Thursday, 23 April 2009

Thoughts from YSP #2: Cultural Service Stations?

YSP is two hours from London by train – not as far away from London or expensive as Germaine Greer claims. Wherever you wander in the park and nature reserve, you hear the roars of the M1. Junction 38 is five minutes away.

Four years ago, halfway to a campsite in North Wales, we found ourselves on the M6, needing a pee and petrol. 15 minutes later, we were at New Art Gallery Walsall, emptier than your average service station, with better coffee, views, and toilets. The petrol would have to wait.

Could we market a network of cultural service stations? Venues within a 15 minute drive from any Motorway junction, and happy to welcome tired travellers for short bursts? Could this be a way to attract new audiences, those the arts council's 'segmentation study' calls 'time-poor dreamers' or 'a quiet pint with the match'?

It would be an amusing step too far to ask these venues to provide petrol, but, given the tat in most venues' gift shops, how about branded travel sweets, tissues and maybe even the odd bit of chammy leather?

So, please give your ideas for for cultural service stations here – if enough emerge, I may be forced to do something with them…

I know nothing about arts marketing, but I know what I like. My favourite ever is Devon's Barometer World Museum - 'the hobby that got out of hand'. And the worst: 'Bradford: A surprising place'. Surprisingly what?

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