An article in the art magazine Frieze talks about “a disconnect between having social media resources and actually employing them to engage various audiences […].” Lauren Cornell, executive director of the technology-focused art organization Rhizome, writes that “institutions could amplify their educational and social role by publishing – daily and online – a great deal more history, opinion, context and anecdote around their activities, rather than just issuing press releases and visitor information.”
I heartily agree and can point to one example of an art museum that is actually doing this, albeit because they were forced to. The Christchurch Art Gallery has been closed to the public since the big February earthquake. That prompted the gallery staff to utilize their blog more, to keep the art gallery ‘open’ at least in an online way.
In its aptly named Bunker Notes blog, the Christchurch Art Gallery has been posting art and commentary daily.
Acting Director Blair Jackson wrote in June about the increased Web activities of the Christchurch Art Gallery:
“Among the projects we’re working on are some exciting website developments, which will not only allow us to better present online exhibitions, but will allow you to curate, save and share shows. We’re also developing our mobile-web capabilities to keep us at the forefront of new technology use by galleries. And we’ve really got stuck into the blogging, pouring out tons of new content and commentary to keep art on all of our minds.”
Other art museums and galleries around the world are fortunate to still have an offline presence, but they can learn a lot from the Christchurch Art Gallery in regards to using the Web to highlight art works, tell stories and engage with their community.