Tag: technology

Cloud Computing

At the most recent TechsmARTs gathering, we discussed cloud computing and how arts organizations can take advantage of cloud services to reduce costs and increase organizational efficiency. What types of services offer the biggest bang for the buck? What is a good approach to moving to the cloud?

Corner of building and puffy clouds
Corner of building and puffy clouds / Joe Winter
The layman’s definition of cloud computing given at the discussion referred to any IT services that are not handled in-house. Most of these services are provided over the internet. One survey, conducted by Technology in the Arts back in January 2011, provided documentary evidence of the challenges many arts organizations face in managing their technology resources. Most notably, 45% of organizations with budgets over $5 million have four or more full-time IT employees. But all other organizations (those with budgets under $5 million) are far less likely to even have a single IT employee.

Considering the lack of IT staff in the arts, it makes sense for organizations to avoid having to own and maintain a server on-site. When there’s a server on-site, it’s not unusual to have to rely on a tech-savvy board member or staff person, or an IT consultant (who may or may not always be available) to come to the rescue when the server goes down. Some cloud services can seem a little pricey, but managing and maintaining a server on-site is even more expensive, and exposes the organization to extraordinary risks if there are no off-site data backups.

Some of the generic cloud services mentioned at the June TechsmARTs gathering include:

We also discussed cloud services that are specifically designed for arts organizations. ArtsReady, helps organizations in continuity planning. And there are now several ticketing services that are available as a cloud service.

At the end of the discussion, participants wanted to have more time to have a discussion about these and other cloud services. For the next TechsmARTs, we’ll have a roundtable discussion as a continuation of our June session. But this time, there will be no featured speakers and the discussion won’t be recorded. We’d like to hear from you what sorts of services you are using, and your impressions of services you’ve tried out. I’ll also share my screen with everyone so we can check out some of the options that are out there.

We’ll meet at the Warhorse Cafe coffee shop at the Goat Farm at noon on Wednesday, August 29. Coffee and other beverages will be available. We look forward to seeing you then!

RSVP for the next TechsmARTs

TechsmARTs Follow-Up: Social Media at The Weather Channel

Note: The audio of April’s TechsmARTs discussion can be found at the bottom of this post.

If I were to split out the world of social media professionals into two camps (for the sake of this post), there are those who like to refer to social media as a conversation, and those who don’t. Mark Elliot, an on-camera meterologist with The Weather Channel falls squarely within the pro-conversation camp.

Mark is a TWC meterologist who is specifically charged with keeping the conversation going. A quick check of his Twitter feed at any time offers a glimpse into the conversation. His latest tweets generally tend to include replies, questions to his followers, and updates on weather events. Mark also maintains a Facebook page that doesn’t cross-post to his Twitter feed (thank you for not cross-posting, by the way).

A few months ago Mark approached us with an offer to speak at a TechsmARTs session. We decided this was a good opportunity to try something new, and see what wisdom we could glean from his experience and apply it to the arts world. Many thanks to those of you who showed up to indulge us. 🙂

Mark offered a wealth of information on who is using the various social media platforms, and how each of them tend to be used. But he began by making the point that social media is a conversation — and it’s a conversation where you (as an arts organization) want to be involved.
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TechsmARTs: Video Production

Producing videos can be a big hassle. To do it right takes some combination of money, time, and effort that most of us don’t necessarily have. So it really takes having the right combination of a little expertise, an efficient process, or a grant.

On Wednesday, February 22, let’s get together for the next TechsmARTs gathering. We’ll have two special guests joining us: Kevin Gillese, Artistic Director of Dad’s Garage; and David Tyberg, a musician with Atlanta-based Steampunk rock band, The Extraordinary Contraptions. Kevin, David and I will all have stories to share about how each of us have used video to connect with new audiences and build communities of support for our respective missions.

As you’ll find out from this panel, we’ll have a variety of stories to tell and lessons to pass along. Kevin will share the story of Dad’s Garage TV, and David will relate his experiences of recording live shows to video for The Contraptions YouTube Channel. I’ll also discuss some of our recent experience with using a single video to fulfill multiple goals: to promote an offering and connect more stakeholders to mission.

The Center for Puppetry Arts graciously offered their space, and we’re looking forward to bringing TechsmARTs back there!

Please join us, February 22 at 2:30, at the Center for Puppetry Arts for a conversation about producing videos. RSVP today to let us know you’ll be there!