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What next for ArtBabble?

It’s amazing how time flies.  It seems like yesterday that ArtBabble officially launched, all the way back in April.  I remember many of the IMA staff, and even our friends at Art:21 working into the early hours of the night to make sure everything was ready for the launch.  I might have even enjoyed a glass of scotch to celebrate when I finally went to bed around 3am.  It was a proud accomplishment for many of us at the IMA who had poured a tremendous amount of effort into creating the site.  On top of that, we were beyond thrilled to partner with organizations like Art:21, LACMA, SFMoMA, MoMA, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and NYPL.

But, you might be quick to point out, that’s yesterdays news.  And you’re right.

Play Art Loud!

Goodies on ArtBabble

On Tuesday Kate wrote a brief news story on ArtBabble’s front page, so I thought I would expand on that.

What have we been doing since April?  A lot.  After the launch, we received a tremendous amount of requests on how to become an ArtBabble partner.  It was slightly overwhelming, but also inspiring.  We went through the process of assessing all of the requests, working closely with our original partners as advisers (actually setting up an Advisory Group), to identify the next steps and next batch of video content.  Since IMA staff run ArtBabble (kind of like a second job) we had to figure out the balance of growing ArtBabble and keeping up with all the other projects at IMA – the blog, exhibition(s) planning, video production, Flickr, an iPod Touch tour, grant writing, Bird cams, office pranks, meetings, you get the picture…This meant instead of adding 40 new partners at once, we had to consider adding in stages.  Somewhere in the middle of this, we added a new Goodies page on the site, and started a Play Art Loud Flickr group featuring AB bumper stickers.

So, the next step is a Phase Two launch of ArtBabble on Tuesday, July 28. Mark your calendars!  We’re talking lots of new partners, lots of new videos, and a more diverse selection of art content.  This Phase Two launch will be followed with more rolling launches as we’re able to manage the new partner relationships and content preparation for AB.  It’s all leading to what we hope will be the premier destination for viewing art videos online.

So, please feel free to help spread the word about July 28.  I would love to hear any comments, theories or suggestions for next ArtBabble steps. And we still have lots of bumper stickers.

Play Art Loud!

More ArtBabble Goodies

In the midst of writing this post, I announced it on Twitter, soliciting questions about ArtBabble.  Below, you’ll find the list of some of those questions, with my responses.

Why create something new instead of just using a channel on YouTube? Long list of reasons – improved art search results, the prospect of creating an art-focused video community, the ability to create a space managed by museum professionals, incredible video quality, transcriptions, the Notes that appear to the right of each video, a chance to seize a real opportunity online….

How did ArtBabble get championed in-house and how did it get funded? We already had a successful  in-house video team, and were already developing Web sites in-house.  Max Anderson, Rob Stein and I had been talking about some version of IMA TV for a couple of years – ArtBabble seemed like the best approach (something more relavant than just IMA content).  Since video and web development were already a big part of IMA efforts, it was a pretty straight project forward to initiate. The site was developed entirely in-house by IMA staff, with support from the top down, and was funded by a grant from the Ball Brothers Foundation.

If y’all got any do-overs w/ respect to ArtBabble, what would you change? Such a tough question. More videos, and more partners, but this will take time.  And, I would love some Robot Art content (but that’s me).

How will the site evolve? In terms of content and partners, it will evolve through these rolling launches as quickly as IMA staff can handle this process.  The actual site will evolve with new features…but that’s further down the line.

Could a visitor contribute? Not right now (except for comments), but it’s something we’re thinking about.  So, who knows in the future…

Babble On!

Filed under: New Media, Technology

6 Responses to “What next for ArtBabble?”

  • avatar
    Jenny Mikulay Says:

    Nice to hear what’s coming next!

  • avatar

    Just gotta say, I’m very impressed with Art Babble. Period.

  • avatar

    Great post and congrats on your success so far. All of the long hours have paid off — your hard work is really evident to ArtBabble users.

  • avatar

    Very excited about the expanding of ArtBabble. I’m introducing it to our institution’s docents in stages starting this Monday, so they can begin using it as a learning resource. I will also be incorporating the site into our new docent training which begins this fall (along with and other online resources that have the potential to pull art history learing away from its dependence on the printed page and into cyberspace). Many thanks to all at the IMA and partners for this invaluable tool!

  • avatar

    ArtBabble is an important achievement for the museum community — aggregating content together, annotating videos with different types of content from different places…breaking down the walls so we can co-exist in cyberspace…!

    Mike — we THRILLED to hear you will use Smarthistory in docent training! Would love to hear more – please email us at or

  • avatar

    Thank you ALL so much for the thoughtful comments.

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