Base URL: []

January 2005, 40 posts, 1007 lines


Hi Jno,

Try this: [] Sample click-through paths are: 1.Creative Practice>Exhibition Practice>Galleries>Not-For-Profit Galleries 2.Opportunities>Funding>Grants>Restricted Grants

Sorry about the front page. Shows up OK in internet explorer... don't know which browser you used. It's very basic anyway, and even when you can see it, is not representative of how the site will look. So, would rather not send lots of people to the site for now.

The site is taking 2 years because it's very big, we are fundraising as we go, and there are only a few of us working on developing it.



Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 12:14:17 -0600

Got a call today about two five-drawer flat files, dark grey, made by Cole Steel, approximately 40" x 50" (the big ones) They are in a location at superior and franklin and he is asking $250 each. There is a freight elevator and he says he can help someone get them out.

Name is Chris and the number is: 312 543 4777. thought someone here might need these. Layne


On Wed, 29 Dec 2004, polvo wrote:

It doesn't load all that fast, because the preferred presentation is in pdf format. I usually kill a site that takes over 4 seconds to load. But maybe artists have DSL connections or T-1 lines, just as they have the latest in advanced browsers, although I dont imagine artists who have the latest in advanced browsers and connections are going to require much help with finances, legal issues, or studios rentals. This took 20 seconds.

The purpose of a pdf document is to make sure noone can alter the text, fonts, or layout. They are also not quotable, so the resources become proprietory. Pdf is often done as a matter of looks, but at the cost of a loss in time and convenience.

Pdf documents discriminate against people with sight problems, and slows everything down to a crawl. It's prohibited under Federal legislation for publically funded sites because it is considered discriminatory against sight impaired users and those who use a braille readout or talker.

Another problem with the pdf is that the listed URLs are not clickable. That would be useless, but I suppose someone will tell me that it worked fine for them. I'll get back to that after I hear it.



I would concur about the pdf -- it's best as a secondary option for those who want the text in a package. But I'm sure most folks online nowadays have only had experience with a Web that is heavy with graphics and decor. Those folks I know who are using 56k modems (including me, up until recently) are a bit patient and will wait more than the fabled 10-second mark. Otherwise they wouldn't get to see anything, hardly. Plus, art/culture sites often work in graphics, Flash and such so there is a precedence for such sites to require a little patience from the visitor. Also, an artist does not need sufficient wealth to have a fast connection -- only a girlfriend who is a programmer.


group at wrote:


I don't like pdf's either, especially because you can't copy and paste. Also because they limit the capabilities of a site's internal search function as well. We will be avoiding them wherever possible on the Chicago Artists Resource site, and using them as a last resort (like, if an arts organization has a large quantitly of useful resource info for artists that they'd like to contribute to CAR, and there are not the resources (yet) to convert them into text-based files.



On Mon, 10 Jan -1 erik at wrote:

That's what is missing! Although in my case, when my 56K modem got hit by lightning I substituted an old 28.8K USR. And saw only a slight difference in rsync uploads -- which would not have helped even with a DSL connection, since they limit uploads. It is a server market, not a consumer market.

What has improved since the days of the 28.8 modems is the installation of an Illinois optical backbone, and the speed of the servers. Dns lookup is much faster today; server delivery is much faster, as are the land connections: we no longer need to hop from here to NYC to make a transcontinental connection to LA.. etc.

But 4 seconds remains as my cutoff, girlfriend or not.



On Mon, 10 Jan 2005, S. Schnadt wrote:

Yes there is. There are any number of GNU utilities to convert back and forth to and from pdf, postscript, eps, text, and typesetting formats (Tex, Latex). I have regularly used "pdftotext" to convert pdf. It only takes a few seconds. It is Unix, so it is available for MAC OS-X also. It does badly with double columns, btw, but there are some pre-processing utilities also. Note that it will also write a html file directly.

The man page for pdftotext below.

pdftotext(1) pdftotext(1)


pdftotext - Portable Document Format (PDF) to text con- verter (version 1.00)


pdftotext [options] [PDF-file [text-file]]


Pdftotext converts Portable Document Format (PDF) files to plain text.

Pdftotext reads the PDF file, PDF-file, and writes a text file, text-file. If text-file is not specified, pdftotext converts file.pdf to file.txt. If text-file is '-', the text is sent to stdout.


