Tag Archives: Tool Review


Periscope is a free application that is accessible for smart phones and online. Periscope was created with the intent of sharing experiences visually around the world. Directly from their website, they state that “a picture may be worth a thousand words, but a live video lets us explore the world together.” Periscope has direct links to Twitter, and many similarities. Periscope is essentially a live video format of Twitter. Many popular applications have adapted and created a “live” feature lately, most notably Facebook. But Periscope differs because it is strictly visual, that is its purpose and that’s why users have it. They want to see these people that they are following along with news, events and experiences around the globe.

Tyler Hansen. “iOS Media Banner.” 2016. https://www.periscope.tv/press

Periscope is easy to gain access to. You can directly link it with your twitter account if you have one, your email, or just your phone number on your smart phone. There is a trending/popular page so you can see big experiences that are currently happening, you can also search for specific people or companies, as well as by locations around the world or certain categories. It is incredibly accessible, and if you miss the live stream, the videos are also saved. They don’t disappear, so you can see feed that is live, or has already happened. Periscope can be used to document what is currently happening in any part of an arts organization. It’s like an all access application where users can see the behind the scenes or backstage. They can see all the components of what makes art happen.

Arts organizations are using this tool to help give first hand experiences to their followers. I was specifically looking at theaters and they use it primarily to show how their productions are coming along in order to market for it and build hype. They show rehearsals, design elements coming together and quick little shout outs from the company. The Public Theater is one that I follow that was especially good at doing this, they even went as far to show snippets of shows. (Click Public Theater to connect with their channel on Periscope.)

My experience was great, there’s a lot of room for curiosity. I enjoyed my experience on the phone app much more. It offered more room for searching and categories for specific places.




Google Drive

Google Drive Logo
Blunkswife. “Google Drive logo“, 15 July 2015. Flickr.

Google Drive is a file management tech tool that is widely used not only in arts organizations but also many other organizations. It is simple and easy to begin on all the practical functionalities. Arts organizations, especially small ones, prefer to use this tool because it can store some less important large files on web drive and share with a simple click for free. It is free to own 15GB storage room if you have registered. You can also pay for more storages. You can either use Google Drive on web or download app to manage files on desktops and portable devices, and they are all synchronized.

As we all know that large file cannot be sent by email, the biggest advantage for Google Drive is to store it and share it. Especially for arts organizations which would have a large amount of photos and videos to share. Among the family of the online drive, Google Drive is competitive because it has more users from the Google family, such as Gmail and YouTube. So you can easily access Google Drive if you have a Gmail account. Moreover, it supports more files than others.

I recently interned in an arts organization called DC Beauty of Beijing Opera. It is free to use Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides for them to do things that are usually done in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. For a small organization with a relatively low budget, they work at home. In this case, an efficient file sharing function is so important for them to ensure them to view photos, revise documents and contributes to data sheets.

Easy, Efficient and Free, let’s try Google Drive right now!!

Image of the Evernote Logo


Evernote is an organizational app promoted for everyday activities or school/business related tasks. Available on a mobile device such as an iPhone or iPad and computer (via internet), Evernote has three plans to choose from. Signing up automatically registers you with the basic plan which is free with 6MB of storage per month. The Basic plan lets you collaborate in chosen discussions, make lists, set reminders, and take audio recordings (mobile only).  Plus, lets you connect to email, option for a security code, and offline access all for $24.99 per year with 1GB given per month. Lastly, Premium is the most advanced version with the ability to present and edit presentations, annotate PDF’s, and scans business cards for $49.99 per year with a whopping 10GB given/month. Evernote is easy to navigate and lets ones efficiency break through with its features.

I personally enjoyed using Evernote in the basic setting to create a few reminders for myself throughout the week as well as make notes for a presentation. It is easy to navigate on a mobile device and translates well onto my computer screen. The cloud system lets my information be ready to go, anywhere, at a touch of a finger. The reminders were spot on and easy to find when I needed to check them off. Needless to say if a college student finds it helpful to organize her chaotic life, than anyone with any agenda, can find this app useful.

