"An artist's mecca. The creative inspiration from the content is what makes the site." —juror Oscar Llarena
"Innovative curating approach and support of the arts." —juror Véronique Brossier
Overview: Celebrating art, creativity and innovation, this site launched in 2010 to showcase the work of the artists who AOL has supported, promoted and worked with over the past year. With a clear, streamlined nav and a visual design that drops back so the art can be appreciated, the site is an appropriate platform for the colorful display of more than 81 artists and 202 commissions. In the gallery, brief bios and quick questionnaires offer insight into the artists and links out to their Web sites create an additional bit of promotion. The site is kept fresh with a newsfeed of AOL in the creative community and a newly launched canvas section where visitors can select backgrounds for their AOL homepages.
• BlogSmith is used to manage all site content.
• The site receives on average 300 submissions monthly that are considered for commission or collaboration.
• The site receives 1.2 million page views and more than 900,000 unique visitors per month.
Comments by Nikki Macaluso:
How do you decide whom to feature? "Each collection of work we commission is an evolution in what we are doing with the brand and has a different story and objective. We started with photography, graphic design and illustration, and now have expanded the breadth and depth of our commissions to include sculpture, collage and found objects. We continue to magnify our global reach, and hope to expand our collections to have a more thematic nature in the future, while also carrying a compelling narrative. After a rigorous submission process, we select the work and the artists that we feel are a great fit for AOL and the AOL Artists community."
How does the exposure affect the artists? "The exposure is extremely important to our artists and we're determined in our effort to create and maintain a community of artists whose careers we nurture and support. We utilize the AOL Artists site and social networks to promote our artists on a very frequent basis. We encourage our artists to keep us up to date with upcoming shows, new work and various projects so we can actively promote them throughout the site and on our Twitter feed. Many of them have received commissions from individuals who have found them through our site."