2014 Grants Challenge

GYST Cloud for Art

GYST Cloud connects diverse creative professionals through comprehensive cloud-based technology, tools, and resources.


Please describe yourself.

Solo actor (just us on this project!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

GYST Cloud connects diverse creative professionals through comprehensive cloud-based technology, tools, and resources.

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

Central LA

East LA

South LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South Bay


What is your idea/project in more detail?

We desire to take our existing network of artists, professionals, organizations, tools, and resources and expand upon them by taking everything to the cloud. With remote online access and an income-based price system, artists from any socio-political corner of Los Angeles can organize their work, connect with art professionals, find a job/career in the arts, and host/search for opportunities in their communities. Not only will this cloud-based software/network connect artists with other artists, the new universal platform “GYST Cloud” will connect artists to galleries, museums, non-profits, universities/colleges, curators, and collectors alike. Users can choose what information is public or private or what to share.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

We are currently talking with artists and mobile/online application developers in Los Angeles to find competitive bids for the development of a completely cloud-based artist software system modeled after the our current GYSTPro software. Combining 15 years of research, product development, program enrichment, and software, the GYST infrastructure already exists, however we feel that a cloud-based platform is essential for the future.

We will hire artist researchers to ensure that our resources are up-to-date, providing a list of arts institutions and resources building on our current lists. We will expand our existing 500+ pages of vital professional practices information currently on our website, printed manuals, and in the GYSTPro software. This expansion will help to disseminate this vast knowledge to a wider and more diverse audience. Unlike many other artwork/gallery management systems, GYST Cloud is a comprehensive one-stop-shop for every artist, not just a product inventory for traditional galleries. We specifically focus on underrepresented artists in Los Angeles emphasizing gender equality, racial/cultural diversities, and artists of any age.

In addition, GYST Cloud will provide low-cost and high-quality backups of all user data. Connecting to other preexisting successful networking, accounting and social media apps will also be integrated. Existing GYST users will have the option to migrate to the new GYST Cloud and/or keep their data local.

The GYST Cloud will be delivered to any artist through remote access from any computer. We will also continue to grow our network of creative professionals, administrators, educators, lawyers, and fabricators. This ultimately ensures a robust and thriving online network that connects creatives from the digital art community into its physical counterpart. We plan to host scheduled workshops and free information sessions throughout the city. GYST will raise awareness and educate the public about GYST Cloud that will be readily available at income-based pricing.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to CREATE today? In 2050?

GYST has respect for the wide-ranging diversity of the arts in Los Angeles by makes life better for all artists and creative professionals. There are multiple obstacles to overcome to achieve a successful career in the arts such as: income, knowledge, resources, organization, access to gatekeepers, collaborators and communication. GYST Cloud will be a vital contributor to helping artists navigate these professional challenges.

Our organization and the GYST Cloud will simply create better artists. Ultimately creating Los Angeles as the best place for all artists to flourish. GYST provides art business education and resources so that all art communities that reside within LA can directly benefit. GYST Cloud will generate a more organized, prepared, and business-ready artist that will be hirable and thrive in the Los Angeles workforce with our income-based subscriptions. The art world is not currently functioning and communicating on current technology available today. Although companies, organizations, and programs exist to facilitate professional practices for artists, many fail to reach and connect ALL types of artists. The GYST Cloud will be a comprehensive and intuitive software platform that will bridge the gap between artists and the professionals that want to exhibit, review, consult, and/or hire them.

While many other cities have a clearly defined city center or “art hub”, Los Angeles lacks a central location where the art world(s) reside. Conversely, art communities exist across the vast Los Angeles Basin from Bergamot Station, Culver City, Downtown, Venice, to Chinatown and the Arts District. The GYST Cloud will provide a universal platform for all Los Angeles art communities to connect, learn, share, and hire any artist, anywhere.

In 2050, with the help of GYST Cloud and its ever-growing network of creative professionals, we want all artists to have their sh*t together. Artists will be valued and respected along with any other profession, leading sustaining art practices and careers. Simply, all Angelino artists and art professionals will have access to professional practices. They will be educated and informed to make the right and smart decisions for their careers in the arts. Furthermore, the public will benefit with immersive exposure and understanding of the arts.

Whom will your project benefit?

Artists need tools to streamline the process of the exchange of information to create sustainability, knowledge and income for all involved. GYST Cloud will benefit all individuals, academic institutions, organizations, and businesses through universal technology, current relevant content, pedagogy and networking.

ARTISTS will benefit from learning professional strategies, understand how business professionals work with artists, and get their studio practice organized. They will have the means to professionally present their work and skills to others. Artists benefit from being prepared for hybrid careers, business strategies/systems and estate planning.

