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create / 2014

Proktr LA is bringing art and design to everyday life.

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Proktr

We will place art beyond museum and gallery walls and cover the latest news and events to foster creative discovery.

Please describe yourself.

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

We will place art beyond museum and gallery walls and cover the latest news and events to foster creative discovery.

Does your project impact Los Angeles County?

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • Westside

What is your idea/project in more detail?

  1. We will connect artists to non-traditional spaces to showcase their art in unique and surprising venues.

The more people experience compelling art and design in LA the more they will be inspired by and give back to the immense creativity of the city. We will build a digital platform that facilitates connections between artists and non-traditional venues to maximize how often people experience art and design.

  1. We will highlight what’s happening in the art and design world to promote discovery and dialogue.

Awareness of the art and design world currently requires searching many different websites. Proktr will expand its current coverage to become the one-stop resource for discovering what’s happening now.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

The project will be unrolled in 3 phases:

1) Foundation - 8 weeks

a. Leadership

  • Michelle Paul, founder of Proktr, will serve as chief executive.
  • An advisory board will be formed to help ensure the efficacy of the project. The board will include representation from the established art world, local businesses and digital media experts.

b. Opportunity Assessment. We will conduct research to assess:

  • Artist Engagement: Identify how to best support artists to secure their participation.
  • Venue Engagement: Identify how to best serve venue partners and help drive the goals of their business.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Get in touch with museums, galleries and other invested bodies to identify points of collaboration.
  • Audience Engagement: Conduct research to understand how to best serve current audiences and target new ones.
  • Legal Discovery: Understand the legal assets needed to execute the project at scale.
  • Digital Audit: Find websites that execute similar functions to determine best practices for user experience.

2) Development - 8 weeks

a. Produce a Program Development Strategy.

  • Employ the insights from the opportunity assessment to define strategic imperatives (what program features must be included for the overall project to be successful).
  • Produce a program roadmap that outlines how to bring the program to market that includes:
    1. What organizations to form strategic partnerships with.
    2. How to get artists and venues on to the platform.
    3. The curating/vetting principles that define how we match art and venues.
    4. Editorial plan to ensure comprehensive, compelling coverage of art + design programming.
    5. How to drive broad awareness and traffic to the website (leveraging partnerships, social media, etc.)

b. Digital Development

  • Employ the insights from digital audit to define the precise features of the website for a “beta” launch.
  • Create a beta site to test the functionality of the site among a small, curated community.
  • Refine the website for the public launch.

3) Execution - ongoing

a. Program Launch

  • Execute against the program roadmap.
  • Consistently seek feedback from the advisory board, artists, venues, and users for program refinements and enhancements.

b. Digital Launch

  • Push the website live.
  • Conduct analytics to test and refine the website.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to CREATE today? In 2050?

Proktr will make Los Angeles the best place to create today by increasing the visibility of our creative residents, increasing ease and ability of participating in our creative community and inspiring all Angelenos (not just those already participating in the art world) with art in their everyday lives.

In 2050 Proktr will ensure Los Angeles remains the best place to be an artist or designer and that we are known for that fact. Our reputation as a global leader in art will be solidified and our ability to attract and retain human creative capital will be second to none.

Whom will your project benefit?

Proktr seeks to bring value to the following groups:


  • We will increase their visibility by multiplying the places their work can be discovered.
  • In time, we hope to facilitate the sale of art, contributing to the viability of being an artist in LA.
  • Through our partnerships with curators, we create another avenue of exposure for their work to breakthrough to the traditional art + design institutions and patrons.

Small Businesses:

  • We believe that placing notable, sought out art experiences within local business will make them a destination beyond their standard goods and services and they will gain good will through shared social media and word of mouth.

