Sunday, September 26, 2021

InPark exclusive: Three key players talk about Crayola’s new interactive exhibit and the brand’s expanded LBE presence

As recently announced, Crayola IDEAworks: The Creativity Exhibition will launch in February 2021 at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Following its inaugural run, the exhibition will travel to other leading science and discovery centers in the US. This project, designed to bring out children’s innate creativity, marks a new direction in the location-based entertainment (LBE) space for Crayola, following the success of its Crayola Experience centers in multiple cities. It also helps define a new model for interactive, educational guest experiences in pandemic times.

The Franklin Institute

InPark editor Judith Rubin interviewed Warren Schorr (VP Business Development & Global Licensing, Crayola LLC), Clayton Ferguson (Principal/Executive Producer, Agency808) and George Wade (President, Bay Laurel Advisors) about the collaboration that led to the concept and creation of Crayola IDEAworks.

Tell us more about Crayola’s new forays in the LBE space and what this means for the industry.

Warren Schorr:  The Crayola brand is incredibly versatile, and can be extended in so many unique ways, each with a fresh and different take on our brand mission. This tour represents the next step in a portfolio of LBEs being brought to the consumer by Crayola, and will be unlike anything previously seen in the museum touring space. It benefited by being a passion project for a wide range of best in-class executives and agents, each committed to bringing something truly unique to the market. We will continue to leverage this passion and creativity as we develop future LBE execution opportunities.

Crayola Experience, Orlando

George Wade: The Crayola brand is flexible in so many wonderful ways. Crayola Experience focuses on play and creativity. Crayola IDEAworks is a different experiential approach encouraging families to unlock creativity from an inventive innovation standpoint. For our industry, this project will hopefully spur further new development for both traditional LBE venues as well as educational institutions. We all have reason to feel optimistic.

How does this exhibit align with the Crayola brand and culture?

Warren Schorr: It’s all about discovery, design thinking, and invention, but all delivered through creative play. Along their journey guests will learn about their innate creative attributes and their individual  creative skills and strengths that make them special.

Clayton Ferguson: As Warren and George will tell you, Crayola’s core values empower creativity and creative solutions, inspiring and infusing all aspects of life. The driving force of Crayola IDEAworks is to equip kids with a deeper sense of their own creativity and the problem-solving skills they will use throughout their lives. We’re aligning the power of the Crayola brand with the creative process. The visitor goes through engaging, creative problem-solving steps leading to a finale that helps to define their creative strengths, giving them a sense of what they can add to the world. We hope to inspire a generation of innovators, inventors and influencers in the process!

Are there specific tie-ins for educators?

Warren Schorr: Crayola IDEAworks was designed to be a fit for educators, with lesson plans and other materials to support and leverage the museum experience. Crayola has been a dedicated partner to educators for 117 years, and this project delivers a new dimension to that.

Tell us about the design.

Clayton Ferguson: We tried to design an exhibition that is aesthetically engaging, one with the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of situations. It has to be flexible and modular as a touring exhibit that will be visiting major cities throughout North America. We also had to address the current COVID scenario, so the exhibition can easily pivot to minimize touch points, using a stylus if need be. The design also supports a system to clean and sanitize surfaces while safely pulsing visitors, maintaining social distancing throughout. In terms of size, the exhibition is designed to accommodate spaces from 8,500-14,000 sq ft.

Crayola IDEAworks

We have a mix of tech and tactile. Anything tech-driven needs to be enhancing rather than distracting – it’s very important for technology to be simple and intuitive. RFID bracelets are a key part of the experience; at every step along the way the visitor taps their bracelet at interactive hubs – learning, defining, exploring, assessing, and interacting.

Team members: Crayola IDEAworks: The Creativity Exhibition

  • Crayola LLC – Licensor
  • Agency808 – Producer, Licensee
  • Bay Laurel Advisors – Project Advisor
  • Agency808 internal team: Clayton Ferguson, Lauren Katz, Lisa O’Keefe (bookings)
  • External team members: Museum EXP, Leonid Productions, XL Scenic, Mad Systems, Primal Screen, Turnkey Education, Great Lakes Scenic, Anne Groban & Assoc.

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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