Pdftotext reads a configuration file at startup. It first tries to find the user's private config file, ~/.xpdfrc. If that doesn't exist, it looks for a system-wide config file, typically /etc/xpdfrc (but this location can be changed when pdftotext is built). See the xpdfrc(5) man page for details.


Many of the following options can be set with configura- tion file commands. These are listed in square brackets with the description of the corresponding command line option.

-f number

Specifies the first page to convert.

-l number

Specifies the last page to convert.


Keep the text in content stream order. This is a hack which often "undoes" column formatting, etc. This option will likely be replaced with something more sophisticated when pdftotext is rewritten to use a smarter text placement algorithm.


Generate a simple HTML file, including the meta information. This simply wraps the text in

and prepends the meta headers.

-enc encoding-name

Sets the encoding to use for text output. The encoding-name must be defined with the unicodeMap command (see xpdfrc(5)). This defaults to "Latin1" (which is a built-in encoding). [config file: tex- tEncoding]

-eol unix | dos | mac

Sets the end-of-line convention to use for text output. [config file: textEOL]

-opw password

Specify the owner password for the PDF file. Pro- viding this will bypass all security restrictions.

-upw password

Specify the user password for the PDF file.


Don't print any messages or errors. [config file: errQuiet]

-cfg config-file

Read config-file in place of ~/.xpdfrc or the sys- tem-wide config file.


Print copyright and version information.


Print usage information. (-help and --help are equivalent.)


Some PDF files contain fonts whose encodings have been mangled beyond recognition. There is no way (short of OCR) to extract text from these files.


The pdftotext software and documentation are copyright 1996-2002 Derek B. Noonburg (derekn at


xpdf(1), pdftops(1), pdfinfo(1), pdffonts(1), pdftopbm(1), pdfimages(1), xpdfrc(5) []

01 Feb 2002 pdftotext(1)


This is very helpful, Jno. Thank you. What if you have a paper copy, you scan using a conventional scanner, and have an image-based file that you convert to a pdf. Can you convert this type of PDF file to text, and is it less fiddly for fixing mis-interpreted characters and words than just using text-recognition software? (We're looking at this option as well).



On Tue, 11 Jan 2005, S. Schnadt wrote:

OCR is horrid with the best type fonts, and always very time consuming. Pdftotext, on the other hand, is fast and does not lose a single letter.

To follow up, I converted your 'ArtistsResourceGuide.pdf' to text. That took 1/4 second, and reduced 200,000 bytes to 20,000 bytes.

I piped the text through fold, uniq, and some sed scripts (all Unix and OS-X utilities), in order to fold the text to 80 spaces, remove the repeating blank lines, do cleanup, and add HTML tags. That took nearly a half second to run (gots a slow computer).

The 12 line script and details of what it does is on line.
- []

(Is everyone on OtherGroup following this so far?)

But then came the hand-cleanup. I added H tags, italicized the intro, added hash-links, and had to correct some of the clickable links. That took some twenty minutes. Beats OCR. Final version is on line.
- []

Steal it. Rename it. Ftp it. HTH /jno

PS: Anyone with a basic knowledge of HTML tags could do what I did in half the time (I am not a programmer, I cant type).

Hire a high school kid who has read the NCSA HTML Primer at NCSA are the people who wrote the first browser Mosaic, Netscape, and currently Mozilla. Local copy: []

Your hired help should be able to type, even with two fingers, and not use a MAC, for it introduces non-standard typographic punctuation marks.


A great resource to find cheap, talented tech labor is, which is still free for Chicago. But you have to know exactly what skills you are looking for or else some jerk will tell you he can do the job but won't do it as well another who might be half as cheap and twice as fast. Craigslist beats Monsterjobs and careerbuilder any day, at least until it begins to charge to post job openings.


--------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Read only the mail you want - Yahoo! Mail SpamGuard.


Thank you. This is really great. I'll have a look at your converted version. Sara



I may have missed it, but did anyone discuss the inclusion of Hamza Walker in the ArtForum "Best of" issue a month or two ago? Everyone seems to love the guy. To his credit, most of the shows he listed were in Chicago.

Did anyone else read this? Agreement/disagreement with his choices?


