Spellerberg Associates

Research, design and development for artists, museums and cultural institutions

Helping Cultural Institutions Adapt to COVID-19

The pandemic of 2020 presented an unprecedented challenge for cultural institutions. We’ve been with with our clients every step of the way, creating projects that run the gamut of adaptations undertaken by the industry. We built “At Home” sections for the Andy Warhol Museum and the Akron Art Museum; we designed and developed virtual event platforms for the Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles, and Pleasure Dome, Toronto; and we created a bring-your-own-device web app for the Hammer Museum. Additionally, we led a cross-institutional survey to gain a unique insight into museum websites’ changing roles.

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Elana Langer & Hanna Agar, Ebola In the City, 2014

Andy Warhol Museum

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Andy Warhol Museum holds the most extensive collection of Warhol’s artworks and archival materials. Our ongoing engagement as their outside web team began in 2016 with a website redesign and redevelopment and has grown to include maintenance, adding additional functionality and content, and deploying microsites. Web accessibility is essential to the Warhol, and the site is entirely WCAG 2.0 compliant. We continue to support access through ongoing QA testing and remediation. Our engagement works for the Museum because it allows them to meet their varied digital needs without staffing-up internally. We bring a depth of industry-specific knowledge and the flexibility to support whatever they put in front of us.

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Photo by Dean Kaufman © Andy Warhol Museum

Clyfford Still Museum

Located in Denver, Colorado, the Clyfford Still Museum holds the most extensive intact public collection of any major artist. Our work progressed throughout a five-year engagement, beginning in 2014 with a website redesign and redevelopment. We then took over maintenance and the webmaster role. Our engagement took place during a phase of growth for the Museum. At the outset, Executive Director Dean Sobel expressed his vision that the Still could become a pilgrimage destination for art lovers. Working in close collaboration with members of the internal staff, we developed the Museum’s digital presence into a robust reflection of the Museum’s role in the cultural life of its home city, and a resource with a national profile.

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Photo by James Florio © Clyfford Still Museum

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

Located near the Silicon Valley region of California, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History serves the residents of its county through unique events and exhibitions created in collaboration with community partners. Our engagement progressed over eight years, beginning in 2011 with a website redesign and redevelopment. Our work with the MAH coincided with Nina Simon’s tenure as Executive Director, a period in which the Museum transformed from an institution struggling with a financial crisis and facing layoffs, to a healthy, vibrant and essential cultural hub. In a blog post, Simon praised our work, saying, “Marty is everything I could have wanted from a designer — he over delivered on my vague directives and pushed me to think more rigorously about what we were trying to do.”

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Photo © Santa Cruz MAH

Museum Website Visitor Motivation Study

Circa 2016, we co-led a study into the motivations of museum website visitors, with 23 institutions participating. We presented this work through several conference presentations and in an article in the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing. The project surveyed the motivations of visitors to museum websites, based on the framework of visitor motivation developed by museum researcher John Falk. We collected quantitative data through each institution’s Google Analytics account.

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Spellerberg Projects

Spellerberg Projects is a non-commercial gallery and artist-run DIY space in Lockhart, Texas, that presents exhibitions and public programs featuring local, national, and international artists. We began this initiative in 2016 as a way to develop, through hands-on experience, greater insight into the needs of cultural organizations. Through this work, we’ve had a direct positive impact on the city in which we chose to start up. As we’ve observed the creative community blossoming around the gallery, we’ve come to understand that our choice to start what we did, where we did, took an act of visionary leadership.

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