In 2023, Clemson University had the opportunity to be a sponsor of SEWE, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, a three-day, all-ages event in Charleston, SC, featuring fine art, live entertainment, and other fun experiences to generate awareness for the conservation of wildlife and the environment while positively impacting statewide education and economies.
With its array of departments, programs, degrees, and initiatives around agriculture and wildlife, it’s no wonder Clemson and SEWE make a good match. As a sponsor of the annual event, Clemson had the opportunity to host an exhibit. But run-of-the-mill photo ops or information booths weren’t going to engage this audience in the manner Clemson hoped to or convey the close bond Clemson and SEWE share in their commitment to South Carolina’s environment. That’s when Clemson brought in the Infinity team to brainstorm ways to make a splash. We pitched a variety of alternative displays and interactive possibilities to appeal to the wide range of ages at SEWE and, in the end, landed on a winning concept.
To create an unforgettable experience for SEWE attendees, we developed a concept for a paint-by-numbers mural, similar to the small canvases made for children and hobbyists to purchase with an image sectioned out and numbered to match its corresponding paint color — but on a much grander scale. A life-size, 8’x10’ free-standing mural that participants could step up to and paint a portion of at any time during the three-day event. Afterward, the mural would be used as a semi-permanent installation on the Clemson campus.
To bring the mural to life, we partnered with a vendor who specializes in creating high-quality paint-by-numbers murals for clients around the world and was able to match Clemson’s brand colors. They supplied the mural, paints, brushes, and other supplies needed to ensure the process at the event ran smoothly.
Once we knew our mission, there were several logistical matters to contend with.
Since SEWE is an outdoor event and the mural would be subject to wind, rain, and the like, Infinity selected a durable vinyl material with wooden framing to ensure it withstood the elements.
It was important to capture the spirits of both Clemson and SEWE in the final mural design. After some discussion and ideation, an image of South Carolina’s coastal wetlands and its native inhabitants was rendered in Clemson’s distinctive orange and purple colors, with a large white Clemson Tiger Paw in the center.
After exploring a few options, Infinity’s team opted for an in-house build of the mural’s wooden support structure to ensure a precise fit and full confidence that it would stand up to dismantling, reconstruction, and event attendees’ interactions.
To ensure a smooth transportation and setup process for the Clemson event team, Infinity constructed the mural and its framework before the event, then strategically disassembled and cut it apart for the most efficient packing and reassembling process possible. These also had to be repeated at the end of SEWE to get the mural to its final destination on the Clemson campus.
Engagement and Completion
As we thought through various details of the exhibit, Infinity identified two separate concerns that were resolved with a single piece of preparation. The first was that a blank white wall, as the initial mural would appear at any distance too great to see outlines and numbers, would not elicit much audience participation. The second was wanting to guarantee the mural’s completion before the end of the event — for the satisfaction of those who painted, for photo opportunities, and for the mural’s planned future display. To combat both of these uncertainties, Infinity had the darkest segments of the mural filled in during production. This ensured event attendees could interpret the exhibit’s purpose at any distance, left only the fun, colorful sections needing paint, and covered enough of the 80-square-foot surface to secure the project’s completion within the event’s time constraints.
The mural was a hit. Engagement was consistent throughout the three-day event, and feedback from participants was unanimously positive. While unique interactive displays at most tradeshows or big events would mean something high-tech or flashy, Infinity recognized that SEWE’s love for art and tradition deserved a better solution. And Clemson has a memorable keepsake from an unforgettable experience at SEWE.