Didn't see it, but the best of ArtForum magazine itself of the past 5 years or so probably wouldn't fit in one magazine-sized issue. It strikes me that there is very little worth reading in that magazine anymore. More and more pages of fashion ads and very slight writing and limp approaches to 'criticism.' The state of most art magazines in general is awfully sad lately. Do people here get much out of them? I used to read them more - particularly when I worked at the Art Institute and would slip into the library before the museum opened and on my lunch break and read 'em all for free. Now I hardly look and don't expect to get excited by them when I do. Lately it seems they rarely reflect the things I find interesting and important.

On Jan 12, 2005, at 8:35 PM, Adam Mikos wrote:

Please note my new email address: marcfischer at marcf at and marcf at are no longer active.


I'm with you Marc. The artmags have been bad for awhile now - Art Issues was the last one I read regularly - even though the work wasn't always representative of my interests, the writing was good, with Barbara Stafford and Rebecca Solnit as regular contributors. They quit in an interesting way- I never knew the whole story, but they sent out this letter to subscribers explaining that they wanted to end while they were still relevant, and hoped that someone else would pick up where they left off. Nobody has.

Cabinet's been good though, for different reasons. Did anyone buy a piece of land from them for a penny? We could put ours all together and form othergroupia, build an outhouse.


Kevin Hamilton

On 1/12/05 8:53 PM, "Marc Fischer" wrote:


Thank you for remembering Cabinet, Kevin. A magazine (more like a quarterly book really) with interesting content and imaginative editorial approaches. The land issue was really great - I never got it together to buy my piece for a penny. Getting some conjoining lots and teaming up to install an outhouse would be an excellent idea. I think there might be enough lurkers on OG to have enough space for a single person parking lot attendant booth which the outhouse could abbut. The segment where they revisited the land plots that Gordon Matta-Clark purchased was excellent. Cabinet is one of the few art publications that I regret not spending more time with. They have been doing some really solid work.

On Jan 13, 2005, at 8:04 AM, Kevin Hamilton wrote:

Please note my new email address: marcfischer at marcf at and marcf at are no longer active.


Well, I don't see any point in discussing Hamza's best of list. It is his list, who am I to disagree? Mine and everyone else's would probably different. Though I'll back him, and pick a fight with anyone who disagrees, that the Ayler boxset and The DNA collection are two of the top cultural milestones of 2004, in any genre.

In terms of artmags, Cabinet is good, though their format has become a touch rote and predictable. I no longer even have a desire to read ever issue or every article. I've said it here before: ArtUS has good lengthy reviews, and even if the cover articles don't interest me every issue, the articles feel like substantial pieces driven by the author's interests, rather than market hipness. Afterall I guess is in the Parkett way of things, and when they include an artist you are interested in, you know there'll be at least 30 pages of info and images. Which is tops in my book.



DALI TODAY Call for Artists

Who: Chicagoland and regional artists

What: Call for artists, group show titled "DALI TODAY", showing works about or inspired by Dali, or contemporary interpretations of Dali

When: March 4 to April 10, 2005 (submissions due February 11, 2005)

Where: Bailiwick Repertory Theatre, Chicago, IL

Curator: Johnsonese Gallery, Chicago, IL

Why: The Bailiwick Theatre will be presenting the play "References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot". This exhibit will complement the play and will be promoted along with the play, including an opening reception before or after a performance of the play.

The Play: The play is a story about Gabriela who yearns for her husband Benito - off fighting the war in Iraq. Once he's home, the couple find they have little in common anymore. Is love enough to keep them together? This magical comedy/ drama, is a dark and sexy fantasia about the chemistry between men and women and the ways that war changes everyone.

How: Email images to info at or mail CDs, slides or photos to Johnsonese Gallery LLC, 867 W Buckingham Place, Chicago, IL 60657 by February 11, 2005. (Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you want your submissions returned.) A brief description of the works of up to 150 words and a short biography of up to 50 words are also requested.

Terms: Standard gallery terms; artists will be responsible for delivering their works to the theatre and for retrieving any un-sold works after the show.

Please pass this notice on to your friends in the arts!


Hi All,

If anyone knows of a great web design company that is tuned in to artists and the arts community here (and has enough experience/expertise to take on a large and somewhat involved project) could you forward me their name and/or email address? We would love to work with a company that doesn't design in kindergarten colors ( :

We are issuing an RFP (request for proposals) for Chicago Artists' Resource this week, and will send it along to anyone you recommend along with the list of companies we have come up with.

