Data Resources For Artists, By Artists
The Investing in Creativity report called attention to the need for better information and data resources for and about artists. The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs used LINC support to create the Chicago Artists Resource (CAR) website. With a tag line reading “For artists by artists,” CAR provides an artist-curated directory of resources, links to local and national organizations, articles by national leaders in artist professional development, and the viewpoints, images, artwork, and experiences of Chicago artists. A pioneer in aggregating such resources for artists online, CAR offers comprehensive information about professional services, consultants, facilities, and fabricators; articles on health care and other arts issues; and an online guide for artists and arts organizations interested in buying and leasing space in Chicago.
CAR has developed into a comprehensive site, featuring more than 4,000 links and 4,000 community-contributed posts. Traffic is robust—76,000 visitors use CAR more than 200 times a year. A LINC Sustainability Grant enabled CAR to explore the potential for syndication, offering localized versions of the site’s infrastructure, content, expertise, and best practices to other regions. CAR’s approach to syndication was a bottom-up network of Artist Resource (AR) sites driven by local content, local needs, and local organizations and personnel, but with a national identity and centralized technical structure that can be customized to fit the needs of a given community.
In 2012, the CAR website was transferred to the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), an arts service organization that has been serving individual artists since 1974. The transfer of ownership and administration was an exciting development, as it allows CAR to operate with the nimbleness and flexibility of a dynamic technology project.