MICA MPS Capstone
UI & UX Design, User Research, Prototyping
Feb 2021 – Apr 2021
Artcade is a mobile application that matches artists with funding opportunities based on their preferences. Rather than searching the internet for hours, artists can use key terms and demographics to create a profile on our platform. We will use data science to match artists with financial opportunities tailored to their individual identities, bringing a human touch and a seamless user experience to the funding process.
Artists find they do not have the funding, network or business acumen to develop self sufficient, and financially secure art careers after leaving school
How It Started
At the beginning of June 2020 I sampled 28 Howard Art Students between the ages of 18- 35 to identify what they lacked in their current training. What I found was art students do not feel they receive sufficient training to market their skills and find professional work opportunities.
What I found was art students do not feel they receive sufficient training to market their skills and find professional work opportunities.
64% of students listed financing and selling art as an obstacle
43% of students stated finding funding for their artwork as an obstacle
36% of students wish there was more information to gain leverage with financial institutions funding art
60% of students struggled with finding mentorships
60% of these students wish there was more information on how to craft an artist statement and how to apply to jobs as an artist
It was wonderful to get all this insight, but it was clear this was a big problem to solve.
My initial plan was to create an online development platform that partners with organizations and universities to provide visual artists with 21st century business acumen and career opportunities.
With the pandemic causing a loss of $150 billion in sales and 2.7 million jobs in America’s creative industry, I quickly began to pivot. In fact, in early March I put a newsletter out with funding opportunities and saw a 80% open rate within minutes of me sending the email.
To identify how artists and local art organizations manage funding opportunities I conducted user interviews. I was able to interview 5 artists, and 1 program manager.
After completing our interview and synthesizing our desk research, I split the findings into two categories for the two users types: Artists, and Community Organizers.
Key Insights from Artists
• The amount of a funding opportunity is important because it determines whether I will apply to a grant or not
• 100% of participants mentioned filling out personal information in applications was the most repetitive step
• The values of an organization providing funding determines if I will apply to an opportunity
• There is no centralized location for artist opportunities
Key Insights from Community Organizers
- • Creating guidelines and applications is the most repetitive part of the funding process
- • The program manager would like the community run the grants, so they can focus on workshops, and townhalls
- • Since the pandemic, the organization has been able to support 400 artists versus 80 in previous years
- • Virtual communication has made it easier to support artists
Create an an online platform that helps artists to acquire funding, fellowships or residencies in a personalized, simple, and transparent way.
Through partnerships with local art organizations, Artcade allows artists to use key terms and demographics to create a profile on our platform, rather than search for hours on google. We will use data science to match artists with financial opportunities tailored to their individual identities, bringing a human touch and a seamless user experience to the funding process.
To better understand how to bring local art organizations onto the application, I will be conducting additional user interviews with program managers and administrations from various organizations. In addition I will be exploring ways to make ArtCade profitable and determine a revenue model.
The ArtCade prototype was well received. One of the testers is building an art organization and interested in licensing the app once developed.
Taking the time to step away from each and returning to ask yourself what went well, and how you can improve next is essential to polishing your design skills. Below are some bullet points sharing my thoughts
What went well?
• Using Trello for project management was fantastic. This tool kept us organized from start to finish.
• I received some awesome insights from various artists, and I was glad to hear their feedback
What could improve next time?
• Managing the scope of my features better