Chicago Artists Resource: What went wrong?

Here’s my top 5:

1. No buzz – No one’s talking about the site or its content.
2. No traffic – And worse, no one’s linking in.
3. No blog – The closest we get to an active discussion is a forum, which is pretty dead.
4. No RSS – Ok, some of the forums have RSS, but why not everything else?
5. No user-created content – It’s a community site for artists. Let’s see some art!

Also, I’m not in love with the design. I know this is being picky but man, orange overload! And white on light orange isn’t easy to read. Shouldn’t a site devoted to artists feature some more color?

But let’s back up a bit. CAR is a great idea:

A program of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, CAR is
intended to assist artists with their creative and professional
practice and to strengthen the community of artists in Chicago.

I mean, that sounds cool, right? Problem is that it’s hard to create a community out of thin air. Especially if your website doesn’t facilitate it in any way. If I’m an artist, I want to sign-up and start adding my art. I want people to see it and comment on it. I want to search other artists’ pages. I want to inspire others or get inspired myself. I want to join a discussion on technique or clients or whatever. I don’t care about recycled articles from New York Foundation for the Arts. And I don’t want to submit a story and wait for approval. Come on, who’s going through this list of questions thinking, “Man, this is cool.” Indeed, CAR is very Web 1.0.

I had pretty high hopes for this site. The title for this post could have easily been Chicago Artists Resource: WTF? After seeing the RFP, the great ideas, the massive requirements… it’s kind of hard to believe that this is the final product. Oh well.

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