It’s close to four years since I launched artprwire.com and artlistpro.com.
Both were projects to research the growing online presence for contemporary arts. I am very proud that I was one of the first to explore social media as a platform for curating contemporary art stream , and I have learned a great deal that has influenced my career and my life – namely through the people and art I have connected with as a result.
At the heart of these two websites was my desire to re-invigorate my passion for contemporary art both locally and internationally. I wanted to expose myself as much as possible to current and past exhibits and see as much as work as possible from my limited geographical footprint. I ended up curating a “daily dose of contemporary art” on ALP to the tune of almost 7,000 posts so far. That number is the tip of the iceberg for how many posts, websites and submissions I considered over the years. At some points I can truly say, with pride, that I was totally sick of looking at art!
Also, with pride, I am very happy with the online audience I have built for both sites. They extend beyond the local and even national to a community without borders but unified by a love of looking at good work everyday. Like me. As an artist, I wanted to build a context to release my own work online and feel like I have managed to do that – as well I have become a fan of several artists and online curators I would never of known about otherwise.
But life changes all plans, as my success online has translated into career opportunities elsewhere. Below are some announcements for both sites.
ART PR WIRE
I started this free service as a basic art list that artists and galleries that lacked a marketing budget could utilize to make sure their invite info could be found online. It was and still is a problem for many to be able to effectively send out a press release that is fairly considered for it’s merit and not necessarily for the paid service it is using. In Canada especially, the arts scene is dominated by a commercial monopoly that has limited room and frankly a limited scope – a classic arts administrator mindset of marketing to each other instead of marketing to a wider audience. More about that below.
I actually used to phone up galleries and museums and invite them to submit PR to my website. I was met with a great deal of suspicion and derision, to say the least, and it was a little surprising. I stopped being so proactive and handed out cards at some art galleries and fairs, and as social media evolved beyond doubt then the arts started … later than almost every other industry… to accept that this was a valuable tool. Now I have international exhibits from a wide variety of professional venues and many of the PR submissions I post “go viral” – they get tens of thousands of views I get very good feedback from the galleries participating. This kind of international popularity is, in my view, a very valuable service and a unique channel for local Canadian artists and organizations.
Did I mention it was free? I may develop a paid component for some extra services but I am after the huge market of galleries that don’t engage paid services. The value is the audience data I collect, and the industry expertise I have in publishing such a service. I get gigs now with art magazines and galleries, and that’s what I wanted.
I have decided to abandon completely efforts to include local arts organizations. For example, I have lived in Hamilton, Ontario for almost three years and have, on numerous occasions, approached some local public arts organizations and galleries. As I do, I asked to be put on on their media list for PR and opportunities to cover events on my blog. To date, I have received absolutely nothing of the kind from these places. I also cannot access the usual media opportunities to cover these events for my blog and websites. I am invited to many large scale media events in Toronto, New York, Miami, and Los Angeles (for example) but not in Hamilton, Ontario.
I think it’s fair and fine to not utilize a service, but these organizations actually receive public money to operate and to not bother simply adding an email to your email list raises a lot of questions for me. I think what bothers me the most is the disservice this does for the artists involved.
Anyways, my new policy on this is that I will not cover local publicly-funded events unless I am invited as media – though I may still attend. I hope that sounds fair.
I am moving away from Tumblr as my primary platform for Art PR Wire and have switched to WordPress to host my content (check out artprweb.com). The reason is that Tumblr took down a post because of a DMCA complaint – one that was so blatantly frivolous and baseless I was shocked. They don’t have their communities interest at heart and I don’t trust them anymore with my content. It took a team of lawyers to get them to re-post the censored content, with an apology to me, and the associated image with that photo format post was forever lost due their actions. Pretty disappointing and frightening that an intellectual copyright mark against me goes on a permanent record so easily and quickly . There is an opportunity to file a counter-notice against such a malicious complaint, but Tumblr demanded my personal address and full name so they could send it to this weird person harassing me. VERY disturbing and potentially dangerous for someone with a stalker or abusive ex, for example.
Though I strip the hyperlink in email addresses as a courtesy, my policy now is that what you email me is what I post on the website. I don’t have time to edit or format submissions. If you don’t want your phone number on a website, please do not include it in your submission.
Art Listings Professional
I have enjoyed being an editor and publisher of a pioneering social media powered magazine about contemporary art. Somedays, I have posted as much as 20 works as a considered group in a curated stream. But now I feel ready to concentrate on my own studio work and consolidate my reviews, interviews and art postings onto my wordpress blog here at chrishealey.me. I am closing down ArtListPro as it currently functions and merging it with Art PR Wire. I believe this enhances the value for artists and galleries posted about on this network – but my giant online curated art stream project is coming to an end. It’s no longer as fun as it was and for the reasons mentioned above I am now deeply mistrustful of Tumblr’s ability to protect it’s community members and their legitimate content.
I will have other projects online, but ALP was special and I want to thank my fans and subscribers over the last few years for their encouragement and feedback. I hope you enjoy the format change to the best submissions of current art exhibits and events from around the world.