PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF Art event director Camille Focarino, CSEP, says Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike picked the museum as the site of its “30 Years of Nike Basketball” reception because of the venue's unique combination of features.
With its 13,600-square-foot event space, the museum easily accommodated Nike's more than 1,200 VIP guests, including basketball stars Moses Malone, Rasheed Wallace and Jason Kidd. “The size of our museum is unique. You can have everyone intimately close in one space,” Focarino says. “In Philadelphia, that's hard to find.”
Also appealing to Nike was the 125-year-old venue's hilltop location in Philadelphia's city center, and its status as a historical showcase, Focarino adds.
In the site's spacious Great Stair Hall, with its dramatic columns and Alexander Calder mobile, “the architecture of the museum served as a backdrop,” she says. Sculptural “shoe trees” displaying Nike basketball shoe styles through the years were set into the hall's alcoves; additional shoe exhibits lined the room's vast central staircase. Throughout the evening, guests wandered through displays, grooving to DJ-spun music and enjoying authentic Philadelphia cheese steaks, pretzels and beer.
Focarino, whose staff worked with Nike on the concept and execution of the Feb. 8 National Basketball Association All-Star weekend event, praises her client as an ideal partner. “When they wanted to have an area with corporate signage, they were very mindful of the materials,” Focarino says. “They met curatorial standards and worked with conservators to make a proper product that would not damage surfaces.”
Calling the event “phenomenal,” Nike manager of communications Eric Oberman adds that the museum provided a perfect vehicle for the company to “communicate to the masses, ‘Look how far we've grown, look at our technological advancements, look at our brand as our footwear has been innovated over time.’” During a weekend that saw nearly 100 NBA-related events in his estimate, the success of the Nike bash was even more significant. “For people to walk away from that saying ‘That Nike party was really it’ means a lot to us,” he says.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Office of Special Events
Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 26th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130