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A New Event Format Can Remain True to Tradition

A New Event Format Can Remain True to Tradition

National Parks Conservation Association Event photo collage

Linder Global Events has had the privilege of working with National Parks Conservation Association for almost a decade on their annual Salute to the Parks Awards Gala. Each year, Linder has been tasked with producing an event that celebrates America’s national parks, calls attention to their needs, and recognizes individuals and organizations whose dedication to the national parks and impact on the system deserve attention. For the 2016 Salute to the Parks Awards Gala, Max Slavkin and Aaron Perry-Zucker of the Creative Action Network were honored for their See America art collection. The See America campaign invites artists from throughout the country to create their own designs reimagining the WPA See America posters from the 1930s. Artists have created more than 1,000 designs that represent all parks in all 50 states. This most recent collection of See America posters puts a creative twist on some of America’s favorite sites and landmarks. This diverse and inspiring collection of art would serve as the inspiration and main focal point for this year’s exciting and fresh event format.

The Salute to the Parks event has traditionally taken the format of a seated dinner that is accompanied by a program honoring that year’s awardee. However, this year the National Parks Conservation Association team felt it was an appropriate time to try a different format that would facilitate a longer reception time and a shorter program while still engaging their audience throughout. The focal point of the reception area was a compass assembled around the fountain that had four food stations at each point—North, South, East, and West. At each compass point was a display of See America artwork that was also used in the program’s stage and in custom pillows on the reception couches.

This new format allowed guests the opportunity to have more time to interact with a wider group of people, instead of a dinner with assigned seats which would have limited that time and exposure. The longer reception time of the event also encouraged guests to engage with the original and innovative activations at this year’s event. A human-made tree was designed with wooden leaves on which guests were prompted to write birthday messages to the National Parks in celebration of the National Park Service’s Centennial Year. Additionally, a 9×16 monitor was rigged against the 2nd floor columns of the National Building Museum, which was used to display a tag board monitoring the event’s social media presence and thus allowed guests to engage and interact with the event online throughout the evening. In keeping with the mission of National Parks Conservation Association, an activation that included a Subaru filled with empty water bottles was used to educate guests about the Zero Landfill Initiative under way at Yosemite, Denali and Grand Teton. Through this program, NPCA is working in partnership with Subaru of America and the National Park Service to reduce the amount of trash that ends up in parks.

Everything that has been successful about past Salute to the Parks Awards Gala was maintained through this year’s program—recognition of champions of the parks Max Slavkin and Aaron Perry-Zucker, drawing attention to the needs of the parks through an educational Subaru activation, and a celebration of the beauty within the national parks shown in each See America design. Therefore changing the style and format of the event did not seem a daunting task to the NPCA team because they were maintaining all of the key factors that their guests look for. Through this year’s Salute to the Parks event, NPCA was able to try fresh and innovative ideas that engaged a wider audience all while staying true to their organization’s mission—they pushed the envelope yet remained in touch with their overall message as an organization and for that reason Linder Global Events was both honored and excited to be a part of this event for the 9th year in a row and for many more to come!

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