The Walker Art Center received a $200,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the Advancing Digital grant category to rebuild mnartists.org. The site will be redesigned in response to feedback from both users and the field. Using open-source applications at every layer, it will reshape the site as an aggregator incorporating an advanced search engine, social tagging, and other user-tested features to support a Web 2.0 environment. Once the redesign is complete, the Walker will share the installation profile and source code and create a supporting toolkit to assist museums, libraries, and other organizations in freely replicating the site and program. Living within the open-source community, the applications that organizations develop as they adapt and tailor the site will sustain its user-generated evolution and help the field address the changing and converging roles of institutions as catalysts, collectors, curators, marketplaces, and commons within the new realities of 21st century.
Scott Stulen, Project Director of mnartists.org, comments, "This award will greatly assist in updated and enhancing mnartists.org to meet the evolving needs of Minnesota artists and confirms the importance of the program as an innovative model for community engagement. The redesigned mnartists site will easily integrate with all forms of social media and be a one-stop hub for searching the local art community. Think Yellow Pages meets a Facebook Stream." The redesigned mnartists.org site is set to launch in 2013.
IMLS awarded 48 National Leadership Grants in 2011 of the 210 applications submitted for consideration. This year's National Leadership Grant recipients will generate new tools, research, models, services, practices, and alliances that will positively impact both the awarded institutions and the nation. IMLS Director Susan Hildreth notes:
"National Leadership grantees help advance the museums, libraries, and archives field. We look forward to much exciting work from this round of awards, including projects that will support learning and 21st century skills relevant to a new generation of digital natives, enhanced access and ability to interact with digital content, and providing innovative services for existing and new types of library and museum users. We believe that each of these grants will advance the museum, library, and archive professions through new research and the creation and dissemination of innovative tools, models, and activities that can be shared broadly."
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.
The mission of mnartists.org is to improve the lives of Minnesota artists and provide access to and engagement with Minnesota's arts culture. mnartists.org is an online database of Minnesota artists and organizations from all disciplines. It offers Minnesota-based artists a central gathering place, marketplace, and community hub on the Web. It offers the public a new way to explore art and get to know artists. In addition to providing artists and organizations with a Web page containing images and information, mnartists.org provides news and features about the local arts scene from a variety of sources. mnartists.org was developed as the result of a survey of Minnesota artists conducted by The McKnight Foundation, which revealed the survival struggles of individual artists. The McKnight Foundation partnered with the Walker Art Center's New Media Initiatives group to develop mnartists.org.
mnartists.org is a project of The McKnight Foundation and the Walker Art Center.