In 1998 Reed and a group of college friends founded Innocent Drinks, a company that produced fruit smoothies in the United Kingdom. Ten years later the market was already talking about the impressive growth of the company, which aroused the interest of the largest soft drink producer in the world. Earlier this year Coca-Cola took full control of the company’s shares, making even more money for its Cambridge graduate founders.
The same Richard Reed is now behind the promotion of a project that will turn the United Kingdom into the largest art gallery in the world. And do not think we’ll have to wait until the 22nd century. This man does not beat about the bush. In a 2011 interview he said, “if you are 70% sure your idea will succeed, you must engage in it and push it forward”. He added, “if you wait until you are 100% sure, you could be dissuaded to undertake the task”. Everything indicates he will also succeed with this new idea.
The project is titled Art Everywhere, and its main objective is to fill the streets of the UK with artworks from the most important British artist of the last 500 years, consequentially generating a debate about the kingdom’s identity and its art.
Art Everywhere Project.
During two weeks in August, the enlarged images of 50 artworks will appear on thousands of billboards and bus stops across the country. The works were chosen online by a public tender held on June 24. Tate Museum and Art Fund, an independent organization that promotes the work of museums and galleries in Great Britain, are proud backers of the project. The public has helped fund Art Everywhere with a £3 contribution (about $5). Several renowned artists have voiced their support and enthusiasm for the program. Damien Hirst said it “gives the public a voice and an opportunity to vote for what they want to see in the streets.”
Richard Reed insists, “There is no agenda beyond that. It’s about putting beautiful wonderful things in as many places as possible to be seen by as many people as possible.” ■