Indiana University students develop an artists communication network

Students use information technology to build a digital hub for the Orange County artistic community


Carl Nelson


Jacob Simpson, Marshall Curry


Black Vulture Project, Paoli, IN
Community Size
19,646 (2019 Census Estimation)
Indiana University
Sustaining Hoosier Communities
Case Type
Project Stories
Information Technology
Sustainable Development Goals
16 Peace Justice and Strong Institutions

Orange County is a rural southern Indiana county comprising four incorporated towns and a number of unincorporated communities. Residents are intent on celebrating the county’s industrial roots, natural beauty, and historic architecture while embracing and preparing for the future. Local progress is driven in large part by “grassroots cooperative leadership” (Report, Pg. 4), while legal and medical non-profits provide essential communal services. This community-oriented mentality lends itself to innovative partnerships between various actors working towards common goals in areas like infrastructure, culture, tourism, and healthcare. 

Artists envision a digital space for local creators

The Black Vulture Project is an arts group which works to improve Orange County residents’ access to the arts, “connect with the art community and host creators of all kinds” (About Us). Housed in a former factory which now hosts workshops, gallery openings, live music, and film screenings, it is committed to strengthening local arts culture. Working with similar groups through the Community Arts Communications Network project, the Black Vulture Project sought novel ways to form professional connections and improve communications within the artistic community.

Using information technology to foster community 

Moving forward, members of the Community Arts Communications Network project reached out to the Sustaining Hoosier Communities (SHC) program at Indiana University. Community partner Andrew Gerber of Black Vulture facilitated the collaboration, enlisting the help of Professor Matt Hottell’s serve IT students in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. Hottell challenged his students to take a tech-based approach to artist networking. Participants used information technology (IT) to develop a comprehensive web-based information hub for the local arts community.

A well designed artistic network, built to last 

Student participants used their information technology expertise to build a functional online hub for the Orange County arts community. Artists, gallerists, and other creatives can use the network to coordinate with each other, organize, and promote upcoming events. This successful project strengthened local cultural networks and, by extension, the arts economy. It also introduced students to the wide-ranging applications of IT in a unique real-world setting.

Like any community, the arts community thrives when it can easily share ideas and information. This crucial project used technology to connect organizations which may otherwise have been isolated from each other. The creative possibilities are infinite. 

Sustaining Hoosier Communities Contact Info
Jane Rogan
Sustaining Hoosier Communities Director
(812) 855-0568

Read the full story of the partnership.

Read the final student report delivered to the local gov/community partner.

Translate »