These days getting the word out about local arts programs and activities is getting harder and harder. Where once arts organizations enjoyed the free newspaper publicity of preview articles and reviews, they are now relegated to calendar listings and paid advertising. Open any local paper and you’ll be hard-pressed to find word about upcoming performances and art openings in the Lakeshore communities of West Michigan. I’d like to create an online source for arts groups to upload their press releases, calendar items and actually continue to experience the community interest by way of forums and peer reviews - where people who are interested in the arts can visit and learn about what is happening in their community beyond the bar bands and street festivals. My hope is that with enough paid advertising this can eventually become a print edition that can be inserted into local papers, filling a gap that was left when reporting on the arts wasn’t “click worthy” enough to continue.
If you live in a Lakeshore community you benefit when the arts are present, but the arts always struggle to find enough funding to create what they do, let alone publicize it. Our local civic and community theatres, music organizations museums and galleries will benefit from this increased web presence. I believe a journal that is dedicated to reporting on what is happening in the arts here along the Lakeshore, not in Grand Rapids or elsewhere, will help keep the arts alive in our communities.
What I Will Do With $5,000
Creating a website and keeping it going is expensive. The funds would be used for startup costs and monthly fees to create a fully-functioning website with volunteer contributors. The Fishbowl Project already has a Facebook Page - this site would function like that does, only on steroids. The idea is that after a year the website will be self-supporting with Google ads and sometime after that local ads can be sold to support an additional monthly print edition.