Thank you in advance,


Sara Schnadt Web Development Consultant Office of Cultural Planning Department of Cultural Affairs 312-742-1771 s_schnadt at


On Wed, 29 Dec 2004, Lorelei Stewart wrote:

We set up, which is 10 times as big, in 4 days. But I had help, I hired an expert. You're right, I *am* impatient.

Did that. The problem is that right now there are 4,520,000 other pages offering "chicago" "artists" "resource"



We have not built the site yet. So there is no reason for Google to rank us. We start building the site in march, and launch it in October.

We did a seminar last summer through the Art and Business Council called "The Ultimate Internet for the Arts". One of the sessions was with a really great consulting firm called SEO Logic whose whole purpose is to increase search engine rankings of their clients. I took copious notes on all the things you need to do, and will call my contact there again if needed. So, when we do build the site, this issue will be a high priority.

We will select a web development company by early March. So, at this point, we're literally all ears. All of your concerns will only help us to be more choosy as we select a web developer to build the site, and to be more specific with the site requirements we give to them.

So, Jno and anyone else, if you have any ideas, requests, suggestions for Chicago Artists Resource, let me know.

Finally, our site is actually going to be very large, because it will not only include events announcements, but also services, resources, and opportunities comprehensively for Chicago. It will also have multiple types of functionality (searchable databases, articles, manuals, interactive tutorials, etc). But we will make a particular point not to replicate the important role that plays. There's no point in that. If anything, Jno, we'd love to learn from your experience with site development, and third party content maintenance.






Hi all,

In Summer 2003, I put up the ICVA:Index of Chicago Visual Artists site ( since there was no Chicago equivalent that I would want to use. This week, I've been retiring it. It will still be viewable (and I'll even place new links if requested), I just feel averse to cleaning up it dead links and scoping about for new ones. So I'm planning to let it moulder at its own rate.

I recently saw Robert Altman's "Three Women" and felt an uncomfortable affinity to Shelly Winters character -- someone under a self-induced delusion of being socially connected. I think that this index imposes itself on Chicago, without really demonstrating the breadth of its art scenes (I'm limited to sites that I actually know about), and I'm not sure this is really doing anything for anybody (apart from giving me something to put under "other activities" in my resume).

If this site harbors some inherent blunders, could someone put it into words for me?

Or am I just being poopy about this?

btw -- I am actively revamping and maintaining the ICVA section that is an artist website tutorial, as I do feel strongly about artists taking advantage of the Web to visualize themselves.

--Erik Brown


Hi Sara et al,

Being in the industry, I wouldn't worry too much about search engines and web ranking. I use the Alexa toolbar (free) to determine if a reseller site is big or small. That rank and traffic is just based on visitors. I work with a site called, their "rank" of top sites went from the 12,000th most visited site on the web, to 7,000th most visited site, just by being in a New York Times article.

Doing good print and web PR will bear great fruit in getting your site known. One article can quickly get picked up by other online resources. The other simple thing about coming up correctly in search engines is the very simple step of making sure the keywords (they are in your HTML code) are good terms that describe the scenarios in which you want your site to appear. For example, when I type Chicago Artist Resources, CAConline is predominant. Here are their keywords:

Sometimes people who sell services that get your site noticed can be a scam. It's never a replacement for PR, which is cheap and effective and will naturally bring up your visitor by actually getting.... visitors. And it can't match the hard work of finding good resource sites that list resource sites and asking them to add you to their list.

So my thumbnail advice is to build a great site, get beta testers and feedback, then launch, then publicize.

Just my 2 cents. Kathryn


Thanks Kathryn. This is very helpful



On Tue, 25 Jan 2005, Adam Mikos wrote:

Funny. But I am all about Mac OS-X -- since it is one of the 24 a Unix Operating Systems, in fact "Free BSD" - very Linux-like too.

From the On-Line Jargon file, for "the rest of you", we have..


more: []


On Tue, 25 Jan 2005, S. Schnadt wrote:

Google doesnt 'rank' unless you pay them, or a URL receives many requests. But your site _is_ in the public domain. It was probably 'launched' months ago, since the URL [] has appeared numerous times on other web sites, including 5 times in the OG archive since December.

