The end of ArtCat Calendar

art_cat_head

The first version of ArtCat calendar (then called ArtCal) launched in November 2004. I wrote the first version in one weekend, to make it easier for James and me to keep track of shows we wanted to see, especially once Chelsea reached 300 galleries. For a long time it was a minimal website with locations, shows, and their dates — not even images. Over time I added images, iCal and RSS feeds, and a weekly newsletter.

Over 16,000 exhibitions at more than 2,000 venues have appeared on ArtCat. We average 200-300 current exhibitions on the site. While forms for galleries to add their exhibits have existed since late 2010, we still view each submission to approve it, for quality control and to prevent duplicates. That is the most time-consuming part of running the site. We also spend a lot of time processing corrections due to galleries submitting new version of press releases, or correcting typos and erroneously-submitted dates.

Advertising revenue, even if one assumes my time is free, does not currently cover the cost of hosting the site plus paying someone to help me with approving submissions and responding to corrections. The calendar does serve as promotion for ArtCat Hosting, but the value of that, versus having more time to improve ArtCat Hosting, is unclear. Most of my hosting clients do not mention the calendar when signing up.

Advertising revenue has averaged $250/month over the last year, primarily due to the support of Storefront Bushwick and Deborah Brown. Other advertisers have included Theodore:Art and Kianga Ellis Projects. Note that all of these are Brooklyn-based. Since I ended the Culture Pundits advertising network, there have been no advertisements from a Chelsea or Lower East Side gallery. During the entire 4 1/2 year run of Culture Pundits, only two commercial galleries in New York advertised with the network.

Charging for listings, for a calendar that wants to maintain quality and promote underknown artists and galleries, is a non-starter. It is apparent to me, after eight years, that there is no financial support for an art calendar of this kind.

I don’t have the resources and time to continue to run the calendar by myself in its current form. I am spread too thinly to do a good job of running ArtCat, improving ArtCat Hosting, promoting and publishing IDIOM, documenting our art collection, and actually getting out to see art. Of course, I also have to make a living through my freelance work. My goal is to narrow the focus of my work I do within the art world, and do one or two things very well, rather than provide lesser versions of many things. As the wonderful Michael Mandiberg pointed out here, there are limits to one’s time/labor/capital and it’s healthy to move one when the time feels right.

I will convert the site to an archive as of January 1, 2013. If someone is interested in the code and data (it is a Ruby on Rails 2.3 application), I’m ready to talk. The ArtCat name and domain will stay with me, as I own the trademark for it, to be used specifically for my art website hosting business.

If you would like to express your gratitude in some way, please consider a tax-deductible donation to IDIOM.

2012-12-12 | 20 comments | in art

  • Michelle

    Thanks Barry. We will miss ArtCat. My favorite quote from a Robert Warner text piece is this: WORK AHEAD IN HOPE.

  • David

    Barry – ArtCat has always been a reliable source for me. sorry to hear that it won’t be continuing – thank you for your dedication over the years. i will miss it!

  • Michael

    Thank you Barry for having created and provided so important and useful a website for artists that you maintained so responsibly. We shall all miss having it.
    Best wishes.

  • jill

    As with moth endings it may be bittersweet, yet I trust you are making room for something else amazing. Best on all new endeavors!

  • Linda

    Thank you for ArtCat! I will miss it, although I think most volunteer labors have a limited lifespan so I understand your wish to change your focus. A big thanks for a job well done.

  • zegeer

    Thank you so much for your labor these past years! ArtCat has been an invaluable tool for about everyone I know in the art-making and non-profit community!

  • http://www.frivmini.com/ friv

    Im glad I came across this. Im glad I took the time to read on past the first paragraph. Youve got so much to say, so much to offer. I hope people realise this and look into your page.

  • Paulapart

    Wow. You’ve helped me get a real handle on NYC’s art scene in the past year. Thank you so much!

  • Zeina Assaf

    As an avid follower of Artcat with its recommendations and support for shows over the years, I’m definitely going to miss it. Though I completely understand the need to refocus, best wishes on all your current and future endeavors.

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  • Claire Fleury

    I am so sorry to see ArtCat go: as a gallery owner this was my favorite website to promote exhibitions: I prefer it over printed guides too because it is more up to date, and we often know our artist line up at the last minute: too late for print…
    So, thank you for all the work and time and we wish you great success in all your endeavors.
    Gratefully,
    Claire Fleury

    Strange Loop Gallery

  • Mel

    I have greatly appreciated your site. I did not realize you were not funded. I sincerely hope that you receive many more thanks, and opportunity.
    I will also put some money where my text is.

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