Art Organizations will love this tool allowing them to harvest collaboration for a board or trustees or employees in a proficient manner. In the event of a project brainstorm for a fundraising event or important weekly meeting, the note taking and reminder settings can let any arts administrator stay sharp and prepared. Anyone can write down notes for themselves and share with a group, but Evernote lets you save them all in one place and connect others to your notes no matter where they are. Unique features like group editing can let discussion flow easily unlike other note taking apps that originally come with mobile devices or computers. The aspect of collaboration at all levels is essential in an arts organization, and the perfect way to assure that is to use Evernote.


Image of the Evernote Logo
Bernard Goldbach. “Evernote.” 27 May 2010. Flickr.



Square is a great tool for arts organizations that sell both tickets and merchandise. The tool set is seamlessly integrated with other applications to enable accounting services, inventory management, social analytics, and shipping fulfillment. Payments can easily be processed anywhere with the Square Register app and the Square credit card reader (for smartphones and tablets). The Square reader is free, credit card processing fees are just 2.75%, and there are no monthly fees for basic Square applications. An organization can set up a free online store through Square’s website, and sales can be compared against inventory on-the-go. The most basic Square functions can be set up in under an hour! Square can be utilized by arts organizations to sell branded merchandise, or even by independent artists, like the participants of Artists & Fleas pop-up craft fair, to sell works of art.

The advantage of Square for arts organizations is that it offers more features than other comparable mobile processing systems without monthly fees. One extremely useful feature for arts organizations is the Square Feedback tool. With this tool, customers can provide feedback directly to the organization, as opposed to on social media (publicly). For arts organizations frequently under fire by their customers, this feature may help to manage criticism.

Another useful feature for arts organizations is the option for a rewards/loyalty program- digital punchcards based on spending. The arts organization can cultivate long-term relationships with customers and track their rewards activities easily by email addresses.

Lastly, Square offers opportunities not only for arts organizations’ sales, but also for donations. Donors can send cash via the Square Cash app, or make a donation as a purchase in the organization’s online store.

This image shows the simple steps required to setup Square for payments, easily completed in an hour.
Square Dashboard setup. 24 April 2015. Online image (screenshot). https://squareup.com/dashboard. Accessed 24 April 2015.


Last week, I had the pleasure of discussing Tumblr and the advantages of using it as a social media platform for art organizations. Tumblr gives art organizations a way to connect to consumers on a more personal level.

SIgn in page for tumblr in spanish!
Corrado. “Tumblr”. June 14, 2013. Online image. flickr. April 18 2015

Tumblr is a free microblogging social media site that was founded by David Karp in 2007. As of March of 2015, Tumblr has 225.1 million blogs. Recently, Karp sold Tumblr to Yahoo for over a billion dollars. Yahoo has created deals with companies where they are able to advertise their brand on the site. Many Tumblr users were upset with this deal and made petitions with hundreds of names signed against these advertisements.

Tumblr gives users the opportunity to create their own website and post any form of media they please. Users are able to follow blogs and tags they that suit their interest in order to view it on their dashboard which is their main page where they see what they post and what others have posted. Tumblr gives users the opportunity to use html to edit their blogs, customize when a post is published, and organize post into categories for archival purposes. If a blog allows, users can submit to other blogs so the blogger can post their submissions to their blogs creating a great sense of community.

Within Tumblr, there are certain communities. For example, if you are interested in meta theatre, you can search for blogs and tags of similar interest and contribute, also you are able to explore outside of those limits just by using the search bar. Also, in order to maximize who sees your post, you can tag it and viewers who look up or follow that tag will see it. Most people who use Tumblr are from a younger generation and independent performing and visual artist. It gives people access to a wider variety of art. Organizations that use Tumblr give viewers more of a personable view of their organization. For example, Signature Theatre NYC uses tumblr to write about rehearsal progress, share insider videos and interviews, and pictures from behind the scenes. Art galleries such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art allows consumers to write questions that are thoroughly answered on the blog. Tumblr has also created a new agency called Creators to connect artist with advertisers-allows artist to gain a cult following but then bring their work into the real world and be a big success. Many business that are looking for Tumblr artist now have the opportunity to connect with them for advertising etc. Also creating a stronger sense of protecting the artist work.