If you ask for "chicagoartistsresource", gives 5 instances; gives 4 results; offers 7 results; lists 12 results; gives 2 reponses; Metacrawler gives 12 results; Yahoo gives 5 results; give 12 results; lists 8 results.

Google will show 31 pages, including translations to plain html of all your pdf files, and separate pages for each of the "this sub-menu will be a rollover in the final version" links -- a crawler cannot distinguish between nonsense and real content.

It seems your site was also mentioned in other places: on-line fnews magazine (article by Amber Smock), at as a homepage of a certain Sara Schnadt (that you?), and at mentioned in a post by Paul Klein:

I hope you will meet Paul's expectations. You have been "launched" although the web is total anarchy and everything is always under construction. Best have it look good right from the start.



On Tue, 25 Jan 2005, erik wrote:

I'll pick up kittyspit/visual with wget, it still looks great, and I want a copy before it goes away.

Frames, and your flair for being so cutting-edge.

No. I think, IMHO, that this is endemic of artists in Chicago -- at least I have sensed much more 'community' in much smaller places. For Chicago there seems to be a hardy disintrest in ... everything.



On Wed, 26 Jan 2005, Kathryn Born wrote:

My site is in the top one billion!

You mean "in the HEAD section", in fact, under 'meta name=description' and 'meta name=keywords'. These were originally suggested by Alta Vista, years ago, as a shortcut to succinct content, but have fallen into disuse.

It was replaced by grepping a web file for H tags, and quoting the paragraph which followed. That meant you better have visible H tags, rather than JavaScript generated headings, and have the topic explicated within about 200 words.

That also fell out of use also, for today the whole of a web file can be perused in a fraction of a second, and any nonesense whatsoever is cached by the search engines, like "this sub-menu will be a rollover in the final version"

That, in fact, is the key. All my spider traversals are generated from a single global index file at my site. When I stop supporting a foreign site, I remove the link. And very soon the search engine traffic stops. And be sure to have a robot.txt file to keep unwanted pages from being scammed, especially frequently changing or fugitive pages. Search engines will honor these. Email harvesting pirates will not.

2 cents more :) /jno


The ICVA part of kittyspit isn't going away, I've just made a blurb on the page that I will let it decay naturally. Although I'm tempted to erase it (not wanting something decaying on my Kittyspit cluster), both my girlfriend and Tom Burtonwood were telling me recently that the ICVA gives them a consistent stream of traffic so I guess it's doing something.

The "hardy disinterest" and frames acknowledged, I guess I was wondering if someone could extract a moral lesson from this that I might be missing. Is an organized stack of contacts and vertically organized thumbnails just too stuffy? Is it a violation of organic principles or codes of face-to-face contacts? I ask in part because I made something similar for Kansas City last Spring (I was exhibiting there, and could find nothing organized online, so I thought it'd be a nice howdy-do: ). But that one has gone completely unnoticed, despite all attempts to spread it around down there.

Thanks Jno!

and thank you Mr. Thomas for the nice words!

group at wrote:


is always under construction. Best have it look good right from the start.

Sure you're right about this. Our "Real" launch should address the concerns you've mentioned. But thanks for showing us all the ways we already show up in search engines, yikes! Since there's not really much up there yet, hopefully the site will stay low on peoples' radar and appear minimally in peoples' searches for now. Unfortunately we'll have to grin and bare it 'til we get the site finished.

We'll do our best. Although, to be clear, we aren't promising to answer EVERY questions artists have, but a wide range of common and important questions.

And, yes, that is my page on CivicSpaceLabs. I am using it to post the RFP for the site build to open source programmers from CivicSpace (who did all the tech for Dean's online campaign).




You've gone Mac!?!?!?!? Yet another sign of the impending apocalypse!



you recently added my site to the kittyspit list. a friend of mine who has a site listed told me about it and i was happy to join.

at this point it brings me a little bit of traffic yes, but, relevant to the other thread on this list, by getting linked it helped my site get in the view of the google spiders faster. i also feel like it adds to my credibility to located as many places on the web as possible.

i can see how you can start to wonder if what you are doing is useful because it is fundamental. there is less fanfare for that kind of work but it helps other projects get built. i was going through the list the other day looking at work for a project i am getting involved in.

imho i hope you don't give it up and that you at least don't take it down.

i have only been in this city for a couple years but it seems like a thing that kills people is they carry some project on their shoulders for a few years and then get exhausted and give up. the diy kind of momentum fizzles and an infrastructure never gets laid and so the things struggle to grow beyond chicago.

i like that you are creating the help files so artist can make their own sites but why not leave them with the goal of eventually joining your artist list.

maybe it is time to grow rather than give up and there is some more ways to build on what you made with the artist list than let it rot.

