If you’re as much of a Peanuts fan as I am, you’ll surely want to know that the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California, is offering free character drawing lessons on their Facebook page. That’s where I spotted the announcement of another activity, a special occasion LIVE ONLINE: How to Draw Snoopy educational Zoom webinar for Snoopy’s birthday.
So, I booked my $15 ticket, grabbed a pencil and paper, and spent 45 minutes with a museum historian and artist who guided us in the steps to draw Snoopy through the years – 1950s Snoopy, ‘60/’70s Vintage Snoopy, and ‘80s/’90s Classic Snoopy. It was a little like watching Snoopy grow up. My Devine + Partners colleagues were so intrigued, they had me teach them to draw Snoopy, too, at one of our Friday lunchtime Zoom check-ins. If you need a creative break yourself, the museum offers a “HOW TO DRAW SNOOPY” step-by-step illustration on its website.
The D+P team seemed happy to also hear about another Zoom experience I joined – a conversation with Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, about their Tuscan wine estate, Il Palagio. Though I’ve had opportunities to see Sting perform live in Philadelphia, including my favorite – his show with Shaggy at the Filmore where we were about 10 feet from the stage – listening in on a Zoom chat was a new experience. Sting talked from his music studio at Il Palagio, which sits above the wine cellar.
Trudie, who was Zooming from England, talked about how they cultivated the vineyard over the past two decades. A farmer’s daughter, she shared the importance of teaching kids about the value of the soil. Much more than a wine tasting, the 30-minute chat, hosted by wine.com, was a bit like traveling. I’ve visited Tuscany, so I enjoyed seeing pictures of the property, which also includes olive groves and a garden. You can access the recording on YouTube.
With us spending more time at home during the pandemic, and some museums still closed and concerts canceled or postponed, brands, bands, and beloved cartoons are finding clever ways to stay connected with audiences and fans by using technology for creative and innovative storytelling. Both the Snoopy and Sting events made great memories, something that builds and enhances relationships. As a result, I’m now an even more engaged – and educated – consumer and one who is likely to share the stories and promote the positive experiences. (FYI – The Schulz Museum has two more live-drawing demonstrations before the end of the year.) I‘m also now on the mailing/emailing lists, so the museum and Il Palagio/wine.com can reach me again to offer me other experiences and ways to engage with them, or share more stories.
Closer to home, I’m proud of the programs our own clients have created these last several months, transitioning some activities, events and experiences, and envisioning new ones, and I’m grateful that we have the opportunity to tell their stories. In some cases, their adaptations have resulted in larger audiences, too.
D+P’s client Woods Services, a nonprofit that serves children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is featuring online storytelling with resident Adam Greene. Prior to the pandemic, Adam read children’s books to students at Woods’ schools and at the local Barnes & Noble. Woods came up with a way for him to continue the activity online, and on June 3, he started posting short videos for families, friends, and followers on their Facebook page. Combined, his 11 book and poem readings have been viewed more than 7,000 times.
The Cooper Union’s Concert for Cooper benefit, held online on August 12, supported the educational institution’s commitment to return to free tuition for all undergraduates. The virtual event exceeded donation expectations.
The Mann moved its annual Party in the Park, which supports its education and community engagement programs, to a live-stream broadcast. The September 21 fundraiser featured Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim and Adam Weiner of Low Cut Connie providing music from their living rooms. The event, which typically attracts 500-800 people, reached 3,500 in this new format.
Perhaps you’ve also enjoyed observing the creative ways organizations and individuals have adapted and are now sharing their content in new ways. There are many examples, and it’s nice to catalog a few. What’s interesting about The Cooper Union event is that it wasn’t just about raising funds. It also told the school’s history of civic engagement and innovation. In addition to live music, The Mann’s Party in the Park also shared past Mann Stage performance highlights. The Woods readings are giving a glimpse of the work Woods does in occupational therapy and how Woods connects with the community.
Just as talking about wine with Sting and Trudie isn’t just about selling wine, and encouraging people to grab pencils and draw a favorite Peanuts’ character isn’t just about earning income while the museum remains closed, the activities from Woods Services, The Mann, and The Cooper Union are doing more than generating views and raising funds. They’re telling stories, and that’s the best content of all.