One day in 2001 I was having a conversation with sculptor Jamie Vaida about the new website I was building for him. As we verbally wandered around we stumbled upon the idea of creating a website that would serve the community of artists in Grand Junction, Colorado (that’s where we both lived at the time; Jamie has moved on to more pacific pastures, whereas I’m still enjoying the view right here).
The challenge Jamie was having, and we thought most artists had, was getting exposure on the Internet. Sure, we could put up a website for him, but who would find it? Even in that mossy first year of the new millennium the Internet was a crowded place (and now it’s a virtual Soylent Green world).
I floated the idea of programming a shared website. A bunch of artists would generate more traffic than one, right? Art lovers want to see variety, right? We could retain a regional emphasis, right? Jamie was enthusiastic, and essentially guaranteed himself a lifetime free membership. Me? I didn’t know what I was getting into.
I had just started a web design company of my own in Grand Junction called FLEXISS (which at that time consisted of me in a shabby little home office, wondering if my children were going to starve as a result of my career switch) , and I was eager to do something that would hone my skills and promote my company.
Several months and hundreds of hours later ArtisansOfColorado.com went live. We started promoting the site and taking on members, but then a mysterious thing happened. I started actually getting cash customers for my web design business. My attention was distracted from the venture for, oh, about 7 years.
But then, in 2008, I had another conversation, this time with a web design friend of mine named Ari. I’d worked with Ari for years on different projects, and he and his fledgling design company Nutrix were eager to help us get the AoC website back on track. So AoC has been reborn, with new “Web 2.0” look / philosophy. Yeah, we don’t quite know how to define Web 2.0 either, but you’re looking at the result now, and we hope you like it.
— Ross Barefoot, February 2009