Tumblr is rapidly increasing it’s presence in the business world and all organizations should definitely consider using it if it suits their mission. It is a great place to meet and be creative!


This image shows the layout of the dashboard on the Eventbrite Neon mobile app.
“Eventbrite Neon”. http://www.eventbrite.com/l/neon. Accessed 16 April 2015.

Eventbrite is an online portal for promoting events and selling tickets. The affordability, accessibility, and integrative approach of Eventbrite all make it a worthwhile technological tool for a variety of arts organizations. The Eventbrite tool set is intended for expanding a marketplace of live experiences, not just events, suggesting an an arts-inspired business sensibility.

Eventbrite is a comparatively affordable ticketing option. Event hosts are charged 2.5% (2.0% for 501(c)(3) non-profits) of the ticket price plus 99 cents per ticket sold, but for a limited time there is no fee when selling through the Neon app. There is no fee for distributing tickets for free events, although credit card purchases have a 3% surcharge. The free event option is a great way for arts organizations to legitimize and publicize events that they are not able to charge admission for. A great example is the Art League in Alexandria, Virginia, which uses Eventbrite to advertise its free painting demonstrations. Public entities like the Seattle Office of Art & Culture can use Eventbrite to do the same, for informative networking sessions like ARTISTS UP.

Eventbrite’s best feature is its integrative approach to event planning. Events can be published to major social networks directly from the Eventbrite site. Eventbrite also offers a free mobile app called Neon that assists with ticket sales, check-in, and seating on the day of the event. A credit card gadget for a mobile device can also be purchased for a small fee. Such an integrated and user-friendly system is extremely helpful to arts organizations that may not have the resources to work with a more costly and sophisticated system.  Eventbrite gives organizations that are not event-centric the opportunity to still produce events on a professional level. The Art League is able to sell tickets to annual fundraisers like “Art on the Rocks”.



Glide, a cloud-based video streaming technology, combines the benefits of text messages and video calling – without its respective limitations.  Video calling (e.g., Skype or FaceTime) is limited by the fact that all participants must be present and engaged simultaneously in the conversation, so, while text and email allow for communication between people who are not able or immediately available via phone or video call, both methods limit creative expression and require tedious typing.

Unlike Snapchat’s self-destructing 10-seconds-long video messages, Glide’s message limit is five minutes, and users can re-watch the videos as often as desired.  Glide messages begin streaming in less than one second, allowing video messages up to 5 minutes long to be viewed and replied to by the recipient either immediately (even while the user is being recorded) or later, even when only connected to 3G networks.  These video messages use less than half the data of video calls, and, since the messages are all saved to Glide’s secure private cloud, users can send and store a large quantity of videos on Glide without eating memory on their devices. [1]

Sarah Mitroff/CNET.  ““Glide Review: Fast Video Messaging with a Few Flaws.”  14 August 2014.  Online image.  http://www.cnet.com/products/glide-android/2  Accessed 17 April 2015.
Sarah Mitroff/CNET. ““Glide Review: Fast Video Messaging with a Few Flaws.” 14 August 2014. Online image. http://www.cnet.com/products/glide-android/2 Accessed 17 April 2015.

Though no known arts organizations have publicly shared if and how they’ve used Glide, the app has unlimited potential.  Arts Managers can send personalized thank-you messages to donors, showcase how their support is being put to use, invite selected groups to backstage tours, and even host informal meet-and-greets with the artists.  Artists can use Glide to share pictures (stored on the devices photo gallery), easily share video messages with users who don’t yet have Glide via Facebook and Twitter, and, worst case scenario, un-send and permanently delete messages from all sides of the conversation at any time.

The Glide app is available on iOS and Android products, and is 100% free.  For more information, follow Glide on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Instagram.

