Calling all women artists: United Airlines is looking for you to design a plane’s exterior. A Boeing 757 to be exact. To coincide with Women’s History Month in March, United is launching “Her Art Here,” a unique campaign to highlight underrepresented women artists.
United Spotlights Artists For Women’s History Month
United points out that although 51% percent of all artists are women, only 13% of their art are on display in museums. That’s a staggeringly uneven statistic. In a nutshell, United’s campaign call-to-action is this:
Come showcase your artistic talent with us because what’s more public and visible than an airplane?
An airplane’s external appearance is an incredible marketing tool. Both aviation enthusiasts and the general pubic generally see an airline’s livery as a reflection of the company it’s flying for. And the massive popularity of retro paint schemes like British Airways’ BOAC livery really show how a simple paint job can bring together a global audience.
I’m definitely not an artist but as a marketer, I can’t think of many other physical displays that would get as much quick, widespread international exposure as an airplane’s exterior.
How Does United’s Women’s History Month Campaign Work?
Here’s how “Her Art Here” will go down. There’s really only two main rules.
(1) United wants the design to reflect the California or New York City area markets. That makes sense considering where some of United’s hubs are in Newark, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
(2) You have to identify as a woman to participate. Sorry boys.
Women artists are invited to submit a design idea, portfolio, and a short video on United’s new “Her Art Here” microsite. The airline will then narrow down finalists and a call for a public vote will happen in late spring. Finalists will have their art showcased at United terminals and an open galley, and receive 100,000 MileagePlus award miles. (Of course there’s miles involved.)
Two winners will be selected, and the two painted liveries on 757s will go into service in fall of 2019.
United isn’t the first airline to have a public competition to design a paint scheme. ANA had a similar open call (to both men and women) for a design of their first Airbus A380 flying to Hawaii.
Here’s United’s Official Participation Rules
To enter, individuals must identify as a woman, including cisgender, transgender, woman-aligned or non-binary, and reside in the United States, who can visually represent either New York/New Jersey or California, two key markets for the airline, in their own style, while combining the company’s mission and what the communities in each region mean to the artist.
Buried within the press release was the surprising stat that United has the most women pilots than any other airline in the world. The airline also works with nonprofits like Women In Aviation to provide mentorship, networking, and education opportunities.
I love this competition. It seems like a natural fit for an airline that has a seemingly authentic interest in advancing women in aviation (and in this case, women in the arts). I would love to see a female aviation geek artist win this – that winner would be in aviation and artist heaven.