GALLERIES can keep track of work sold, connect with collectors and always have information ready to find for presentation or sale. Galleries will communicate with their artists through intergraded cloud-based networks. They will be able to communicate with other galleries to share contacts and data.

CURATORS will have direct access to more artists in LA. Exchanging information and contacts will be easy to curate exhibitions through the GYST Cloud. Not only will they have the ability to organize artists but they will also keep track of exhibition information and writing samples.

COLLECTORS can effortlessly keep track of their collections. The GYST Cloud archives important information such as current retail values, insurance, exhibition records, and storage.

MUSEUMS will be able to catalog collections, communicate with curators and trustees, and promote museum programming and cultural events to their patrons.

ARTS ORGANIZATIONS can keep track of programming, exhibitions, monetary donations/contributions, and research. Beyond historical archiving, posting opportunities, open-calls, and promoting the institution will be included.

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS can teach professional practices to their students by giving them access to the GYST Cloud. Using GYST to catalog their artwork, create artist statements, resumes, mailing lists etc. GYST Cloud provides real-world resources to help all schools educate artists in a visual way.

THE GENERAL PUBLIC can find work/programs and connect with artists directly. GYST Cloud can be used as an educational tool for audiences who seek to understand more about an artists’ work as well as cultural institutions. GYST Cloud will expand art audiences in Los Angeles and generate new collectors in the process.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

We have been collaborating for 15 years with arts professionals to get to this point. Moving forward we will collaborate with:

TECH ARTISTS: We will be working with artists who have the technical experience to migrate the existing local GYSTPro software to GYST Cloud. Since the design and infrastructure is already complete, we can spend our energy on new technologies, mobile platforms, and how the interface will work with our diverse clientele.

ARTIST RESEARCHERS: We will be working with artist researchers to create fresh content, resources, and information for arts professionals. Meeting directly with art administrators, curators, non-profits, educators, lawyers, healthcare professionals, and studio artists allows GYST Cloud to stay current, up-to-date, relevant in the ever-changing art world.

USERS (YOU): We will invite our existing individual and organization users (over 2,350) and new clients to beta test GYST Cloud. Further funding from others who donate towards the support of low-income artists, as well as the income-based subscription model will allow this project to be sustainable for future generations. Establishing responsibility within the art community, we will invite users to self-determine their own level of income and therefore their subscription price.

How will your project impact the LA2050 CREATE metrics?

Employment in creative industries

Arts establishments per capita

Concentration of manufacturing activity in LA

Federal research grant funding

Patents per capita

Jobs per capita

Minority- and women-owned firms

Gini coefficient

Number of high-growth startups

Venture capital investment

Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”) (Dream Metric)

Recruiting and retention rates at local higher education institutions (Dream Metric)

Percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating (Dream Metric)

Unemployment rates (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated (Dream Metric)

Art Audiences and Professionals

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

GYST cloud will be an integral part of making the metrics happen and

• will generate employment among creatives, and also give the self-employed access to vital information on professional practices as well as venues for their work. We aim to have every artist employed and/or working independently. An organized, empowered, and educated artist is a hirable artist, ready for the creative workforce.

• will help art establishments work more productively, saving money and time.

• allows creatives who possess fabrication and administrative skills get hired by others who need their expertise.

• will call attention to Los Angeles as a vital epicenter and creative economy to the world-at-large, thereby calling attention to federal, state, and private funders.

• allows art lawyers and artists to connect creating collaborations and knowledge to be exchanged, and creative patents to be researched.

• will provide jobs as well as income for artists and arts institutions. While artists are some of the lowest paid workers, we will change that by expanding vital knowledge and creativity of artists and other arts professionals. Simply, more people will interact with the arts.

• Gini coefficient results will be on the upswing by generating more income for creative people. GYST strives for artists to be self-sufficient, goal-driven, and fairly paid.

• creative startups have little avenue for publicity. This would put them on the art map immediately, allowing artists with specific skills to become more entrepreneurial.

• allows capital investors to find those creative endeavors which need funding.

• will be a model and comprehensive program for the creative world.

• preparedness for the art world. Ready-ness, tools and resources. Education of the public on the arts.

• increases the percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating. This will make Los Angeles the place to create and thrive. Allowing creatives sustainable employment, opportunities and collaborations. Our goal is no unemployment in 2050 for creative professionals.

