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From Slides to Jpegs: ZAPPlication.org

Until recently, the typical way for visual artists to apply to juried exhibitions and craft shows has been by duplicating a myriad number of slides, labeling, and shipping them to multiple destinations.  As a studio craftsperson, I remember what a laborious process this was and so I can see what a huge benefit it is for artists to now be able to apply for many juried exhibitions online using a single digital interface.  Register once and you’re done!  One such system, called ZAPPlication, has been up and running since 2004.  It is hosted by WESTAF (Western State Arts Foundation), a leader in digital services for artists.  WESTAF also offers an analogous system for applying for public art commissions called Café, which stands for Call for Entry.  What’s interesting to me is not only the development of such new technology, but the growth of a community around the ZAPP site.  Their forum discussions include everything from advice on how to assemble booth displays to reports of sales at various art shows and festivals.  A soon-to-be-released iPhone application will allow visitors and patrons to access art show and festival information.  Among other things, the app will allow people to search show content by artist or medium (e.g., drawing), access event schedules, and link to the artists’ websites.  Beyond simplifying life for artists, the power of these tools is their ability to build connections between artists and their audiences and to enhance the potential for more engaging dialogues.

 

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