In my opinion, there isn’t enough dissemination and activity in the art field in Lebanon . The domain is more or less stagnant. There is a number of galleries, of which only a few has a presence on the web, and the ones who do, do not have a properly designed website for the dissemination of information. That is on one hand. On the other, none of the art galleries promote artistic opportunities. No call for papers, no call for exhibition proposals, no art competitions, no call for artists, no publicity for rare art workshops, no interaction amongst the galleries.
I would be harshly judging the art galleries in Lebanon, but on the other hand, there is only less than a handful of art museums, of which less than that have any presence on the web, or any information disseminated to the public. Not to speak of all the universities in Lebanon, who have an art program, and yet, no permanent exhibition space for emerging artists, and if they had, their existence is as good as if they did not exist, since there is no information of them on the web at all.
There are only a few handful websites on Lebanese art and artists, of which Ashkal Alwan would probably rank among the best. Still, their monthly newsletter, that provides vital information about the art scene in Lebanon, is not syndicated, which renders it useless for any web application and spread of information, unless you copy and paste by hand all these events. The rest of the information on their website has not been updated for a while.
So, how can we rectify all these problems?
Some simple steps could be taken to do that:
1- Start a news blog. A blog is more than just information. It is “Syndicated Information”. This syndication could be used in a million ways, and it could be disseminated on the internet very easily. This will produce exposure, and it will also spread the name of the gallery or the museum all over the net.
2- Start a calendar. Not just any calendar though. A “Google” calendar is a good calendar, because all the events on it are “syndicated”. Again “Syndication” is the most important factor on the web these days. If you are not syndicated, your exposure and the exposure of your events is close to negligent. A google calendar is extremely easy to set up, and it has to be made public so that anyone can access it.
3- Have a newsletter. Have a subscription, and a newsletter for all your events. Send out routine emails about what is happening.
4- Have a Facebook group for your organization. There are millions of Lebanese on facebook, and all you need is to create a group and maintain it.
This might seem a lot for some, but it is actually not. You see, once your information is syndicated, it becomes easy to implement across various websites. Interested people will pick up, and add your events to their online calendars and RSS feeds. Your information will be proliferated to millions across the planet.
By Maroun Kassab