On a recent weekend in Miami, 13 artists had the chance to experience one of the Professional Development Program‘s (PDP) newest two-day workshop combinations: Authentic Branding and Internet for Artists, hosted by the incredibly supportive Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. Creative Capital’s Krista Fabian DeCastro joined the group in Miami and let us in on the weekend’s events:
Steve Lambert’s website, visitsteve.com, was built in WordPress.
There are dozens of services and software to use in building your web portfolio, but Creative Capital’s Internet for Artists (IFA) team only recommends two.
It’s not because we’re unaware. We research every tool we come across and we’re told about them all the time. Still, we recommend that participants in our workshops use either Squarespace or their own installation of WordPress software (not WordPress.com). Nothing else.
We have good reason for only recommending these two solutions and we think you will agree with our reasoning below. However, if your site is currently serving your needs and goals well, we are not necessarily encouraging you to immediately rebuild with these better options. Just know that these options are available when the time comes.
There are many factors we weigh when making these recommendations. Here’s a few high points:
No. 1: We want you to have flexibility.
Many artists we have worked with are unable to maintain their own web presence because they have no control, no support, and no where to turn but to a “webmaster” who has disappeared. They’re essentially stuck and we don’t want that to ever happen to you. Continue reading
Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendees, written by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.
Building Your Internet Presence
Because the Internet is contemporary culture’s primary means for communication and information dissemination, having an active online presence is essential for artists. The web continues to rapidly evolve, so what follows are some basic ways to think about building and refining how you represent yourself and your work online.
Keep in mind that more is not always better. Some artists use nothing but a Facebook fan page and Twitter feed as their online presence and do just fine, while others have six blogs, three websites and many social media outlets, but it’s hard to understand what they do. What’s most important is for you to find the best way to communicate the clarity, force and excellence of your work and put that online. Continue reading
Brad Stephenson is our Professional Development Program’s newest Internet for Artists Workshop Leader. We think Brad has made a great addition to our team and, having just completed an amazing weekend workshop with the Montana Arts Council in Kallispel, MT, we asked fellow PDP Workshop Leader Matthew Deleget to help us introduce Brad to the broader Creative Capital community.
Matthew Deleget: Tell us a bit about your background and how you got involved in the arts.
Brad Stephenson: I was an introvert during my middle and early high school days, and a fantastic teacher convinced me to join show choir. Singing quickly became a passion, which led to musical theater, which led to straight plays, which led me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in acting from the University of Kentucky. After spending time as a standup comedian in New York (yes, standup is an art form), I moved to Pittsburgh and completed the Master of Arts Management program at Carnegie Mellon University. My day job is digital marketing at CMU, but I continue to work on various artistic projects. I am also a grant award finalist for a film project called Reel Pittsburgh, a community-based video project focusing on the people of the greatest city in the world. Continue reading
This past weekend marked our Professional Development Program’s 200th workshop! Since the program launched in 2003, we’ve presented PDP workshops with 87 community partners in 71 cities, and nearly 4,500 artists across the country have attended. PDP has been incredibly busy lately, with workshops in Puerto Rico, Ohio and North Dakota in the last weekend alone!
On January 20-23, the Santa Fe Art Institute, with support from the Kresge Foundation, brought Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program (PDP) to Santa Fe for two workshops: the Internet for Artists (IFA) weekend workshop and a one-day Verbal Communications (VC) workshop.
The artists who participated in the workshops were selected from a pool of applications by a committee of local artists, curators, writers and educators. The result was a group of artists at varying stages of their careers driven by the common goals of connecting to other artists and building up the foundations of their art practices with professional development training.
The weekend opened with the Internet for Artists Friday night introductions. In PDP’s Core Weekend workshops, each artist has five minutes to show slides and talk about his/her own work to the group. The Internet for Artists workshop puts its own spin on this by assigning each artist another participant to research on the Internet prior to the session, and then giving each artist two-and-a-half minutes to present the artist they researched. It’s a fast way to make it very clear that the management of your web presence must be a high priority in your professional practice and was a great way to bring the group together as a community of practicing artists. Continue reading
There’s a perception out there in the communities Creative Capital’s Professional Development team visits for intensive weekend-long Internet for Artists workshops. It’s something like, “Oh no, the New York artists are coming to town. What will they think of us?”
This time, in Atlanta, our partner and host, Alternate ROOTS’ Shannon Turner, worried we’d figure they were still living the Dukes of Hazard life down there—a bunch of “inbred, illiterate, racist rednecks who ride cows to school,” to quote her precisely. Of course, that’s far from what we discovered.
Frankly, being an Atlanta native, I never expected anything like Shannon’s tongue-in-cheek exaggeration. But I was surprised by the wide array of performing, conceptual and fine artists we met. I suppose I was expecting the Atlanta I left in the late 1980s that was dominated by folk artists, including very fine work by Faith Ringgold and Howard Finster. Continue reading
Straight from our Professional Development Program’s Internet for Artists curriculum, here are some tips on what content every artist should include on their portfolio website.
GENERAL TIP: Think of your website as the pedestal for your artwork and practice. The format of your website should not distract from the work you want to share with your audience. Remember, the website itself is not your artwork, it is the venue for people to see your artwork and find out more about you. Therefore, a simple, clear and easy-to-navigate site works great for most artists.
Website of PDP IFA alum Ayumi Horie, who took these tips to heart!
NAVIGATION: There should be a consistent menu in the same place on every page to help the user move intuitively through your site. Include the following pages in order of preference:
1. Projects/Work Samples – arranged chronologically, by media, content or any other structure you think is appropriate. Continue reading