-- Erik Fabian


Erik, While I can't say I've really used your artist pages website much at all, if you ever get rid of of that MP3 site of yours ( [] ) I'm gonna have to do my best to beat you up at the next Japanese underground psych rock show that we attend. I've been delving into that site a lot more recently - it is an endless wealth of great information and music. Exceptionally well organized too. Check it out MP3 lovers - a great place to learn about new and unusual music of all varieties.



"i have only been in this city for a couple years but it seems like athing that kills people is they carry some project on their shouldersfor a few years and then get exhausted and give up. the diy kind ofmomentum fizzles and an infrastructure never gets laid and so the things struggle to grow beyond chicago." "i like that you are creating the help files so artist can make their own sites but why not leave them with the goal of eventually joining your artist list."

I guess I'm another casualty of that fizzling, but I don't know if exhaustion has much to do with it. The mp3 page that Marc mentioned is a huge chore to maintain because it takes me 1-2 weeks of lunchbreaks to identify and correct broken links (I'll only do it twice a year). But I'll do it, since the traffic stream is getting significant (400-500 sessions per day for that page) and I see it mentioned on other sites. It could be that since ICVA site that is unrestrictive I'm doomed to lose steam with it. I get at least an email per week soliticing links to the mp3 index, and I throw most away, and will sometimes type unkind things about bands/recordists that I'm linking. But with the local artist index I have to be accomodating and nice, and that can feel like a drag at times.

Anyway, if that index is going to grow, it will have to be someone else's project (which would be easy, given how rudimentary my own HTML skills are). I'll just leave all the links for convenience sake. On to other projects.

But thanks for the feedback, and votes of support.



Hi everyone.

There are some good pointers reg. search engine optimization at the Search Engine Watch forums. Though, as with many forums, there is a high ratio of opinions to facts (but it's worth checking out). The URL is []

Some good rules of thumb are:
-If anyone optimizing your site promises fast results or guarantees top ranking they are probably doing something that will eventually get your site blacklisted by the search engines.
-There is no "one" trick that will get you great results.
-The goal of a search engine is to make the web a useful place for it's users. The more you do to your site with under same mantra, the better your results will be.

Also, setting up a program like Google adwords can prove very rewarding, though it isn't something that you can just turn on and forget about. There are a lot of arts-related/non-profit keywords that can be had for around .05 cents a click.

Hope this is some helpful information to some folks. If anyone has any specific questions, feel free to shout anytime (perhaps directly instead of to the group.).

Best, Rob


On Thu, 27 Jan 2005, Rob Ray wrote:

like try...

lynx []

OK, that works. Gets the results in under a half second on my 28.8K modem. You could run that continuously, and dump the results rather than look at it -- 86,000 hits per day. If you did that to 10 search sites at the same time: 860,000 hits per day. Lynx is available on MAC OS-X. If not, get it.

Hope that helps. /jno


On Wed, 26 Jan -1 erik at wrote:

In fact, it looks elegant (now that I finally accessed it with a graphical browser), and since you have under 200 artists, there is no reason even with your thumbnails (which are wonderful), that you could not put all of it on a single page. Would save time spent in navigation.

But I see dont wanna do that, since you specify H and W of images. That delays image retrieval, since the text will be formatted first by most browsers before putting out requests for the images.

So, on to morals:

(1) If the site is going to be visually delightfull, informative, descriptive of the links, and up to date, it just cannot be done in spare time between dinner and the dishes. It's certainly not a full job either.

To keep up 200 names, images, and URL's up to date is an overwhelming job. I used to do that at the site, for galleries in Chicago, with small 'opening screen' image files, and an evaluation of their site or content. I made my own moving gifs for icons ... fun but too much work.

