- New Models for the Arts
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Element:e (Élément:e) is a proposed arts management and impact reporting digital platform for small creators and producers from all arts and culture disciplines across Canada, including:
Empowering artists to devote more time to their creativity and less to administration.
Enabling administrators to be more efficient, grow revenues, and make better, data-driven decisions.
Enticing audiences to be more aware of, and engaged by, the creativity of artists of today and tomorrow.
Educating advocates to identify decisive insights that strengthen public policies and communicate the profound impacts of Canadian arts and culture in a global society.
The time has come for the small arts sector to band together to produce purpose-built digital solutions designed by, and for, artists.
I am lost in a quagmire of inefficient information systems that are at times decades old. I can't afford to purchase the tools that are currently available, and yet I am also burnt out from constantly reinventing the wheel in Excel. I am increasingly unable to focus on what is important. The arts need accessible, affordable information systems now!
- Arts Manager, Toronto
The arts are lagging in the design of responsive digital tools to help manage and communicate the unique realities and contributions of small creators in all disciplines across Canada.
While many digital solutions are available (i.e., Sumac, Salesforce, Wild Apricot, CiviCRM, Canadian Arts Data, DataArts, Tableau), for the most part these tools are only pertinent or accessible to large, established organizations. Too often, small and emerging creators must rely on a hodge-podge of self-made/DIY solutions (i.e., Excel and Word) that are increasingly unsuited to managing creativity in our contemporary digital world.
Element:e is the most cost-effective and efficient way to have the greatest impact for independent producing-artists / artist-producers.
- Performing Artist, Toronto
"Envisioned by the arts, for the arts", Element:e is planned as a mobile-first, cloud-driven, free and low-cost, subscription-based platform, as well as an open source, open data project (opt-in) for custom implementation and analysis industry-wide.
Element:e will integrate core administration, marketing, financial and statistical intelligence functions into a cohesive, multi-channel platform geared to managing, analyzing and communicating the "elemental" realities of small and low-income creators in urban, rural and remote regions across Canada.
The proposed timeline for Element:e is to launch a functional beta within three years, by 2019/20. Year 1 will focus on the outlining of a preliminary prototype based on priorities set out through sector consultations. Year 2 will build and test an alpha solution in selected communities. A beta launch will follow with wide release in Year 3. Development of the solution will continue thereafter to respond to community needs. The preliminary stages will focus on the needs of the performing and literary arts in Ontario, followed by the visual and media arts and other disciplines across Canada as the project evolves. In Phase One, the platform will prioritize supporting the needs of individual creators with annual incomes under $35,000, and organizations with annual budgets under $200,000.
To help prioritize the evolution of new digital infrastructure tools that are responsive to sector needs, Canadian artists and arts professionals are cordially invited to respond to a 20-minute survey, Managing Creativity in a Digital World. The survey is available until March 1, 2017 at 5:00 PM (EST). Responses received before February 10 , 2017 at 5:00 PM (EST) will be entered into a draw for a $100 gift card to Amazon.ca.
We are seeking broad response to this survey in order to advise the future direction of Element:e. We hope to demonstrate to funders that new, accessible digital infrastructures are vital for the arts to thrive. Please spread the word if you can!
Special thanks to the growing roster of organizations and individuals that have contributed to the emergence of Element:e, including: