“The Optimist” was an art exhibition created in partnership between Positive East, Un_Standard, and MAC Cosmetics. The aim was to raise awareness for Positive East, a charity that supports individuals affected by HIV, while also challenging the social stigma associated with the disease.
The teams faced two main challenges. First, they needed to raise awareness for a cause that, despite its importance, still carries a significant social stigma. Second, they needed to ensure that the event remained upbeat and hopeful, per the exhibition’s title, “The Optimist.”
Un_Standard took a creative approach to these challenges. They developed an art exhibition celebrating resilience and optimism, showcasing visually stunning and emotionally impactful artwork. MAC Cosmetics sponsored the event, lending its significant industry influence and customer base to the initiative. Over 30 artists worldwide created a work of art for the exhibition, including noted sculptor Bruce Denny, prominent watercolor artists Sylvia Edwards, musicians ROKK and Caron Gehry, and noted graffiti artists RYCA and Ben Allen.
Positive East created prints from the original artwork to make it accessible to a diverse range of individuals at lower price points. These prints were available for sale long after the exhibition had concluded.
The event was a resounding success. It not only raised awareness for Positive East but also helped to challenge and change perceptions about HIV. Testimonials from attendees indicated that the event had enlightened them about the realities of living with HIV and inspired them with its message of hope and resilience. The event also successfully raised funds for Positive East, contributing to their ongoing work.
“The Optimist” serves as a powerful case study of how strategic partnerships, innovative marketing, and a compelling narrative can create a successful event that achieves significant social impact.