Web Hosting for Artists

The Present Group, one of my favorite organizations, recently announced their latest endeavor: Web Hosting that Supports Artists.  “Web hosting is something many of us are paying for anyway,” says co-director Oliver Wise, “we wanted to give people a choice to do something good with those dollars.  Instead of the profits going to a faceless company, we’ll recognize worthy artists and fund artist projects that we collectively choose.”

In addition to your hosting dollars going towards supporting artists, TPG’s hosting makes it easier for artists to put up their own portfolio sites by offering free installation of WordPress or Indexhibit.  They also skip glitchy and spammy webmail portals by powering your email access with Gmail.  Users still get their own email addresses at their domain (like “[email protected]”), but access and management is through Gmail’s secure and familiar interface.  Of course, you can also still check your e-mail through a program like Apple Mail or Microsoft Outlook if you prefer.

I think the work that these guys do is great, and I signed up for TPG hosting immediately for my new portfolio site.  It’s only $7/month, which is way cheaper than my old GoDaddy account, and MUCH simpler to deal with.  It was super smooth sailing setting everything up and I haven’t had a single question or glitch.  I used the WordPress installation to run my site, and now I can easily add new info without having to muck around in a bunch of code.

Every hosting client gets to nominate artists each granting period within a chosen theme.  We also get to vote on the final grant recipient.  For their first grant, The Present Group is teaming up with the Collective Foundation to create a $1000 travel grant for an artist in the Bay Area.  Investigating the question of why many Bay Area artists choose to leave once their careers really start to take off, Joseph del Pesco, co-founder of The Collective Foundation, theorizes  “if Bay Area artists had support for mobility…they would be more likely to stay.”

Since I have a hosted site, I get to nominate a Bay Area artist who I think would benefit from this $1000 travel grant.  Who do you folks think it should be?  Feel free to post your own nominations in the comments, or even better, sign up for your own artist web site and make sure that grant actually happens.  Only 13 more artists are needed!

And just in case you needed another reason why The Present Group rocks the free world (which you don’t), they’ve already provided free hosting to the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs! It’s just one more way they’re helping artists live the dream of turning their passion into a living.

(Psst! I also heard a rumor that TPG hosting may start offering exclusive free portfolio templates that are simple, gorgeous, and ready to go.  Just add your own text and pictures and voila!  Fully-baked portfolio site.  In the meantime, both WordPress and Inexhibit have free themes to choose from, or you can hire us at Burning House to make you a custom one.)

The Present Group was founded in 2006 by Eleanor and Oliver Wise out of the desire to create affordable and sustainable models for funding artists. In their first three years, their quarterly subscription art service has channeled over $20,000 toward funding artist projects, stipends, and development of critical essays. The Present Group Web Hosting is yet another attempt to create a sustainable revenue stream for artist grants.

Quick Step: Add a Favicon

A favicon is the tiny square image that appears next to the address bar in your browser. Adding a favicon to your web site takes less than five minutes.  You can do it while you wait for your tea kettle to whistle and it really tightens up your image.  A favicon completes the branding of your web site, makes it easier for people to find you in their bookmarks/favorites, and shows the world that you pay attention to detail.

Favicons are only 16 x 16 pixels, so the images used for them are very simple (often logos).  To make your own favicon:

  1. Crop your logo (or another image evocative of your business)to a perfect square, using an image-editing tool like Photoshop.  OR, use a tool like favicon.cc to draw your image pixel by pixel.
  2. Reduce the image to 16 x 16 pixels to see how it will look.
  3. Save your image as a GIF or JPEG.
  4. Visit Dynamic Drive and upload your image.
  5. Click the “create icon” button.
  6. Download your favicon and save it somewhere you’ll be able to find it.  Do NOT change the name of this file.  It needs to be called “favicon.ico” in order for browsers to recognize it.
  7. Upload the favicon to the server where you host your web site.
  8. Paste the following line of code into the <head> section of the pages on your site: <link rel=”shortcut icon” type=”image/x-icon” href=”/favicon.ico”>

You may have to wait a few hours before the favicon starts showing up in browsers.  If you still don’t see it the next day, you may have made a small mistake somewhere along the way.  Check to make sure you haven’t changed the name of the file, and that your favicon is saved into the same folder as all of the pages on your web site.  If you’ve put it in a separate folder like “/images,” then the code in the <head> will need to say href=”images/favicon.ico” instead.