I had started for the same reason: no links anywhere in Chicago pointing to anything local in 1996. After about 5 years I just gave up (and let it moulder). I started over with [] and added individuals, but feel no obligation to check or verify anything. Org is not stuffy, it is terse. Makes it faster, though. i'll steal your names and links and add them. :)

More morals:

(2) To be regionally appreciated, it has to be inclusive of just about every person, organization, and art gallery. That is hard to do unless everything is automated.

That is (was) my (our) mistake - trying to be visually interesting, informative, up to date, ordered -- but as the site grows to 200 or 300 entries it becomes overwhelming -- yet it would not really be of any real value until it included all 6000 artists in Chicago (if there are 6000).

(3) I think you have to let others do the work, in particular the users, with foolproof and totally secure on-line data entry.,,, are doing that.

That also means these other people (users) will actually want to add their information to your sites. And it calls for a broad sense of trust, otherwise you spend all your time in overviewing, editing, and approvals.



From: Kathryn Born

I'll throw in that I've always thought Kittyspit was good. I would go along with Jno's thoughts of the difficulty in being comprehensive and my thought is that going forward, someday, pick maybe one-fourth of what you try to do on the main page and elaborate on that and nothing more. Either focus just on resources, on projects, or on one person's personal circle of artists in which he has personal contact, or just the MP3 part. I think you take on a lot, and can't do them all fully, so I would just take one element, narrow it down even more, and do that one niche. For example, the artist resource site we are also talking about, look at how huge a project it is just to do resources. Local resources. Not artists, not art discussion, just resources. Huge project.

The niche I always wanted to work with was local installation art. Just Chicago, just installations, just the current shows. I think with a focus as narrow as that (as an example), you may be able to cover it in one shot.

What's appealing and honorable about Kitty Spit is your underlying desire to help the artists around you. Just remember that you did. You may also want to figure out, in your mind, exactly what your goals for a successful site would be, and then you'll know exactly what your site needs to accomplish in order for you to feel it achieved its purpose.



Thanks Kathryn, and thanks Jno.

I think I solved it today -- I am quite invested in the website-building tutorial and can see myself tinkering with that one for quite some time. As for the artist index, I think I may just round up the thumbnail links and situate them in some sort of indulgently designed webpage (similar to what I make to showcase my cats...) with no alphabetization or text (maybe just some rollover bubble-captions -- whatever they're called). The links will still be active and searchable, and they will be available to anyone who wishes to trawl through them for their own web resource project. And those are the two things I still want from the remains of ICVA. I don't suppose that anyone will blame a page with obnoxious colors and repeating background gifs for not presenting a well-rounded representation of the Chicago art scenes, so I'll be off the hook!

Also, in terms of identifying goals, one thing I always wanted the ICVA to accomplish is how completely easy it is to build something of that sort (I know HTML, but I am totally reliant on my girlfriend to configure my email or add a RAM card). Chicago indexes could be born as quickly as hamsters -- with the same life span -- quite casually. There's no reason why there can't be a half-dozen of these at any given time, each overlapping but distinguished. (Miguel Cortez' is still up, btw)

The Chicago Resouces linkpage I put up will probably be superceded by the new Chicago Resource uber-site that's on the way, which is fine.

Jno, I agree that a proper resource should be interactive nowadays, which is light-years beyond my skill level. seems to be a pretty good model (and one that I keep bumping into during art seaches on Google, so they must be doing something right). Part of my problem is that I hate being a facilitator when it comes to building stuff. Creating the ICVA was fun when I was seeking out artists on my own, cutting thumbnails, and building my own little replica of the Chicago artist environment. Giving everyone a fair shake, however....


Kathryn Born wrote:


On Thu, 27 Jan 2005, erik wrote:

I didnt know, I always have bg colors and bg images turned off on all browsers. It looked so elegant without colors and wallpaper.:)

I also added all your kittyspit names to the 'org' database.. There were only a half dozen duplicates. That is kind of strange -- it means we travel different paths.

Still only 410 art/artist/org links, but I have 4058 exhibitions listed -- since early 2002. Think of the whole site as an inelegant but quick method of finding things, even to find "gallery' (15 pages) or "art" (20 pages) takes under a second. Even looking for "art" among the 2004 exhibitions (131 pages) pops up immediately, and then continues to scroll.

It's all about speed and impatience.