• provides access to information and resources to every artist, including those who have been incarcerated. Collaborating with organizations and artists who currently work with this demographic.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

We aim for the arts in Los Angeles to be balanced to celebrate gender, cultural diversity, and age. In other words, We want to represent a reflection of who truly lives and works in LA. Seeing tangible changes in the art world (job growth, more arts funding, robust art education, etc.) due to increased connectivity would reflect success. Support for artists outside the commercial sector is such a vital part of the future of arts in LA that we are working to make this happen through sharing information and resources. We want to make life better for all artists.

Employment and sustainability for creatives and arts institutions is something that we will be easier with GYST Cloud. Better communication, accessibility and resources can further employ those who have desirable skills to share and match them with people who truly need or want to hire people with those skills.

The number of users and their interaction with GYST Cloud will be another way to evaluate how the project is progressing. It will expand the diversity of art practices and access to those creations, and ultimately the way the arts are perceived in LA.

Finally, receiving feedback and requests for upgrades to GYST Cloud is vital. We create forums, blogs, surveys, and customer support for the interchange of ideas. Sending a suggestion for upgrades and improvements is how we determine the future of the program. Hosting public events and learning workshops provides us with a direct dialogue with our existing and potential users to create a program that they not only want but need.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

Out of the variety of lessons learned, the two we have chosen are from the perspective of an educator, artist, curator, nonprofit founder, and more.

Lesson one is the number of artists and organizations/institutions that the GYST Founder has worked with for the past 40 years. Lack of knowledge, resources, a bold personality, or egos have made working in the arts often difficult. Furthermore, shy artists have a challenging time getting attention while other talented artists are never discovered. The access to vital professional practices information can make or break an artist’s career. Artists who have taken the 8 – 10 week GYST workshop, or even a three-hour class have gone on to positively change the way they work professionally. Unfortunately, artists who do not have a commercial practice are often overlooked by curators and galleries. Applying for grants requires that everything you currently have needs to be reformatted. Keeping track of the business part of your art life can be draining. A comprehensive system such as GYST Cloud can help change all that.

Lesson two is that running a business as an artist is tough with little knowledge or no access to tools that are up-to-date with our current technology. Most business don’t make it, let alone a creative professional-generated business. We want all artists to succeed, as well as their design, film, and administrative counterparts! Being an artist is much like running any business in 2014. If the arts are a viable and sustainable field, the creativity that we don’t get to see or experience now can add to our world view. For instance, the GYST founder is currently being audited by the IRS. GYST chose to put a detailed description of what it takes to go through an audit on our website in order for artists to learn how to handle real life situations. Legal issues for artists are often hard to understand even for accountants. Hiring consultants is often a large outlay of money with little return. The number of scams towards artists has increased 10 fold in the last few years. Artists need to know what is authentic and who is trying to take advantage of them. Juried shows have turned into “pay-to-play” events that only benefit the creator. Lets change the way we do business so that some of the lowest paid workers in Los Angeles don’t get abused.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

For both software users as well as those accessing the information on our website, the infrastructure of the GYST Cloud is already in place and has been tested for 15 years by artists, academic institutions, and organizations. Although we are based in Los Angeles, our clients stretch across the globe.

We have received mobile platform and application development quotes that are in line with this grants budget. We have done extensive research in the arts on all things professional practices and have been teaching this at institutions and arts organizations throughout the US. We have published two books, both over 400 pages or vital information for artists as well as a teaching manual to actually teach professional practices to artists. This ensures that our mission to educate creative professionals can grow beyond our limits as a small artist-run company. Many schools and universities are using this textbook to teach their own classes to facilitate a new generation of business-ready professional artists.

We have provided comprehensive surveys on what artists need for the last 15 years, and spent countless hours with in dialog with artists regarding their needs, specifically technology concerns.

GYST is a company made by artists for artists. Because we know what it is like to be an artist, our customers are loyal to our brand and wish to share it with their friends and colleagues. The majority of our business comes from referrals and recommendations. We know that GYST Cloud will go viral and reach not only the entire Los Angeles Basin but throughout the world.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

At this point, our largest barrier is funding. We have done due diligence in gathering information, proving software to artists since 2001, and working with institutions across the US (and worldwide). Going cloud-based will solve many issues such as computer platform crossover, upgrades, and access. We have researched working with venture capitalists, however found that they are interested in only creating a profit rather than an ethical commitment to the Los Angeles art community. We have not been able to find someone to invest without changing the project for their own needs rather than the needs of artists everywhere.

Language barriers in culturally-diverse Los Angeles are another issue, but as translation software becomes available along with translating the program's language, we can create multiple language platforms for GYST Cloud. With language integration and participating language translators, marketing in various languages will become essential for economic equality in the arts.

What resources does your project need?

Network/relationship support

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Quality improvement research