As you saw in Shelley’s previous post, we were thrilled about the level of participation over the open studio weekend. At the same time, we remained anxious about how many of the 4,929 eligible voters (those who checked in to more than 5 studios) would continue their engagement into the nomination phase. We anticipated that we would lose some people, but again, as has often happened with GO, we have been pleasantly surprised with the results.
Our nomination period ended on Tuesday night. We received 9,457 nominations over seven days. Of the eligible voters, 78% of them took the next step to recommend artists. While we allowed visitors to select up to three artists, many chose fewer—23% nominated 1 artist; 10% nominated 2 artists; and 67% nominated 3 artists.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this phase, however, has been that many visitors also took the time to leave provide comments and feedback. Using the virtual guest book feature on the website, visitors left a total of 2,289 comments for artists, ranging from short notes such as “great work” to longer, detailed ones about experiences in the artists’ studios. We have also received 361 responses via “Share Your Story.” These have run the gamut from surprises and disappointments to troubles with technology and the MTA, but almost always offering advice if we repeat the project. We will be releasing this feedback in its entirety on the website, but in the meantime, we are highlighting selected stories on the homepage.
So, what happens next?
We will announce the names of the top ten nominated artists on or about September 25. We are looking at the results with a careful eye (and some fancy programming) to ensure that each artist who has been nominated is eligible according to our terms. I will then visit those artists’ studios along with a curatorial colleague and select the work for the exhibition. The featured artists will come from those nominated by the community, but the focus and structure of the show (particularly what themes may emerge from conversations with the artists as well as how many artists will be included) is all up for grabs.
In the meantime, our web team has also been analyzing the statistics from the weekend to better understand the activity. As a bit of a teaser, we have added a heat map to the homepage, which beautifully visualizes the overall activity over the weekend.
Sharon Matt Atkins joined the Brooklyn Museum in 2009 and is the Managing Curator of Exhibitions, overseeing the Museum’s exhibition program. She is the co-organizer of GO: a community-curated open studio project, with Shelley Bernstein. She has coordinated and facilitated numerous special exhibitions, including Andy Warhol: The Last Decade and Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. Prior to her move to Brooklyn, Atkins had been the Assistant Curator at the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire.