“From our three perspectives—of regional platforms, an actual artist residency, and as an artist—we realized that we’re all dealing with the same units of information: a page for an artist residency and deadline information,” Simon-Kennedy said when I spoke with the trio late last month. They explained that they’re keenly aware of the tedious data entry and upkeep—usually by hand—required for running an aggregate site, especially given the incessant flow of deadlines. Crucially, they’re also familiar with artists who applied to and experienced such residencies. So, based on the vast, shared data points, the trio devised a proposal that would cover all the bases. Rivet will be a system to aggregate residency information and disseminate it via social media, with email reminders around deadlines, all while giving artists the ability to filter programs by eligibility.
“When we first did our proposal, there were some 50 different businesses out there that were perpetuating deadlines,” Neumann said, noting the various organizations, municipalities, and universities that are trying to help artists apply for residencies. “But it’s just tidbits of information, and most of the information goes out of date very quickly.” Sanz de Santamaria added, “For the residencies, when you have an open call, you put it on your website, you send it out to your email list, you put on four or five different other platforms.” That’s a lot of info and a lot of avenues to maintain. As all the co-founders discovered in running their own sites, the hours spent entering and updating that data will inevitably take away from the core mission: helping artists.
To mitigate the problem, Rivet will focus on automation and efficiency. “With RES, the idea is not to make a system that’s better than everything; we’d like it to function as an engine that all these platforms could essentially tap into, taking from the database and essentially using that for their platforms, like a plugin,” Sanz de Santamaria said. He likened it to the way you might embed a tweet on a website: The plugin will sync with RES, reflecting info and changes—like, say, the date of an open call—across all platforms. “All these other platforms could essentially maintain their own identity and still serve their own audiences. It’s more about collaboration.”