I was the webmaster for the Topeka Art Guild from April 2023 through January 2024.
I spent hundreds of hours re-organizing the web site and attempting to make it useful to members. I am proud of the work I have done so far. It will be interesting to see how much the web site changes once I am gone.
My most ambitious plan was to have a page for each show and a page for each artist. Instead of taking all the photos of the art works myself, I requested that members submit photos to the website. This didn't work well.
I am leaving the structure of the website in place. It is my hope that another webmaster will take up the job in 2024.
January 24, 2024 Member Meeting: I did a hands-on presentation about Artist Trading Cards. Lots of fun!
Members who take part in Thursday's Open Studio were featured as "Artists of the Month" in August.
Although I do not normally exhibit, I wanted to be a part of this event.
So I included this piece, titled "2023 Oueve."
Medium: Prismacolor pencil on watercolor paper
Size: 7: x 9"
This is my kind of art:
Art Educators Show 2023
In September, I was a part of the Art Educators show.
Here is the ATC display.
No one traded from this tray while it was part of the exhibit... but during the weekly Acrylic Painting Workshops that took place from October - January, many cards were traded!
I also tried to get some regular free programs going at the gallery. The first was in January 2023:
In June, I hosted the first "Wonderful Wednesday" class and continued offering various events through January 2024.
This content was once on a "Webmaster's page." When I started cleaning up the website in preparation for a new webmaster in December 2023, I moved this text to my page. It may be interesting to a future webmaster.
DAY 1: Saturday, April 1. I met with Cynthia Stotlar-Hedberg to try to figure out why the new logo was not working on the website.
The advertisements say the "anyone can do it."
Perhaps we are not "anyone."
DAY 12: Wednesday, April 12. Cynthia has spent hours and hours and hours going through all the training modules. I've done a few, and I am not impressed with the quality of the training materials.
The "support staff" has changed our website theme and destroyed the old-fashioned printable calendar. We put that low on the list of priorities and discuss other plans for the website.
The new logo, designed by Sam Newcomb, looks really nice. The theme chosen by the "support staff" has orange text and it looks nice with the logo.
We have lots of ideas for the website. I'm excited and ready to jump into this new venture. Since I do have some experience with websites, Cynthia allows me to take the lead on the website. She'll be doing the bigger job: the monthly newsletter.
DAY 13: Thursday, April 13. I have a lot of fun playing with the web interface. There are a lot of fun things that can be done! I delete some old stuff, re-arrange the menus in a form that makes sense to me, and make changes that will probably bother some people.
Add about SIXTY images to the High School Artists page. The "Photo Gallery GADGET" is really easy to use!
DAY 14: Friday, April 14. I play with some automated features and see some potential for errors. I send out an unclear email warning the others who have 'admin rights" and cause all kinds of confusion. I learn best by DOING.... but when the DOING involves a live website, one must DO things carefully.
Some people are confused. Some people are wondering why an unknown TAG member is sending out emails.
Fortunately, no one fires the volunteer webmaster.
DAY 15: Saturday, April 15. I've been trying to solve the "Calendar Problem."
I spent hours and hours trying.
DAY 16: Sunday, April 16. I felt confident that I could fix "The Calendar Problem."
DAY 17: Monday, April 17. Added the History page, and linked a few old pages so that we don't lose information about older exhibits.
I tried contacting the "support staff." I waited over an hour, watching the queue of 18 people waiting for help slowly count down to zero. Then I spent 45 minutes trying to explain our problem, only to be told that we would need to hire a third party consultant to make the kind of calendar fixes we want.
I wrote a negative review of the hosting company.
I decided it would be best to hold on to it and cool down before posting.
DAY 18: Tuesday, April 18. I continue to write a TAG webmaster manual, so no one else is ever forced to figure out this stuff using the help of "support staff" and "tutorials-that-maybe-worked-in-2018-but-don't-work-now."
DAY 19: Wednesday, April 19. Cynthia is working on the monthly newsletter. I decide that I'll post both the traditional printable PDF that gets mailed each month and and HTML format that will be easier to scroll through on a phone or tablet.
It will be a good way to learn how to use the web interface.
DAYS 21-24: Friday-Monday.
It's a long newsletter. TEN PAGES! Maybe it wasn't such a great idea to publish it in HTML...
The PDF looks is colorful and beautiful. Yay Cynthia!
A LOT is going on at the TOPEKA ART GUILD!
DAY 27: Thursday, April 27. Lin Fredericksen is the first person to send me her information for the "Meet Our Artists" page."
During the weekly Open Studio session, three TAG members experimented with alcohol ink . We took a picture for the website. I was able to post it right away. F-U-N! ! ! ! ! (It's on the "Meet Our Artists" page for now, but eventually I hope to have a page to report the events that occur during Open Studio.)
DAY 23: Make a LOT of changes to the menu and the "About" pages.
Easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
Add a site map and a search function.... but I don't find the search very accurate. NOTE TO SELF: do some research on this.
DAY 28: Friday, April 28. I just fixed my first MAJOR ERROR:
I had the wrong date for the monthly member meeting.
Right on the Home Page.
About three lines down from the top.
Fortunately, the newsletter was correct. (You Go! Cynthia!)
Fortunately, the Events Calendar was correct. (Hurray for either Marie or Phyllis)
Fortunately, some people made it to the meeting on Tuesday, April 25th.
Thanks to Dorethy Hancock for reporting the error. I wish I could promise that it will be the last....