[1] Glide Fact Sheet

Google Forms

Google Forms is an application where users can create an online form in order to collect and analyze information submitted by participants who fill out the created form. This app is free to use for anyone who has registered for an account with Google, or has access through someone who has an account. Google forms can be accessed anywhere that there is an internet connection, by anyone who has the log-in information to the account where the form was created. The information collected from those who fill out the form is stored all in the same location, either in Google Forms itself or a separate spreadsheet. Questions created on the form can be in multiple formats; for example either multiple choice or a short answer type response. Once an organization wishes to no longer receive responses, it is easy to turn off the form. There is a wide variety of beneficial uses for Google Forms, specifically for arts organizations. For example, arts organizations may use Google Forms to conduct an audience survey, as an outlet for people to submit proposals for an exhibition or performance, or even to receive job applications or volunteer information.

What is most useful about Google Forms is that all of this data is collected digitally and in one place, widely decreasing the need for paper and filing. In addition, Google Forms is template based and very user friendly; so organizations could have virtually anyone, staff or volunteer, create a form if needed. These templates are customizable, so the form can easily be edited to match the branding and look of the organization. The organization, or whoever creates the form, can also set controls, such as limiting the number of responses to one per person, setting the destination where the responses will be sent to, or even allowing the order of the questions to be shuffled.   Also, once created, it is easy to embed the form into the organizations blog, webpage, or to have the form exist as its own separate page that can be linked to.


Google Forms Logo


Here are two good examples of arts organizations that are currently using Google Forms in effective ways.

Advent Film Group:

Advent Film Group has used Google forms to create an online application for their internship program. Anyone interested in applying simply needs to go to the website, fill in the various parts of the form, and then the application is sent to the location the organization has been set to receive the responses. Setting up an online application in this manner saves on time, paper, and ultimately makes things more efficient for both the applicants and for Advent Film group in that the responses are collected digitally and all in one place.

The Morris Museum:

The Morris museum used Google forms to create an online submission form for their upcoming juried high school art exhibition “Fresh Perspectives.” Interested schools and teachers can go to the website, fill out the necessary information on the form, and then further information will be sent to the school about how to digitally send their submissions to the Museum.   Creating an initial interest form in this manner allows the Morris Museum to efficiently maintain a list of all interested schools, and a record of the necessary information that the museum will need before actually collecting submissions from the schools interesting in participating in the exhibition.



These discussed benefits and real life examples show that Google Forms is a very useful tool for arts organizations.   If they have not already done so, hopefully more and more organizations will decide to adopt this app into their day to day operations in the future.


Image from: James Doyle, ohdoylerules.com, “Custom Google Forms”, 5/22/13



Give App

The Give app is a technological tool that is used to directly deposit a donation to a nonprofit organization. The Give app has partnered with GuideStar and provides access to “virtually every U.S. 501c3”[1], which totals to 1.9 million nonprofit organizations. The donations made through Give are 100% tax deductible, as guaranteed through their donation processor, Network for Good.

Give App Logo and Slogan
“Give-App-Facebook.” 1 July 2014. Online image. Nonprofit Tech for Good. Accessed 17 April 2015.

The goal of Give is to be a “platform of self-promotion”[2] and provide opportunities for a nonprofit to engage in a personalized technology app without the expense of developing the app. Nonprofits are free to sign up to create a profile and register to be able to streamline how the app serves them. Donations received for a particular month are sent to the nonprofit on the 15th of the following month, but the nonprofit can also sign-up for electronic payment. Give is also capable of running tracking reports of donations made through the app. Because Give processes donations through a third party, there is a 4.75% processing fee that is deducted from the initial donation, and given to Network for Good to help pay for the cost of maintaining the technology. However, the Give app is only available for iPhone and iPad users, a total of 470 iOS users. Nonprofit organizations are missing out on access to 1 billion Android users, about 68% of total phone owners.[3]

Give is unique, because it allows donors to share news and events from their favorite nonprofits on social media, and encourage their friends and peers to give to these organizations as well. Nonprofits can also host fundraiser events to start donation drives for specific causes instead of just a general call for donations. This feature helps the nonprofit create a compelling story that resonates with donors, who in turn, will share their enthusiasm via social media.

[1] http://www.giveapp.org/about/

[2] http://www.giveapp.org/faqs/