Ceci Dadisman

QR codes are fast becoming more and more common and they are a perfect (and FREE) tool for arts organizations to engage audiences.  

QR codes (the QR stands for "quick response") are bar codes that allow you to link them to an event, website URL, bit of text, or virtual business card. Scanners for these codes are free and can be downloaded to any smartphone. (I use one called NeoReader but a simple web search will reveal tons of others that are good as well.)

QR codes are also free to produce.  My favorite ways to make them are to use the goo.gl and bit.ly URL shorteners. When you shorten the URL, it will automatically assign it a QR code that also can be tracked so you can tally how many times it was scanned. 

But, you ask, how can a nonprofit arts organization use this newfangled technology? Well, remember when you got your first Facebook page and then you started putting a little Facebook icon on your marketing materials or listing the URL? Well, it is just that easy. Any site that allows you to make a QR code will allow you to download said code so that you can put it anywhere. Here are a couple of examples of great uses of QR codes:

1.  The Cleveland Museum of Art- Check out this poster which is part of their latest marketing campaign.  Very compelling, no?

Here is what Kesha Williams, their Digital Communications Manager has to say about it:

"The Cleveland Museum of Art chose to use QR code samples because we wanted to try this innovative technology as a refresh of our How Do You See It? Marketing campaign. We saw the QR codes as creative way to offer access to our collection objects during the summer visit season. We recently re-opened our Ancient Greek and Roman art galleries after a five-year hiatus during our construction project."

AND this sort of use is super simple to create yet is perhaps more compelling than a traditional poster.

2.  Palm Beach Opera - Palm Beach Opera is using QR codes on all of their advertising and collateral materials for the 2010-2011 season.This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to integrate QR codes into your existing marketing.

This is a portion of the back of a rack card that was printed with season information. Check out the QR code in the bottom corner.  Scanning this code takes you to additional information about Palm Beach Opera’s upcoming season.



3.  Vancouver Opera- The ever-so-hip marketing team at Vancouver Opera used QR codes posted around the city to promote their production of Lillian Alling.  This, like the Cleveland Museum’s, is a VERY compelling use of a QR code.

So, how can your organization use QR code to further its mission? If you are someone who attends arts performances, how would you use a QR code if you saw one?  Perhaps in a program book where it is linked to behind-the-scenes information about the performance. Or maybe as a sign in the lobby with a link to the next event that can be easily added to your calendar.

The possibilities are endless and limited only by our creativity.


This is fascinating info. As an individual artist - a painter - how could I use QR codes? thanks!

To included it "as" your artwork, check this out to get your creative juices going: http://elemental-consulting.com/blog/space-invader-makes-art-with-qr-codes/

I personally think it would be a pretty interesting art piece to utilize augmented reality, instead, in a painting. That is to say, the user approaches what - to the eye - appears to be an empty painting (just a frame). She opens up the appropriate app on her phone and points it at the empty space and there, on her phone, is the artwork. You can't see it physically, but you can see it on the screen.

This is what you were trying to tell me about the other day, right?

This is a wonderful article. We've been using QR codes throughout the building at The Carnegie. We have a rich history being more than 100 years old and it's been a wonderful (and fun) way for our patrons to learn more about us as they explore our building.

Would like to know more about the steps of how it works. You scan the code using an smartphone's camera (after downloading a reader app), take a picture of the QC, and are then linked to additional information???

Check out our service for Social QR Codes. It may fit your needs :) http://www.youscan.me

QR Codes are BIG in Europe well at least at the Explora Science Center in Frankfurt Germany which displays the largest QR Code in Europa at the moment (please see http://explora.info/images/qrclaraIMG_5995_m.jpg ) but not only BIG qr codes are used in the Explora: on the flyers of the museum you will find a qr code linking to the homepage. Also art is shown which has qr codes inside ( http://www.explora.info/images/goethe_m.jpg )

To get the message out to the crowd the City of Frankfurt and the local public transportation company RMV (also a qr code user http://twitpic.com/2ljdjm and http://twitpic.com/2d5vwz ) were running a 4 week long scavenger hunt with qr codes (http://www.explora.info/images/pressetexte/101103_extratipp_schnitzeljag... and http://twitpic.com/31vgkn http://twitpic.com/302yxa ). A track with 12 stations across the inner city from one tourist spot to the other. The last spot was the big qr code.

We will now place qr codes in the exhibition and do other interesting things. Other museums are also using qr codes in Frankfurt, e.g., for announcements special exhibitions etc.

QR Codes are a great tool!

Any questions just ask ...

Nice article! 2011 will be the year of the QR Code! Next time you create a QR Code, try www.SocialQRCode.com it is designed for businesses to promote their social networking properties with QR Codes. You can also create coupons that are sharable on FB and Twitter. Let me know what you think!

QR primer page at http://readthiscode.com ... vendor agnostic ... that was my intent, anyway.

I love thinking about creative QR campaigns! I just posted a reaction and linked to this article from my scoop.it page for arts marketing (http://www.scoop.it/t/arts-marketing). I have only one concern with QR codes, and that is user adoption and educating the public on how to use them. But I think it's come a long way here in the U.S. since the first time I heard about their popularity in Asia about 8-9 months ago.

Some quick thoughts and ideas I posted as a reaction:

...certainly we can think of much more fun things to link to than only our ticketing page, right? Why not exclusive content or downloads? A special discount? A page that allows the user to actually *upload* a video, photo or message? What if an art museum or historical society used them for an interactive tour? What about a city-wide scavenger hunt? Is there a way to tell a story about certain landmarks *at* the landmark?


2011 will be the year of the QR Code! Next time you create a QR Code try www.socialqrcode.com. It is designed for businesses to promote their social networks with QR Codes. You can also create coupons that are sharable on Twitter and Facebook.


I run two sites that promote QR codes -

1. QrArts is my expression of how QR codes can be creatively implemented

2. QR 1337 - which is about using and making QR codes for art

I think QR codes are a powerful tool to let artists mobilize art. Which will become very popular in the next few years. Great article. Thanks for sharing.

Patrick Donnelly

The Oregon Cultural Trust has been using a QR code in its advertising since the launch of its This Is Culture campaign in October 2010. The web access provided by the QR code not only animates print advertising, linking it directly to our website -- where we want all our customers to go -- but also allows us to shorten the ad copy AND appeal to a younger, linked-in audience!

Love QR codes. A great way to generate them is to use a dynamic qr code generator that allows you to change link in the code without changing the code. Check out http://www.bwscan.com for free generator and free analytics.

Besides, you can receive cards from others by scanning their QR Code. Last but not least, whenever you update your QR Card information, all your contacts that already received your QR business card will be able to see and access the new information automatically.
Check for more info at http://www.yprintit.com

qr code has much larger data capability than other barcode. you can encode various information in it. if you need a qr code generator for smartphone. refer to:

Well, when it comes to QR Code, I always recommend people to read these two websites
Professional and good looking.

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