230501 Add the Artist of the Month page for May. Update the Home Page: change the Artist of the Month section, reduce the size of the Reflection section. Small modifications to the Classes page. Change the format of the Webmaster Log. Add a link to the Site Map and the phone number to the footer of both templates. Add a photo album for the Show 2023 Reflection page and a photo album for the Students_2305 page. Experiment with photo resolutions.
230505 Add the Open Studio page. Link it on the Home Page. Late in day: remove First Friday article on Home page. Make two-minute video.
230506 Add the Life Drawing class information on Home Page and Class Page. Create as a three-session EVENT.
230507 Add the Member Questions Page and Discussion about the Back Room.
230509 Remove information about the Annual Meeting from the Home Page and the Template. Completely re-structure the "About" portion of the menu. It no longer has a drop-down. Instead: a list of "basic" links at the top. Add an alphabetical listing on the "Site Map" page.
230510 Add "Spotlight on Afternoon Events" to the Home Page.
230511 On the Home page, add an article about Adisyn Stoler's demonstration for the Open Studio group. Add addtional pictures on the Open Studio page.
230513. Post photo of Annual Meeting, with link to Webmaster's Photo Policy.
230515. Add new members of the Executive Committee, and change references to "Board" to "Committee."
230517 Create Artist of the Month page for Melanie Hutchinson, but do not link it. Make the Members button/page visible to the public, but not the "Child elements." Add photos of the Painting class to the home page and the Open studio page.
230518 Copy Scholarship information from Home page to Scholarship page, in preparation for its removal from Home when the newsletter is published. Add information about the Monthly Member Meeting. Create the Guest Speakers page and place additions information on that page. Update the home page and the Open Studio page.
230519. Post pictures of Dorethy and LuAnn on Executive Committee page. Clean up some old files and pictures. A few weeks to the member questions page.
230522. It was a BadNews/GoodNews kind of morning. The bad news
The website looks TERRIBLE and UNPROFESSIONAL. That orange text looks horrible... I know about layout and colors and ... etc. etc. etc
The problem with the orange text was in the site "Theme." Changing a site theme is a dangerous process. If you have never done web work, you will have a hard time understanding the details, so I won't to into it.
The BAD news: I decided I would change the theme ONE MORE TIME.
The even BADDER news: If it didn't work, TAG was going to lose another web master.
The MODERATELY BAD NEWS: I changed the theme. I was forced to rebuild the menu bar and the login bar on both templates. Then every page needed to be checked for theme inconsistencies. About an hour later, I had the main pages checked. Eventually I will get to the others.
The GOOD news: We no longer have orange text as a default.
So I am grateful for the nudge that caused me to try one more theme change. I DO like the new look.... mostly. But if you have comments such as "I don't like the new background color..." please understand that
Add First Friday poster to Home Page.
230524 THE DREADED Let's Encrypt SSL certificate issue
It was a technical issue that caused everyone who clicked on the PDF link to the newsletter to get a security warning. I didn't have time to deal with the problem until hours later. After a forty-minute wait on the "Help" chat, I got a message that they were working on it. Shortly after, members were able to get their newsletters.
This also brought up a matter of incorrect domain settings. As I write this on Thursday morning, these issues are still not resolved. How many hours are required of a volunteer webmaster in a two-day period? You don't really want to know....
230526 Added info about the Kilmer Bowls on the home page and added a Fundraiser page.
230530 Read a short article about "Branding" your website and added the logo on the orange_banner template and on the Open Studio template. I may just make a template for each of the main categories.... later....
230531. Add photos to the Open Studio page. Update the Class page. On the Home page, change the "What's Going On" column, the "Show" column, and the Artist of the month column. Delete the photo from the annual meeting.
230601. Enter data for two Wonderful Wednesday Workshops. Enter data for June and July Open Studio. 75 minutes. Photos for the Summer exhibit, the Scholarship exhibit, and additional photos for the artist of the month posted. Added the Kucera (scholarship) page and the shows_2023_summer page. Links and small photos on the Home page.
230602. Fix Life Drawing EVENT listing. Create page for Wonderful Wednesday Workshop page and links. Add some historic pictures.
230607. Remove the First Friday ad from the Home page. (I meant to do this on June 3!) Add the article about the 1947 Children's Gallery Hour and a link to Wonderful Wednesdays.
230608. Tidy up some Wonderful Wednesday listings. Add four photos of the Open Studio on the Home page.
230614. Add "Wonderful Wednesday" photos to the Home page. A few other edits, some accidental. Still figuring out gadgets.
230615. Adding this link to the Editorial page. It is pretty well hidden, but that's fine for now.
230618. Add the First Friday page. (A little late...) It is under Events.
230619. Make FF poster and add to home page.
230621. Change the Wonderful Wednesday page. Add the Historic AOM page.
230622. Add Wonderful Wednesday pictures to Home page. Change template to delete reference to Life Drawing class. Add First Friday. Add more elements to the Historic AOM page.
230623. Post newsletter. (recreate and rename PDF) Remove May 23 guest speaker article from Home page. Place on Guest Speakers page.
230624. Add Blog page. Copy and paste first blog entry. Look into giving rights to Joe. Lots of emails back and forth with Cynthia. Add another member to the Meet our Artist's page, even though no bio was sent.
230625. Spent a LOT of time updating the WebmasterTraining page. After two months, I think I have the structure and the page styles that can be used for the next year or so!
230628. Add June 28 article to Home and to WW page.
230628. Add June 29 OS on front page and also, for the first time, place the same gadget right onto the OS page. This could save a lot of work in the future.
230630. Add the "Shows" page and work through many emails to get it updated. Still not complete on 230702.