Museums + Galleries:

  • Proktr will serve as another channel for traditional museums and galleries to be discovered.
  • As an aggregating, one-stop location, museums and galleries will benefit by becoming more visible among people more broadly interested in art and design; not just people specifically interested in their institution. This has particular benefit to smaller, lesser known art and design destinations.
  • By bringing an editorial voice to art and design experiences, Proktr can serve to encourage participation. We will speak to, in a tangible / visual manner, what / why an experience is worth your time - not how it fits in the bigger picture of art criticism.


  • There is a well-documented discrepancy between the current art going public (9% minority) and general public (34% minority). We want to lessen this discrepancy particularly as this city and our nation are projected to be ‘majority-minority’ by the year 2050. By making the best creative work more accessible, more people will have a greater opportunity to become part of the art going public. . Overlooked Neighborhoods
  • Cultural pockets such as Downtown, Westwood, Culver City, or Mid-City are largely separate from neighborhoods where artists live and work such as Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, Cypress Park or Echo Park. Showcasing the work of community members in that community contributes to neighborhood vitality and strong sense of place.

Greater Los Angeles

  • The economy of our city in general can benefit from this non-traditional ‘stimulant’.
  • Our citizens will gain surprise, delight, pride and inspiration from this program.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Sew, a strategy led creative agency based in Los Angeles has committed to joining the advisory board, providing 30 hours a month pro-bono business, marketing and digital consulting, as well as discounted digital and creative development. Sew has produced social impact campaigns, digital products and marketing strategies for brands like Gap, Ford, Verizon Wireless, AAA, 20th Century Fox and more.

Though there are no other confirmed partnerships, warm relationships have been developed through the current production of Protkr at museums such as MOCA, LACMA, The Hammer, SMMOA, PMCA, The Huntington, The Broad and at many galleries in the city. Through these relationships we hope to establish long term partners, advisory board members, and potential editorial contributors.

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Create” metrics?

  • Employment in creative industries
  • Arts establishments per capita
  • Jobs per capita
  • Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”) (Dream Metric)
  • Percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating (Dream Metric)
  • Attendance at cultural events.

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

Employment in creative industries

  • Proktr supports the many artists and designers living and working here. This is largely a self-employed and freelance population. We seek to support the economic and social sustainability of this population.
  • By bringing broad visibility to our art community we will attract and retain creative human capital.

Arts establishments per capita

  • We will help current arts establishments achieve their goals by providing coverage and encouraging attendance.
  • We are re-defining what it means to be an ‘arts establishment’. By facilitating arts partnerships with non-traditional arts venues, we are actually multiplying the number of arts establishments impacting the community.

Jobs per capita

  • Proktr itself will create a network of freelance contributors and will directly provide opportunities.
  • A thriving art community is a documented driver of economic growth (see Otis Creative Economy report) and by encouraging and supporting this community we will contribute to the health of our regional economy.

Measures of cultural and global economic influence

  • Los Angeles is not known as one of the best cities in the world for art. While we are known for our creativity, the perception of our city does not match the current reality. We must work on a grassroots level to shift public perception and increase our local and global cultural influence.

Percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating

  • Our top quality and robust higher education programs in art and design attract talent to the region. By shifting public perception, providing support to artists and increasing employment in creative industries we will help make LA the best place city in the world to be an artist or designer and retain more talent.

Other: Attendance at cultural events

  • Proktr seeks to cover art and design happenings that are actionable and correlate with something to go see, do, or attend. By making more people aware of the options available and targeting a wider audience we will increase physical attendance at cultural events.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

We will evaluate our projects by tracking progress against a few key, primary objectives:

