The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Chicago 2011, August 20-21

Near NorthWest Arts Council

The Near NorthWest Arts Council, NNWAC, was founded by artists, social workers and teachers, with a dream to create an environment conducive to create work, rather than organizing a grass roots population thrown under the bus of investment. In 1984, this put a new twist on a local arts council, and NNWAC positioned itself to focus on economic opportunities for artists. NNWAC programs demonstrate that culture brings together neighbors from a wide range and celebrates our diversity.

This was before the Wicker Park gentrification, and demonstrates a naturally occuring art district populated by creative inspired in placemaking activities. Artists are historically diverse yet underserved population, with high rates of under-employment yet entrepreneurial nature, well educated yet marginalized.



NNWAC initiated the Flat Iron Building as an arts incubator, and arts district anchor. NNWAC organized artists to design, build and manage a 25 unit work/live development to serve low income artists and their families. The rehab and adaptive reuse of a derelict factory building incorporated energy efficient systems, coupled with legal restrictions to protect against market speculation. NNWAC is currently working to facilitate the design and financing for a permanent home for multi-disciplinary arts.

What new functionality we are looking for

A database driven, open source content management system

- that staff and volunteers can update;

- that e-commerce system can be added;

- that a database can be created and maintained listing venues, opportunities and artists/creative services.

How the new functionality will help

NNWAC needs a more sophisticated website:

- to become more effective at matching opportunities between local business, artists/creatives and residents;

- to offer cost effective services, when funding and contributed income is decreasing, yet interest in creative activities is increasing;

- to attract, manage and increase membership;

- to create an environment that supports creative work,that is viable, inclusive, diverse, just and equitable.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Our Mission

NNWAC was founded by artists, teachers, and social activists. The purpose continues to resonate after twenty five years: to share the power of creativity building a network of resources that supports a vibrant arts environment, in a neighborhood context. Why do we need culture? And what does culture do for community? It adds value, attracts investment, engages students more deeply, builds and sustains social groups. All human intelligence including scientific and political knowledge is derived from artistic creativity. Everyone needs to be creative.