Art in Print newspaper poster project in Boston. Developed by Isenberg Projects.

What they did

In October 2018, they launched Art in Print with funding from Harvard University. Throughout the year, Isenberg Projects commissions local artists to produce limited-edition posters — each volume features 10 different designs and they're distributed in newspaper dispensers along a 1-mile stretch in Boston’s Allston neighbourhood.

"We’ve been tagged in hundreds of posts showing where people end up hanging their newsprints!"

“The Art in Print program has a very low barrier to entry by design,” says Madeline. “We’re able to open up the opportunity to a wide range of creatives from different backgrounds. For some of these artists, it’s the first time they have seen their work in print.”

Art in Print newspaper poster project in Boston. Developed by Isenberg Projects.

It’s easier to measure their success, too: when they collect quarters from the newspaper dispensers twice a week, they can see how many people bought a poster and when. This allows them to identify which parts of the route receive the most visitors, and where they could be doing more to drive foot traffic to local businesses.

“We can also measure engagement through digital interactions,” says Madeline. “We’ve been tagged in hundreds of posts showing where people end up hanging their newsprints!”

Art in Print newspaper poster project in Boston. Developed by Isenberg Projects.

The results

Today Isenberg Projects has distributed nearly 7,000 newsprint posters. “This program has allowed us to work with and pay over 100 Boston artists,” says Madeline. "We often hear that this program makes artists think differently about presenting their work, by going beyond the white cube of a gallery."

"The high-quality and affordable printing from Newspaper Club is unbeatable. And I've never worked with a nicer group of people in all my years of designing!"

Madeline adds that they “get inquiries from artists all of the time who want to be involved in the next volume.” Through Art in Print, they’ve been able to “meet new people in the creative community and start working relationships. We wouldn’t have been able to build a program like this without Newspaper Club.”


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