Here's a project that should be a boon for WNC media artists and professionals: A savvy online directory where artists can upload their portfolios, create profiles and get the word out about their skills.
"We have such a huge amount of talent here," says Robert Zimmerman, whose company has developed the site.
Say a filmmaker is working on a movie in the area, and needs a boom operator or a gaffer. They can access the site, search by skill and get a list of available and talented people. The site will be a resource for connecting and collaborating. It launches on Thursday, July 23, at the Flood Gallery. See it now at http://www.themap.org.
"We're always looking for ways to promote artists in the region," says Gillian Coats, board chair of the Media Arts Project, the group that's been planning and developing the directory for two years. With a $10,000 grant from a private donor, the Media Arts Project enlisted locally based Web developer BugLogic to build the site.
Other BugLogic projects include the clever Drawger (an invite-only online community for illustrators) and illoz (similar but for art directors).
BugLogic took the best of both sites for the new project, says Zimmerman, who also co-founded the MAP.
"We build applications that help people show their stuff off and get work; you're not just out there all by yourself, you're all grouped together," Zimmerman says. "I've come to realize over time that it's fine to have your individual Web site, but there's a huge amount of value in having one place where clients can go. It just works."
A $40 membership fee will keep the site for those working the professional vein, he explains. On the front end, businesses can find the services they need; the back end will work something like a speakeasy, Zimmerman says.
"If you want to complain about a particular client, you can, and only members [not clients] can see that," he says.
Artists will be able to list their skills, the software/hardware they know how to use, and so forth, Coats explains.
"You associate your profile with certain categories," she says. They could be 3D animation, Web site design, Flash, podcast/vodcast production or camera operation, to name a few. "The site drills down and gets very specific, and if you do a lot of different things you can associate yourself with all the things. It's easy to find someone by their talents, then you can go look at the work you've done, and decide if they can do the work for your project."
The public launch will be a full-on multimedia event, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Phil Mechanic building's Flood Gallery in the River Arts District. Learn your way around the site, with Zimmerman presenting at 6:15 p.m. Artists are invited to bring their work on portable drives, and MAP will offer registration. After the presentation, Asheville's primo VJ Megan McKissack (of Mount Dungeon and other fames) and DJ Chris Ballard will perform. Wine and light refreshments will be provided by The Wine Guy and 28806 Catering.
For more info on the event or the site, contact the Media Arts Project at firstname.lastname@example.org.