Thursday, March 8, 2012

Farewell Slideshow...

-Still photographs of urban artwork provided by Monica Macellari

Thank you, Pilsen!!

--Monica Macellari, Katherine Hall, Amanda Boleman, and Irish Mae Silvestre

Monday, March 5, 2012

TPP: Some Final Thoughts And a Thank You

As my classmates Amanda and Monica have already said quite eloquently, a great deal was learned and accomplished over the past few weeks. We have had the pleasure of working with a terrific artist and his site. We have learned an unbelievable amount, not just about social media, network and producing content for online news, but about a vibrant, fun, and all-around cool community. So I won't belabor the points made by my classmates (good points all). Instead, I would like, on behalf of the Pilsen Project, to extend my sincerest thanks to Pilsen and its artists for welcoming us into their community, taking time to talk with us, and sharing with us your enthusiasm for what you do and the neighborhood you call home.

A project like this is only as successful--or indeed as interesting--as the subject matter allows it to be. As our statistics showed over the past four weeks (almost 2,000 unique views in under four weeks!) The Pilsen Project was quite successful, if we do say so ourselves. We couldn't have accomplished that without the Pilsen art community, who effectively made this project as colorful and fun as it was.

So thank you Miguel Cortez, Jeriah Hildwine, Saul Aguirre, Alvaro Sahagun, Rebecca Beachy, Kate Bowen and all the other artists who took the time to speak with us about art, about community, and the subtle (and not so subtle!) intersections between the two. We could not have done this without you.

Katherine H.

Reflection: The Pilsen Project

I can’t believe how quickly the past four weeks have gone by!

At the beginning of February (Week One), we teamed up with Miguel Cortez  of Art Pilsen to attract followers for his blog and social media platforms and increase his overall digital presence.

With Week Four coming to a close, we asked Cortez his after thoughts on working with The Pilsen Project and learned that our efforts did have an impact on Art Pilsen and we all made some great connections and contacts.

The Pilsen Project: Did we help increase traffic to the Art Pilsen website, Twitter page or Facebook account?  Miguel Cortez: YES

TPP: Did we provide more in-depth coverage for your site?  MC: YES

TPP: What did you take away from working with us?
MC: I met several very cool people.

TPP: Is this something you would consider doing again?  MC: YES

TPP: What could we have done differently? MC: It was all fine.

Art Pilsen increased its Total Likes on Facebook and had its Most Popular Week starting on February 12-20 (Week Two of The Pilsen Project)! 

Working with the Pilsen art community was a truly unique experience and I hope that Art Pilsen will continue to grow and improve along with the community itself.

Amanda B.

P.S. Since December, Art Pilsen has steadily increased its number of followers on Twitter and is now being followed by 401 people. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Art In Other Forms: Dance (Part 1 of 2)

Over the past four weeks, we have been introduced to the thriving Pilsen art community and have talked to artists working with every medium imaginable. 

Whether working with a paintbrush, a camera or simply their own body, these artists have shown us that art is not easily definable to one way, shape or form. 

We've also learned over the course of the last few weeks that the art community in Pilsen is highly connected and supportive of one another's work. 

Local Clinard Dance Theatre is no exception. 

In 2010, Clinard Dance launched a community outreach program that brought together many Pilsen artists in the communities' parks and integrated the flamenco style of the theatre into the parks' landscapes. 

From the Pilsen tradition, Clinard invited a muralist to draw their performance at Harrison Park and danced as matadors for the community to see. 

Clinard Dance Theatre is a contemporary dance company with flamenco roots. They offer dance classes for flamenco firsts to those more advanced. The Winter Session is on now through April 7th.

For more information, check out:

Amanda B.

Art in Other Forms: Music (Part 2 of 2)

Part of Pilsen’s appeal to local, independent musicians is its sheer number of recording studios, stages, and other venues for meeting musicians, producing, and playing music. The community's openness to new sounds, and its tight-knit DIY vibe makes this the ideal place to meet and work with like-minded folks in the music industry. Below is a sampler of some of those places. Check out the map for more listings!

ApeTrax Recording Studios--Located on the corner of 18th and South Peoria, ApeTrax is a recording studio which caters to a wide variety of sounds. While their web page has not been updated recently, the images of their newly updated studio are impressive, as is their list of past clients. ApeTrax specializes in “providing artists with excellent quality audio in an affordable and relaxed environment.”

Mariachi Mexico Vivo—formed in 2005, this Pilsen-area group of eight gives a nod to the neighborhood’s Mexican roots. As their name suggests, Mariachi Mexico Vivo specializes in traditional mariachi music, an energetic and upbeat style native to Mexico. They have played for a number of events and at concerts, including a 2008 appearance with Gloria Trevi, a Mexican pop-rock musician, at the Congress Theater.

Miller Street Studios--Specializing in urban music and hip hop sound, Miller Street Studios heralds itself as offering the “highest quality recording capabilities for the lowest rates in Chicago.” They are active in social media, and their blog (managed by the owners and interns) is used not just to promote artists at the studio, but to discuss musical genre, aesthetics, and what makes "good" sound.

Click on the map below to see more studios, stores, and music venues!

Katherine H.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The end is near...

After four weeks of working on Project Pilsen, our experiment is coming to a close...
As a group we initially hoped to attract followers to the blog Art Pilsen, and using social media tools--promote the interactivity of the site.  Though I think we succeeded in our efforts, here are a few additional conclusions I have drawn over the course of the study.

1.) Small sites=huge impact
 I was very surprised by the positive feedback of community members in response to our blog...Whether they be neighborhood artists, or Pilsen natives--everyone was eager to get involved with the project.

2.) Sites like Art Pilsen, are often run by motivated, charismatic individuals--who have a great idea, and want to display it for the public (case in point Miguel Cortez)...The problem is--they have full time jobs in addition to running blogs and news pages.  We were able to provide some extra manpower for Art Pilsen (needed to reach a larger population of users), however, most sites don't have the volunteers or the resources to fund employees.

3.) It took a lot of work, thought, and time to manage a running blog! I found it extremely difficult to constantly post new, thought-provoking material for readers.  You want to impress your audience with your findings and encourage feedback, but often times I felt as if I was reiterating thoughts--or struggling to be innovative.

Hopefully, as a group we can continue to work with ArtPilsen in the future--even if it means less frequently.  I want to see neighborhood sites like this one succeed...

-Monica M.