  1. Objective / Artist Participation: We hope to reach artists and gain their participation at a rate to outfit a meaningful number of venues. Against this objective we will track:
    • Number of artists registered to the site per month.
    • Number of artists placed per month.
  2. Objective / Venue Participation: We hope to build partnerships with venues at a rate to place a meaningful amount of art. Against this objective we will track:
    • Numbers of venues registered to the site per month.
    • Number of venues outfitted with art per month.
  3. Objective / Public Engagement With Art + Design Activities: We hope to drive greater awareness and participation in the art and design community among the LA community – specifically among millennials (whom museums identify as the group they need to reach most). Against this objective we will track:
    • Site traffic to Proktr, with a specific focus on editorial pages and event listings. We will track unique visits, time on site, repeat visits, and participation (comments).
    • Digital reach of Proktr editorial content - Leveraging our Sew partnership, track the organic reach of Proktr content by tracking shares throughout social media in relation to the size of their corresponding audiences.
    • Attendance to art + design events – we will form partnerships with institutions to drive people (specifically millennials) to their events and we will measure the impact on their attendance relative to their historical averages.

Future Goals (Things we would like to build toward over time):

  • Increased diversity of the museum-going population at partnered institutions.
  • More millennial museum attendees at partner institutions.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

Los Angeles has the most artists and designers living and working here of any major city in the US. At this moment our city is vibrant with creativity, however the general public perception doesn’t necessarily acknowledge this. Injecting art into the everyday lives of people living or visiting here will help ultimately shift perspective, and help make this city reflect more of who we really are now, and in the future.

The decentralized makeup of our city poses challenges to traditional art engagement. Cities like New York or Chicago have an established center where art lives. We on the other hand, have many ‘centers’. This impacts the solution in two ways. First, providing expanded coverage of what is going on allows people to decide if it’s worth crossing town to see something. Second, people are less likely to stumble upon creative work here than in other cities so making that easy (both physically and digitally) is imperative in creating cultural impact.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

The implementation plan above lays out a timeline for the next twelve months. Additionally:

  1. Momentum already exists: In creating Proktr in it’s current form, we’ve established relationships with people throughout the creative community. People have been incredibly supportive and we will engage this community to drive progress.

  2. Others are invested in solving this problem: In establishing relationships with museums we’ve discovered they are working to figure out how to attract younger, more diverse attendees to ensure their future relevancy as well as how to best leverage the digital tools to do so. They have proven to be interested in Proktr’s progress because if successful, it will develop a creative constituency in LA that more closely reflects who they want to engage as opposed to who they currently reach.

  3. An experienced, invested partner in Sew: Sew has a track record of success in developing complex strategies, marketing initiatives, and digital products for some of the world’s largest brands. Their experience will help navigate everything from editorial strategies and digital productions to strategic partnerships and analytics while reducing costs across the board.

  4. Thoughtful execution: We’re not prematurely committed to a specific strategy in bringing this program to life. By beginning with research and thoughtful testing, we can have the best understanding possible of what will be required to truly drive participation by the parties we are looking to engage.

  5. The barriers to entry are low: With a clearly defined value proposition, little to no money exchanging hands, and no new behaviors to learn, we believe the program will resonate. Participants have little to lose and hopefully much to gain, and we believe we can be successful in making an impact.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

  1. Generating Awareness of the Platform a. Creating a critical mass of awareness to drive participation is not something we believe will come easy. Building partnerships, finding PR resources and considering paid media investments are all things we have to consider in figuring out how to drive engagement. We intend to take action in a few ways:
    • Working with the artists and venues to drive peer-to-peer awareness through their social media channels.
    • Pursuing pro-bono/donated or low cost PR resources and media placement.
    • Identifying highly regarded editorial contributors for paid posts that can leverage their following and a cultural moment to drive buzz moments.
    • Forming partnerships with established entities in the art and design world where we exchange content, promotion or expertise for social media support.
  2. Developing Trust With Our Ability to Curate
    • We know that the types of boutiques and spaces that artists would like to show in are not going to offer up their walls for any art. They have thoughtful brands they are trying to maintain with every touchpoint. Establishing credibility through our curatorial advisory board and ensuring the Proktr brand is appealing is critical to our mission. It will be a challenge to figure that balance out, but we believe it is achievable through stakeholder engagement and trial and error (starting small and discovering what works).

What resources does your project need?

  • Network/relationship support
  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)