Arts Desk

Do Not Fret, Would-Be Artomatic Artist! Registration Is Open and Working

This painting could be you!

The Artomaticians were freaking out Monday night, and with good reason. That's when Artomatic, the massive unjuried art exhibition that will return this spring after a three-year hiatus, opened its registration—and then saw its website lock up.

Shut out, the would-be exhibitors took to Artomatic's Facebook page, where things got hyperbolic quickly. ‎"2nd try made it one page further....CRASHED!!!!!" wrote one anxious artist. Another: "seems like you guys were really not ready this time... But it's way to late to fix things now I fear that the show could really suffer and that is a bad thing , it would be a shame if something like artomatic were to go away." For a few hours, there was a comment almost every minute; Artomatic staffers assured the Facebook commenters the problem was being fixed.

Although Artomatic had upgraded its website in anticipation of massive interest, "it overwhelmed our Web capacity, " says Artomatic's marketing director, Eric Shutt. "It was even more than we expected."

OK, calm down people. No one's going to keep your floral still-lifes, graffiti scrawls, or photos of your grandmother's hands off the walls of this year's Artomatic. While a spike in traffic—20 to 25 times more than what Artomatic's site usually gets, according to Shutt—slowed the registration pages to an ooze, everything is back to normal now. And Artomatic has already had more than 450 people register.

If people were upset, Shutt says, it could've been because they thought Artomatic had already hit its registration cap. Actually, it doesn't officially have one: “We’ve always been able to accommodate everyone who was able to participate. We don’t expect that to change,” he says. This year's event, which takes place at 1851 S. Bell St. in Crystal City, has room for 1,500 artists, Shutt says. (The exhibition was originally set to take place at 2511 S. Clark St., but was moved when the bigger location became available.)

Shutt says Artomatic is keeping a close eye on traffic to the site, and will temporarily suspend registration "if it looks like it’s teetering on a crash." Doesn't seem to be the case today! Register here. Artomatic opens on May 18.

Photo by flickr user isteve under a Creative Commons attribution license.

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