Sky Blue Window is closing


Sky Blue Window, an arts website that was created by the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), will come to a halt by March 11. 

According to a post by Mike Knight, the creator of Sky Blue, the issue boiled down to a lack of funding:

"After six years of research and meetings (and then even more meetings), Sky Blue Window, a website devoted to telling compelling stories about the arts in Central Indiana, launched on March 11, 2013. Made possible by Central Indiana Community Foundation and its generous donors, we were given three years of funding to see what we could make happen and then develop a more sustainable source of funding.

But we couldn’t."

It was always intended that the three year time span would lay the groundwork for other kinds of funding. According to Knight several over grants were submitted in an attempt to keep the sight sustained. 

"We submitted two grant applications to the Knight Foundation (which, at the time, was supporting community foundations that were trying to innovate and support new media community information sources in response to the changing media landscape)," says Knight. "We also approached a number of local foundations for support but were not successful with those solicitations.The $64,000 question here is one that almost all media sites are facing: how do you create a real, functioning and executable sustainability plan? Online advertising revenue generally isn't enough to make the books balance." 

Knight made no mention of editors Kirsten Eamon-Shine or Jami Stall, who both were at the helm of the publication, in his post. 

Below is a Jabberwocky talk given by Eamon-Shine about a memorable Sky Blue Window article: 

"I think there were three cycles to the site: the launch, shakedown cycle, in which we were just trying to get our wings and the content was sort of all over the place," says Knight. "We had a groove in the middle cycle and routinely drew 10,000+ users to the site and had some terrific content. Cathy Kightlinger's piece about Lou Reed drew readers literally from around the world and I remember watching Google Analytics at 11 at night and seeing people from San Francisco to London reading us. This last cycle was a little more challenging and we simply haven't been able to achieve the content and capacity necessary to draw the same level of traffic." 

According to Knight, the site was created after an economic impact study in 2007 that showed the arts in Indiana generated $468 million in impact and created around 15,000 full time jobs. Knight hoped to use storytelling to highlight the arts in Indiana. CICF was able to offer the needed initial support. The concept went live in 2013. 

"There were so many good things that it's hard to say a "best" [memory]," says Knight. "The day after we launched I received an email from someone who introduced herself as "Katy's mom" and said how proud she was of her daughter and how grateful she was that we were publishing her story. Turned out her daughter Katy was a University of Indianapolis student journalist who wrote a piece that we ran on our first day and her mother just wanted me to know how thrilled and proud she was. That was pretty special and it felt like we were doing something that was really strong.The worst thing was telling all the incredible contributors that we were bringing the site to a close. I love them all and cannot say how grateful I am for their love for the work and the idea and the mission."

The site will remain until June 1, 2016.