What Can Cotton Candy Teach Us About Sculpture?

Among the biggest questions I have when it comes to creating a presence for my organization on a social media platform are: 1- Is it worth/appropriate for our organization to present in this space and 2 – How do we participate without appearing to be a clueless, self-promoting business trying to sell something.

Seema Rao over at Museum 2.0 addresses these questions in a post she made last week about lessons learned during Akron Art Museum’s three month foray on to Tiktok.  Rao is the Deputy Director and Chief Experience Officer at Akron Art Museum.

Her advice basically not to approach TikTok with the intent of disseminating a planned calendar of information about your brand, goods and services.  Instead go in planning to have fun and follow cues about what other users are interested in.

As soon as I saw what she and her team had been doing on their TikTok account it was so obviously the way museums could talk about art while not talking about themselves I kicked myself for not thinking of it before. Many of their posts amplify the work of other content creators while pointing out the technique being employed.

Additive sculpture with cotton candy, for instance:


#duet with @feast24seven additive sculpture #arttiktok#arttok#museumtok#museumtiktok#edutok#learnontiktok

♬ The Simpsons – TV Hits

or use of lines:


#duet with @fridacashflow line #arttiktok#edutok#learnontiktok#museumtok#museumtiktok

♬ original sound – ourfriendsonfacebook

There is also a really relatable Art Appreciation for the Average Person series of posts:


#greenscreen #arthistory #artappreciation #eternals #contemporaryart #art #hats

♬ original sound – Akron Art Museum

Rao says their account is small in the context of all museum TikTok accounts, though two of their posts have been in the top 10 in terms of number of views of #museumtok posts. If you are considering starting an organizational account TikTok, read her post and watch some of their posts to get a sense of how to think about using the space.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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