It has been three weeks since we announced our fundraising campaign, and we are now 25% of the way to our $5,000 goal. The Orthodox Arts Journal has been running for four years, and, until now, we have never requested support from our readers. Our contributors, editors, and programmers have donated their time, and with 300 total articles now posted, the quantity of that donated effort has been staggering. It has truly been a blessing to see such busy artists and professionals offer their time in this way, recognizing the great need for liturgical art in our culture and in our churches.
We ask for your help now because the Orthodox Arts Journal grown to such an extent that we require professional web programming. This is an exciting step for us. It will not only guarantee a stable and reliable platform for our content, but it will allow us to adjust the format of the website to better serve our readers. Here is a brief summary of our planned improvements:
- Orthodox illustration project online. Since we presented the Orthodox illustration project more than a year ago, the announcement has become the most viewed post we have ever published. Countless hours have been put into drawing, reproducing and editing quality images for the common usage of all. We want to make these images available and searchable through the OAJ website. Doing this will offer hundreds of quality illustrations to individuals and parishes for publications, examples of which can already be seen in the beautiful new Hieratikon and Benedict Sheehan’s A Common Book of Church Hymns: Divine Liturgy, both published by St-Tikhon’s Monastery Press.
- Better access to content. As it stands, the content structure of OAJ is based on a simple blog model. But the OAJ is not meant to be a blog – it is conceived as a permanent resource of unique and valuable content. We want to give readers better access to past articles through more appropriate presentation and classification. We also want to offer printable versions of each article.
- A Newsfeed. We need to distinguish news items from our regular content. Currently, we can only promote an outside project when we are able to present a complete article about it. A newsfeed will allow us to promote far more events and publications than is now possible. We hope to become the go-to forum for listings of new events, books, and CDs related to the Orthodox Arts.
- Developed artist list. Many parishes and other organizations look to OAJ in considering which artists to choose for their project. In light of this, we want to present a more formal and documented database of artists that we can recommend to our readers. In particular, we want to develop a means for promoting liturgical musicians who may not have a website of their own.
- Professional programming. Because we began with low-cost solutions, we now need more tailor-made programming to fit our needs. This also includes better hosting, social media integration and more capacity for customization.
I hope you’ll agree that these initiatives are well worth a small donation. If each of our 900 subscribers gave just $6, we would meet our goal. But our reach goes far beyond those subscribers. In some months the OAJ has had as many as 30,000 views coming from all over the world. It is impossible to quantify the impact of this broad reach, but I have every reason to believe that our influence is significant. Our Journal is, of course, geared towards English-speaking Orthodox readers, but I have more than once been surprised to hear from someone outside the Orthodox Church, or outside the English-speaking world, who reads the OAJ, and considers it to be an authoritative voice on liturgical art. It is well known even in Russia, where, to my knowledge, there exists no analogous publication that covers all genres of Orthodox Liturgical Art.
Please support us! Your donation can be made by using the PayPal button at the bottom of the left-side column.