SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT: Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

The venue sponsor for WordCamp Nashville 2012 is no stranger to design, the Internet or evolution to meet changing needs. Watkins College of Art, Design & Film began in 1885 as Watkins Institute; in January 2012 it added a new concentration in web design to its curriculum.

Complementing the college’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, the Web Design Concentration will allow students to develop competence and skill as web designers and web developers, plus acquire knowledge of industry essentials such as typography, graphic design theory and illustration.

“Since the beginning of time, the paradigms of art, design and education have dramatically mirrored the consciousness of civilization,” said Ellen Meyer, Watkins’ president, when the new program was announced. “It is in this context that we embrace new technologies and web design.”

That philosophy makes Watkins a perfect site for WordCamp Nashville on Saturday, April 21.

The college was modeled after Cooper Union in New York City and became the second such community-based institution designed to meet the broad educational and cultural needs of its citizens.

Art has always been a major focus at Watkins, which was founded to help educate Nashville residents in need and later, helped train immigrants and prepare women for the workforce in the 30s and 40s. Servicemen returning from World War II finished their high school degrees at Watkins.

Watkins became a baccalaureate institution in 1997 and today operates as a independent, non-profit four-year, nationally accredited college of the visual arts.  The college received approval for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, Web Design Concentration from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the national accrediting agency for art and design and art and design-related disciplines.

A studio-based curriculum that encourages individual and collaborative exploration, combined with an academic foundation, gives Watkins’ more  than 400 students a unique experience. The 13-acre campus includes two residence halls, multiple art galleries.

Samuel Watkins, the school’s namesake and founder, was orphaned at age 4 and became a self-made entrepreneur and philanthropist. He had no formal education but left $100,000 and property in the center of Nashville in his will to establish a school that would teach those in need the “business of life.”

We think the WordPress folks would have liked him.

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Nashville Lands on Map of World’s WordCamps

With WordCamp Nashville 2012, Music City, USA, joins cities across the globe this year that are bringing together developers, bloggers, designers, marketers and creative professionals to share knowledge and exchange ideas.

The events are hugely popular. Tickets for this weekend’s WordCamp San Diego, sold out in less than 12 hours. WordCamp Atlanta sold all its 350 tickets in one month and opened another block of tickets assuming some folks wouldn’t show. Tickets sold out for the Birmingham event, prompting organizers to post cautions on the event website that those showing up without a ticket could not expect to get in. WordCamp Phoenix also sold out earlier this year.

WordCamp Nashville will be held Saturday, April 21, at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. The venue space is donated and attendance is limited to 250. We expect tickets to sell quickly once the speaker line-up is announced next week.

WordCamps are casual, locally organized conferences that include sessions on how to use WordPress more effectively, beginning plugin and theme development, advanced techniques, security, content strategies, etc. Each one is a bit different but the sense of community and shared interest is common. So is a heavy dose of fun.

Activity is picking up across the world, with many WordCamps selling tickets and others still looking for the right venue. WordCamp Netherlands, again in Utrecht, takes place this weekend. Here’s a quick look at some other events:

  • WordCamp Ponce (Puerto Rico), April 28
  • WordCamp Milano: May 4-5
  • WordCamp Milwaukee: June 2-3
  • WordCamp Kansas City: June 1-3
  • WordCamp NYC: June 9-10
  • WordCamp Fayetteville: July 27-29

Organizers in Reno, Nevada; Vilnius, Lithuania; Orange County, California; Maritimes, New Brunswick, Canada; Boston, Massachusetts; Montreal, Canada; Chicago, Illinois; Toronto, Canada; the Philippines; Madrid and Seveilla, Spain; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; Seoul, South Korea; Istanbul, Turkey; Curitiba, Brazil; and Sydney, Australia, are looking for venues.

To get an idea of the types of sessions typically seen at WordCamps, check out the WordCamp channel at WordPress.tv

And grab your ticket to WordCamp Nashville while you can.

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Many “plug-ins” give WordPress websites near superpowers. Jetpack is one of them.

Jetpack is a suite of great add-ons, all in a nice bundle that used to require multiple plug-ins and frequent updating. Jetpack is from Automattic, which is the same team behind WordPress.com, so everything gets along nicely.

Jetpack includes:

  • Better feedback on your site’s popularity with WordPress.com Stats
  • Simple and concise stats with no extra load on your server
  • Goof insurance with with After The Deadline, an artificial intelligence-based spell, style, and grammar checker
  • Social features from Sharedaddy (including sharing posts on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon and many others)
  • Twitter Widget for your latest, most brilliant 140-character thoughts
  • Email subscriptions for your blog posts and post’s comments
  • and there’s lots more!
  • The WP.me URL shortener
  • Hovercard popups for your commenters via Gravatar
  • Easily embedded media from popular sites like YouTube, Digg and Vimeo
  • A simple way to include beautiful mathematical expressions on your site

All this and Jetpack is a Diamond Sponsor of WordCamp Nashville 2012. A hearty thanks for helping put Music City USA on the WordCamp map. We see many successful downloads in your future.

Check out Jetpack for more details, because those folks are always adding more good stuff.

