“Don't pursue a career in the Arts unless you love the Arts truly, madly, deeply. And do not have any delusions about what awaits you both in educational settings, and in the job market. …If you think you're gonna get a break because you have a disability, think again. …You better be the best you can be at what you do, and do not allow yourself to use your disability as an excuse NOT to work continually and consistently towards total professionalism and high standards of quality.”
-- Jaehn Clare, professional theatre artist, from "A Career as an Artist Ain't an Easy Row to Hoe," keynote address for The Art of Employment: Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities on March 25 & 26, 2002 at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN.
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An ArtsWORK exclusive by Kendal R. Miller
Frames, Phrases, and Photography by Kendal, LLC
Creating and maintaining a web presence to showcase your artwork is essential for today’s artist. When unavailable to show your work in person, having the ability to say, “You can find it on my website” is priceless. Often time clients like your work, but want to see a larger variety.
Thanks to an Individual Artist Program grant from the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC), I was able to update my Photography by Kendal website (www.photographybykendal.com) from a site limited in space and inundated with advertisements. Not only did the upgrade make my company look more professional, but allowed for 24/7 on-line ordering of my fine art photography prints. It also contained elements to create on-line portfolios for clients and to promote my writing services.
Having outgrown a “free” ten-year-old website, it was embarrassing to respond to inquiries about an on-line presence. Hosted by Tripod.com, I originally selected this site because of the large amount of photographs that I could display at no charge. Through the years I used up the allotted space, preventing me from adding new images and information about my photography and services.
As with most free websites, the requirement for utilizing the host services is having advertisements displayed on your pages. In my case, not only did the ads appear on my home page but became larger and more numerous over the years. To make matters worse, the majority of the ads contained information on area photographers.
With the convenience of displaying images on the Web, most photographers started offering prints on-line and presenting customer’s portrait/event sessions directly from their websites. Unable to offer these same services, I began losing business. With limited resources to re-do my site, I applied for the IAC grant with a primary focus on building a new website.
This is the fifth of six pieces written by artists affiliated with ArtsWORK Indiana. We'd like to hear what you think, so go to our Facebook page and tell us! Check out other articles in the "View from the Field" series, published monthly.
If developing or upgrading a website, I recommend deciding what is and isn’t important to you and your business. Determine the goals of your site, and the financial investment that you can or want to make. Research and asking questions are essential to your project.
Some questions to consider are:
After research, establishing website goals, and creating a budget, utilize this information to move forward on your website. Whatever you decide—to do it yourself or hire a designer, writer and/or photographer—surf the net for website ideas that can be incorporated into your new site. If you approach potential designers, ask for written quotes, timelines, and links to sites they have created. Also question whether or not their quote includes future changes and/or additions.
Do not hesitate to ask for website design referrals from friends and colleagues, both in and out of the art realm. Networking is not only good to obtain information, but is a great way to promote you and your business at the same time.
Studies show that the average adult makes over 35,000 decisions a day. Taking a website concept from
paper to the Internet will add a few thousand more. Are you up for it? Read more in Creating a Website, from Concept to Web-Part 2.