From AGW to AWE

Things at the Gallery are starting to look a little different…
Thanks to the help of the creative agency Friends & Enemies, the Art Gallery of Windsor has a new look and a new name: Art Windsor-Essex! Read on to learn more about our new brand and the path we took to get there in an interview with Art Windsor-Essex’s Executive Director, Jennifer Matotek, and Catherine Baird from Friends & Enemies.

JM: I am here today with Catherine from Friends & Enemies, and the Art Gallery of Windsor has been working quite closely with Friends & Enemies over the last few months on a special project as we rebrand.

I have to say, we’re a really great fit because as we’re working on our brand, one of the things we’re definitely talking about is one of our values being collaboration, doing great things with great people. So I’m wondering, how would you define what a brand is and why is having a brand important?

CB: So I’d like to try to describe branding to people that don’t do branding all the time. I like to think of it as, you know, if you think about yourself, right?

The values that you have as an individual are very different than the next person. So things that you care about or personality aspects, you might be a very serious person or you might be a really funny person, or you may care about one thing really passionately. Those are sort of the the essence of who you are. Like, I am a person who loves to read. I love reading fiction books. That is an aspect of my personality that is really a core piece of me. And so I like to talk about these things, too, with other people. So, you know, when you think about it, an organization can have an essence as well. You can have value and personality that is unique to the organization.

And so when we start to talk about the brand identity of an organization we start to talk about, well, what is the logo, what are the colors, what is the typography that is used to bring out and reflect the essence of what the brand cares about? What is important to to the brand? In terms of AGW, you know, those values were very clear from the beginning: trying to challenge, trying to create conversation. Being incredibly inclusive and accessible. These are really important values for the gallery that it now leads us to. Well, now, how do we express that out to the world so that the world can know and understand what the gallery stands for?

JM: So tell me about your experience of the branding process that we’ve been doing together, and working with AGW; what have you found the most interesting about our work together? Because I know you have all kinds of different clients that you work with.

CB: We work with a whole big range of clients, you know, from tech companies, we work a lot in health care, and we also work a lot in the arts. So we do have a really incredible range. There’s two things that stand out to me from this process. The first one, of course, has been collaboration, and I think the team feels it has been an incredibly collaborative process, which I think has led us to something that is really unique and honorable.

But for me, compared to a lot of the other clients that we work with, what I see is bravery, right? So moving to Art Windsor-Essex and the name of “AWE” and holding that in is a really brave move. There’s a lot of safe design that’s done out there. And, you know, the work that always stands out is the work that is the most brave. And in addition to the name change, I actually think some of the elements of the identity, particularly the color, is also incredibly brave. It’s going to catch attention. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be something that I think people will not be anticipating.

JM: I know that we’re so excited to share it. What else excites you about our brand at the end of the day?

CB: So I think the other aspect is really the way we are embracing the concept of change. And I think that it actually took us a really long time to to get to that essence, which is that not only is the gallery always physically changing in terms of getting new exhibitions in, but it’s the change that also happens within when you are confronted with something that is new and challenges your ideas. That is when your own personal growth and change happens. So embracing the concept that “Change happens here” is also really great because when combined with “Art Windsor-Essex”, it also expands that idea that “here” is not just the gallery, “here” is the entire region.

JM: I’m so thankful that you took the time to speak with me today. We’re so grateful, especially to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, who is supporting a large portion of our work together.

Keep posted to see how we continue our transformation from AGW to AWE!




Art Windsor-Essex (AWE) is a non-profit public art gallery that uses the power of art to open hearts and minds to new ideas. Change happens here.

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Art Windsor-Essex

Art Windsor-Essex

Art Windsor-Essex (AWE) is a non-profit public art gallery that uses the power of art to open hearts and minds to new ideas. Change happens here.

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