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What is this WordCamp Business and Why Should I Care?

WordPress started as a blogging platform and now runs millions of websites. WordCamp introduces new users to WordPress and features advanced sessions for designers, developers and others who work with it all the time.

By one estimate, 13 percent of the world’s websites use WordPress. By “use WordPress,” we mean that WordPress software – which is free – runs the site and keeps it humming.

Much WordPress elegance lies in its simplicity. People who work in the creative digital space have their own language – CMS, SEO, CSS, HTML – and newcomers often find it intimidating. With WordPress, it doesn’t matter. If you know the terms, great. If you don’t, you can still build a killer blog or epic website.

BloggingPro, an industry wonk, explains it this way: “Even the most obtuse, computer-illiterate user can create a genuinely professional looking blog/website that can gain followers over time ….From adding media to SEO, it makes it all much simpler than it was before.”

WordCamp is about spreading WordPress love. We want more people to understand that it is easy to use, a snap to update, a dream to customize, and can do everything expensive and difficult web platforms claim they can do. WordPress plays nice with e-commerce, is secure and slammin’ fast.

SEO is another great strength. SEO means Search Engine Optimization, which what is the Googles, Bings and Yahoos of the world use to read, evaluate and categorize content. WordPress has some SEO built in but the software makes super-charging the effort easy.

WordPress also is a powerful CMS, or Content Management System. Your pages, posts, photos, videos, forms, whatever all have a home that is easy to navigate. Even better-if you decide to change the look of your WordPress site, the content doesn’t go away. No starting over.

A true community also sets WordPress apart. Across the world, WordPress meet-ups take place every day. WordPress.org has great forums and plenty of other WordPress-related sites are generous with their information. For beginners, this is especially welcoming. No one laughs at questions because everyone wants to help you find the answer.

With WordPress, possibilities are endless. At WordCamp, you’ll learn about some of them.

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WordCamp Nashville Speaker Proposals Due March 21

WordPress users, developers, designers and thinkers are invited to submit speaker ideas for WordCamp Nashville on April 21, 2012.

Keep in mind the event will have both beginner and advanced tracks, and we want a good mix of topics for each group. Those who work with WordPress know how awesome it is – and because one goal of WordCamp is to introduce new users to this powerful tool, we want to hear from folks who are good at translating to a beginner audience.

For advanced users, topics should be as specific as possible.

Members of the Greater Nashville WordPress community are especially encouraged to submit ideas. A member of our speaker committee will contact all of our speakers a few days after the selection deadline (March 21st) and notify you if you have been selected to speak.

Take a look at the line-ups for other recent WordCamps in the Southeast U.S.
Birmingham http://2012.birmingham.wordcamp.org/speakers/sessions/
Atlanta http://2012.atlanta.wordcamp.org/sessions/

Remember, WordCamp is about WordPress. What are you waiting for?
Our speakers page: https://2012.nashville.wordcamp.org/become-a-speaker

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WordCamp Nashville Tickets Available Now

WordCamp, a one-day event on April 21, will introduce new users to WordPress as well as offer tips for more experienced hands. Tickets are available only from our ticketing page. Tickets are $20 and attendance is limited to 250.

Speakers will address issues for beginners, such as setting up their first site, and advanced users, such as using WordPress for e-commerce.

Local WordPress users and businesses who are partnering with the WordPress Foundation are putting together WordCamp Nashville, one of a series of WordCamps held by fans of the software throughout the world. The local event will be held Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film in Nashville’s MetroCenter area.

WordPress is among the most popular and powerful publishing platforms available for bloggers as well as companies wanting to make maximum advantage of their online presence. It’s free, and users don’t need to write code to use it.

Recently, with the release of version 3.0, WordPress has moved to help manage and power sites that belong to big, household names, including major brands, country music stars and professional athletes. WordPress powers more than 70 million websites, half of which are hosted on wordpress.com.

For more information on WordCamp Nashville sponsorship or corporate involvement, call John Housholder at 615-618-7287, email him at john@ahsodesigns.com. For camp and speaker updates, check back here and follow @wordcampnash on Twitter.


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Planners & Volunteers Meetup

This month we are having an official WordCamp planning meeting and volunteer signup. We were approved Friday (02-10) by WordCamp official, and we are now on the move. We will be spending this months meetup walking you through the current details and plans for the WordCamp.

To be involved head over to the meetup group and RSVP »

Here is a short list of what we will be covering.

  • WordCamp Theme & Design
  • Sponsorship
  • General Finances
  • Day of Planning & Volunteers
  • Speakers & Sessions

Our goal is to solidify a group of Volunteers and divide up the tasks so that we can all to our part. One of the overall goals is to make the event as enjoyable for those of us putting it on as it will be for the attendees.

Our Meetups are as important to us as they are to you, and we hope that you will come out to be involved in the making of Nashville’s first WordCamp. If you have never heard of WordCamp or think it’s just another conference please read up, you will like what you find!

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Date Chosen for WordCamp Nashville

We have decided to hold WordCamp Nashville on Saturday April 21st.  If you are interested in sponsoring or have idea for a venue, please contact us.

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