Monday, November 26, 2007

The Local Art Community #2

I wrote recently in 'The Local Art Community' about the problems of finding out about artists, art activities and art resources in local communities - for the benefit of both resident and visiting artists and art lovers.

I also suggested there was some scope to
look at how we organise information to remedy this.

If anybody is interested in this subject then I suggest you take a look at the following sites which are incorporating blogging software/webware into the provision of local information.

The sites highlighted below represent examples of three different ways that very different localities are tackling this issue.
For those not familiar with the localities highlighted, I've included links at the end to their pages on wikipedia.
  • The first is a major site for a city which is building its platform for its designation as European City of Culture - using a largish and monetised website which incorporates a blog and listings.
  • The second is an art society based in a major town in Scotland - using a Wordpress blog linked to Flickr
  • The third is an innovation by a commercial gallery trying to work in partnership with a local town website.

Art in Liverpool is a website with gallery listings, a blog, lists of artists, links to galleries and artists in Liverpool plus relevant arts festivals, local adverts etc etc. It also has options for RSS subscriptions and a weekly e-newsletter.

The site has been set up and is owned by an individual called Ian Jackson and is run with the help of a team of people. I'm guessing that it may possibly have had some development funding associated with Liverpool being designated 'European Capital of Culture' for 2008. And if it hasn't then I'm surprised they've not bid for any!

The 'Capital of Culture' is something that happens in Europe (and I gather also happens in the Americas). In the past various cities have bid for the right to be called 'Capital of Culture' and it has a hugely beneficial impact on local arts activities. For example, Glasgow was transformed by being designated European Capital of Culture for 1990. The competition became intense and the designation is now rorartes on a country by country basis with the UK's turn coming up in 2008. Work for Liverpool's year will have started back in 2004.

Overall this is a large, well designed and well developed website, which in my opinion looks like it might provide a potential model template for how to deliver a site for a local art community which incorporates elements of web 2.0 social networking!


Aberdeen Artists OnLine provides another example of how local art communities are getting to grips with getting online using webware.

It looks like it's still very new but is also a useful model for local art societies. It has an 'about the AAS' page, member profiles (providing external links to galleries and a page for each artist to provide profile details ) and also provides pages on how to get in touch and how to join. Posts are about art society news and information for member artists.

Flickr then has a tag for 'aberdeen artists photos' which has sets for the artwork of all the different artists. That's the first time I've seen Flickr used in this way. I'm not clear whether this is a public Flickr group - with controlled access to membership or what.

At present this site is very much resticted to the activities of the society and isn't yet taking on board all the other art resources in Aberdeen - such as local galleries and art shops. However the basic model of linked webware that they've set up could certainly do this.

St Neots

St Neots Picture Gallery has a blog site for its B&M gallery, framing services and art supplies. This commercial gallery is also sponsoring a 'Featured Local Artist' slot on the St Neots Town website. A click on the town website brings the reader back to the gallery site which then has a page for the featured local artist. It's a neat idea by a commercial entity - but maybe one which is rather dependent on how active the local town website is.

More sites?

I'm happy to use this blog to publicise different ways of highlighting the profile of local art communities. So if anybody else knows of interesting sites which are trying to incorporate the dynamics of a web 2.0 world into local art communities please let me know - use the comments function or contact me direct.

Plus - for those who asked - I have started to draft a 'how to do a squidoo lens' for publicising local art communities.


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