Train Going Everywhere
Art Feeds is one of those homegrown organizations that grew up and rocked the world. Literally. A 19-year-old girl found a way to help a child, created programming for entires schools, expanded into the district, and is now bringing Art Feeds to the nation.
Art Feeds provides therapeutic art programming to elementary schools, coordinates mural projects, and provides community crisis therapeutic art projects. Through consistent programming and developing relationships, Art Feeds equips children to cope with stress and trauma and is better able to detect a child in need.
One of our favorite stories is children in a local elementary school learning sweet dance moves. A dance instructor introduced African tribal dance, revealing how the basic moves represented their community's experiences. Together, the class and teachers pantomimed planting seed, thankfulness for the sun, and reaping the harvest to tribal music.
Once the children were able to see how body movement could be used to communicate their lives, she asked them to make their own. Inspired by their world after the Joplin tornado, they began talking through body movement about what they saw and did.
The younger children pantomimed their parents washing salvaged dishes, folding donated clothes and delivering hugs to neighbors. As the classes got older, the movements changed to how the children themselves helped picking up debris, sorting cans of food, and giving hugs.
One of the older students shared about being the only one small enough to pull people from the rubble.The entire class, students and teachers, joined in dance as a tribe--holding both arms out, reaching down to the ground, and pulling people up to safety.
When the tornado hit this boy was eight years old. And while he may have had a singular experience, the community in that classroom shared it with him.
On and On and On and On
As Art Feeds serves and thrives, they are invited to other communities. Their site was attractive and functional, but it can't accommodate a national expansion. They needed a site that would unify Art Feeds chapters while maintaining individual content and branding.
Art Feeds knows Midwestern Interactive, some of us personally, and they know what we can do. And we know what they could do with a monster website. When they asked, we didn't hesitate.
Midwestern Interactive developed a national stage upon which Art Feeds could share their organization with the world. Here they could post about the organization and all the good they're doing while allowing each chapter to have it's particular personality and manageability.
Art Feeds has been featured on many national television shows, awards ceremonies, and news coverage. They need a presence so new fans can easily find them. Typically Search Engine Optimization brings ideas about content and key words and links. But the power of SEO is the interconnectedness within the website. So Art Feeds wanting to engage their chapters as one organization but also individual is ideal.
Each chapter is able to display unique content, giving Art Feeds a huge web presence and, as a result, SEO advantage. Chapter administrators are empowered to edit their individual sites, alleviating the national team's workload and providing customized chapter news, information, and social media.
Speaking of reducing work, unifying the chapters, and dominating SEO, we made Art Feeds' site a social-sharing engine. Every chapter can post on the blog. Every blog post and media item on the site can be shared to Facebook and Twitter. The photo gallery pulls photos from Instagram linked with specific hashtags. Even the shop is linked with social media.
These connections make Art Feeds presence on the web stronger for SEO, but they also provide multiple avenues for fans to connect.
Providing therapeutic art experiences should be as simple as walking in the door and playing with children, but Art Feeds' coordination and growth happens behind the scenes. Midwestern Interactive developed the site to take care of as much of the logistics as possible, giving staff more time to build the organization and serve communities.
We made the Art Feeds' website the initial contact for communities wishing to become new chapters. Individuals find comprehensive information and are even able to sign up through the site. Once a chapter is established, Art Feeds can initiate the chapter marketing site so it is consistent with the national brand and brought in as one of their own.
Once a community has become an Art Feeds chapter, they will have customized access to the website's backstage. Here they can develop profiles for each venue (school, service organization, location), assign educators, schedule curriculum, create events, post blogs and send notifications to parents and educators. Public information such as events and an overview of the curriculum is automatically sent to the public website, so there's no duplicate work.
Art Feeds also needed quality control for their educators, so we created a pass/fail testing program to alleviate the certification process. Individuals aren't able to gain access to curriculum or be active in scheduling until passing the test.
Art Feeds wants their parents to be involved, provide feedback and hold them accountable. So we provided a backstage pass! Every parent can log into a simplified version of the back end of the website to access curriculum and events.
Curriculum Set List
Art Feeds has developed hundreds of lessons that can be adapted for chapter and school needs. Curriculum includes educational goals, prep and materials, instruction, customization for individual work as well as age groups, and guidance for the unique opportunities Art Feeds provides for connecting with students. Basically, everything you need to guide a class.
Midwestern Interactive organized these resources on the cloud with simple navigation. Each chapter is provided with a customized set list of curriculum they can access, schedule and assign. Educators can then access the curriculum before bringing it to the kids.
One of the most effective features of backstage is a forum where educators can find support as well as provide feedback for continuous improvement. This used to be a face-to-face, at best paper based, time-sucking task, but now it's in one place, ready to be addressed by the appropriate person.
Makin' It Big
In less than seven years, Art Feeds grew from feeding the heart and mind of one child to impacting the lives of over 24,000 children. We can't stop believing in our hometown girl as she reaches out to the children in this lonely world.
With a powerhouse website, Art Feeds can accommodate their national expansion to reach even more children. And as their organization grows in numbers and features, we will help their website grow, too. With this kind of web support, Art Feeds can go anywhere!