This past month we posted a new website for Kawartha Arts Network (KAN).
I am a member of KAN, which is “a co-operative of practicing artists with a community vision in downtown Lindsay, Ontario.” Part of the membership includes an expectation “to contribute to the running of KAN.” Some members volunteer to sit in the gallery when it is open, while others help to prepare for the shows. There are lots of meaningful and helpful jobs that move KAN forward.
However, what they really needed was a new website. Small arts organizations have very little money to build new websites. So, I decided that I would build them a new one – pro bono. It would be my contribution.
After assessing the old website and talking with a few members of the KAN Steering Committee, it was plain to see that in addition to the old site not functioning properly, it was also no longer meeting the needs of the organization.
In addition to having it serve as a marketing tool, KAN wanted to showcase the artists and incorporate a docent calendar so that members could sign up for gallery sittings.
As it turns out, I built two calendars: one for events, and one for scheduling. They are very different animals. I spent a lot of time looking at calendar plugins. I immediately liked the EventON Calendar.
EventON Calendar with closed events.
EventON Calendar with an open event.
It offered an excellent way to display information – dates, image, location etc. It was slick, clean, and responsive. So that was easy.
The real challenge was finding a good scheduling plugin. Because there would be many members using it with various levels of skills, I went looking for a very straightforward calendar. I found one with the ez Schedule Manager.
ez Schedule Manager with open scheduling times.
All members have to do is click on a grey time block and fill in their name and email address. The form will populate with the name entered. It is simple and effective. Sometimes simple is all a user needs.
ez Schedule Manager user interface.
ez Schedule Manager with Three Loud Crows scheduled!
The other major element was a way to display artists. There are approximately 50 members.
I decided that each member should have their own page. And to keep everything streamlined, each artist would be allowed to display one image and 200 or so words describing their art or art process. This translated into each artist having a post and a featured image. The featured image I used for display on the both the artists’ listing page and the home page carousel.
The trick to both was to make them random. That way all artists were giving equal display opportunity on the first display of the carousel and in the “top of the fold” on the artists’ listing page.
Kawartha Arts Network artists’ carousel.
As a member, I am really proud of Kawartha Arts Network, its people and its commitment to the arts. I built this website as a show of my commitment to KAN and to the arts.
By the way, my artwork is the second one from the left in the carousel above. An oil portrait of “Sally.” You can see this image and a short blurb about me on the KAN website. For more of my artwork you can visit my own website M-J Kelley Studio.