Laramie Mural Project

I did a good thing! Who knew a Google alert would lead me to the Laramie Mural Project. And here’s how it happened.

I have no connection with Wyoming but when I clicked on their mural link, I was drawn in. I liked their website – their home image takes up the entire screen. I’ve been paying attention these days to website design as I’m in the process of creating new and easier-to-edit templates for both my sites. I noticed the picture of the unfinished mural and I always like to see the progression of a project. This got me clicking to learn more.

Laramie mural project on Art Is Everywhere

I learned that Laramie is trying to beautify their town with murals with help through the Laramie Main Street Alliance — a partnership between the town of Laramie and University of Wyoming. I believe that murals can beautify a town by adding character and interest and increase community pride and involvement as well as bring economic vitality — all from artwork. This got me clicking more. I went to their Kickstarter page. I had attended a business conference with the founder of Kickstarter on the panel so I was interested + ever since we went through the process of applying for Living Social’s Mission Small Business Grant, I’ve been interested in ways to fund business projects. I have another in mind and I’m thinking Kickstarter may be a good testing ground.

I really liked what I saw — the murals and how easy it was to use the site. I thought the write up they did for each level of backing were clever and captivating. You’ll have to go to their Kickstarter Campaign site to check these out further but here’s a visual taste of the murals. They have a lovely assortment of styles and are very rich with talent. They expressed the big, wide open country that I think of when I think of Wyoming, of where I have only passed through once while in a car on a family trip. I must have been about 10 years old.

OK, I was sold!

Laramie Mural Project - Kickstarter on Art Is Everyhwere

The great thing with Kickstarter is you don’t have to spend much or you can spend as much as you want. I donated $15. I wanted to contribute something but I have no association with Wyoming otherwise, but believe in the mural project’s mission and like most of the murals. I also wanted to test Kickstarter’s platform for business. It’s one of the few fundraising sites that really does cater to artists and their creative projects; whereas, other Angel Investor type sites are primarily interested in start-up technology companies. Kickstarter as a business concept appeals to me.

Checkout was easy and used my amazon account. I was so satisfied with the process that I used their smart marketing message that came up at the completion to share with your friends. I shared on Facebook, which then gets tweeted to our 795 followers.

This was a great business lesson with marketing and charitable giving all mixed in. I felt good and even more so to learn this on the Laramie Main Street website, that they have reached their $15,000 goal but the more they receive, the more they can do. I like it and I’m glad that any donation beyond what they wanted will be well spent:

We have reached our $15,000 goal on Kickstarter!!! But, if you are still interested in donating, know the more we raise, the more we can do. Additional funds will be used for more murals and educational material like an audio guide or walking tour of public art downtown. Our Kickstarter page for the Laramie Mural Project will be up through July 21st.

I plan on following up on their mural progress because I want to see their completion and maybe even go visit.

Since there were only 3 more days left for fundraising for this project at the time of this writing, please go to Kickstarter to look for others and perhaps do a good thing.

Here are some other murals that artists from this project have painted.

Laramie Main Street_Wyoming Public Media_Pinterest on Art Is Everywhere

Laramie Main Street_Wyoming Public Media_Pinterest on Art Is Everywhere

Taking Care of Business

Yes we are, everyday!

This is a post that I’m also writing for Slipcovers for your Walls, as a follow up post to Social Media I did quite some time ago.

I’ve been doing a little website optimization lately and I was encouraged to see that we have a high website grade from Hubspot’s free website grader tool. I think Hubspot is a great resource, btw. We’ve been getting free webinars packed with valuable information that is jam packed with the most-up-to-date tools to use. The founders are Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, who met at MIT.  I follow Dharmesh on his Linkedin Group OnStartUps for a community of entrepreneurs, another valuable resource. I would highly recommend looking into their services.

Here’s our website badge. We received a 90 our of 100. That’s not bad at all. The grader goes through your website’s strengths and weaknesses so you can highlight or increase the former and improve the latter. Very helpful.
The Website Grade for!
We think it is important to check your analytics as much as possible, because without having a tracking system, you do not have figures that give you accurate information. We use Google Analytics for this reason + bitly for our Twitter to help tell us where people find us. How they search for us as well as what posts they retweet. Hubspot also had a Tweet Grader and we received an 86 out of 100.  I was surprised to see that Ashton Kutcher is not one of the top twitter users, but Justin Bieber — his fan site is.

Casart coverings Hubspot website grader

We use sitemeter to keep track of where people come into our blog (entry links) and where they exit (out links).

All of these are free tools to use.

To end with appropriate fun music to Kick Start the Weekend, here’s a little Taking Care of Business from BTO.