What Are The Top Art Schools?

Rankings are always tricky. Rating the top art schools depends on the criteria of the one or ones doing the judging and possibly whether or not they have some sort of connection or vested interest in placing certain schools where they place them. Cronyism aside and imagining a perfect world of total objectivity, a one-size-fits-all rating system would only work in a world where artists are determined ahead of time in a test tube and everyone is a homogenous clone. But then you have to wonder if art and creative expression would even really exist in such a utopian society.

So, back to the present day reality, a single specific answer to the question, "What are the top art schools?" generally does a disservice to the needs of the individual student. As with stereo components, it depends entirely on priority and application. The top school for music and performing arts will likely not be the top school for commercial and visual arts. Even within a single category, the "best" art school will still depend on the needs and priorities of the student.

There are a number of organizations and publications willing to give it a shot, though, and their conclusions can be easily found on the Internet. However, it is best to consider these ratings simply a starting point, as they can be quite misleading. Remember that higher education is funded primarily by the students who attend said facilities. No students, no school. No school, no over-paid faculty incapable of working in the real world. (Oops. Did I say that out loud?) And that, that certainly does not apply to all art school faculty members.

The first thing you need to determine is what you plan to do with an art education. There are many and varied career choices. The art career or occupation you want will be one of the most important deciding factors in your own personal ranking system.

For instance, if you're already working in the art field of your choice (or close to it) and all you need is a piece of paper, then you can probably get what you need from a local community college or state university. Depending on the state, that may be a less expensive way to get that piece of paper than going to a dedicated art school.

If, on the other hand, you're gunning for a particular possibly prestigious position in a well-known art gallery, it would serve you well to work backwards. Find out what they consider the top art schools and which of those they most often hire graduates from. In other words, which art school degree will get your resume to the top of the stack?

Your choice may also come down to economics. What can you afford; what kind of financial aid is available; and what are you chances of a reasonable pay off?

In the end, you are the judge. You will have to determine what the top art schools are for you and make the best choice for you. After all, individuality is the very pulse of art.

Video Marketing For Traffic – Branding Your Videos, Your Business and Yourself

Ever heard of YouTube? Yeah, I thought so! Nearby, in January 2008 79 million users made over 3 billion video views (That's over 100 million views per day!) How would you like a slice of that kind of audience?

Video really has become popular on the web recently and it's easy to see why. It's unparallel by any other medium in terms of getting your message across. The problem with video online is that it has always been expensive to produce and host, requiring specialist equipment, expensive software, and massive bandwidth. Not any more because, since you can produce a screen capture video at zero cost (using Camstudio or similar software), and not only host it for free on YouTube, but also use it as a source of traffic!

You can not embed links in video on YouTube. What you can do however is put a link in the video description, create a profile or 'channel' with a link to your site, and brand your video with your domain.

Publishing and branding your videos

To get started, head over to YouTube.com and sign up for a free account. Your channel is automatically created for you based on your username (ie [http://www.youtube.com/username]) and once created you can customize it.

On your channel select 'Personal Profile' and there is a space to add your website URL. While you're there, fill out the rest of the profile too and upload a photo. Remember, YouTube is a social media site so you want to brand yourself, not just your business or products!

When you come to upload a video, use SEO practices. Remember that people will find your videos by searching, just like on Google, so use relevant keywords for your title, tags, and in your description. Also, your description can include a link to your site so long as you remember to include the http: // part! If you use a full URL the link will appear on the video page without the user having to click the 'more info' button!

While links in the description and on your profile are great, it's your video that people's attention will be on so get the URL in there! Start and end the video on a 'splash screen' with the video title and your domain clearly visible. You can also, depending on the nature and content of the video, use an overlay which shows your branding through the video!

While YouTube is far and away the king of online video, it's by no means the only site you can publish to. MetaCafe, HowCast and Blip.tv are just a few of the sites I use, but uploading to each of them takes time and effort. Do not worry though, help is at hand with a tool called TubeMogul.com

TubeMogul allows you to upload to all of these sites and more in one go, and even tracks all your views for you in one easy to use control panel. I recommend uploading to YouTube manually (so you get more control and can set the description etc. specifically for YouTube) and then use TubeMogul to upload to any other sites relevant to your niche. You can still use TubeMogul to track your YouTube views though!

Video on your own site

If you're creating video for a membership site, or a product then you will have to host it yourself to keep it private and secure. However, any videos that you're giving away are free to your visitors can also be hosted on YouTube. Just upload as normal, head to the video page and on the right hand side you'll see a box called EMBED with some HTML code (starts with

Web Template Or Web Designer – What is the Best Way to Create Your Website?

Whilst choosing a perfect website template to project the right image for your business could be a lot quicker and cheaper than hiring the services and skills of a web designer, it may not be the best way to create your online presence. So if you want a professional online presence generated quickly and cheaply, downloading a website template could be the right option for you.

Whilst this may be true not all templates are equal – some are designed and structured really well and look professional while others are downright nasty. But surely with all the website templates available online there must be some that are perfect for my requirements I hear you say.

That is probably true but, as mentioned above, not all web templates are the same in terms of quality or as easy to work with. In fact while some are free, some guide you step by step through the process of editing and uploading the template files and others require a certain amount of web design competency to edit and manage them.

So what is the best solution for creating your online presence? Well the list below illustrates some of the pros and cons of hiring the services and skills of a professional web designer or to use a web template.

Website Template or Web Designer?

  • Cost You will be able to find and download a great, well designed website at a reasonably small cost while the services of a professional web designer will come at a significant cost.
  • Timing Once you have located a suitable template online, you will be able to download it immediately, edit it and insert the content you want and upload it – you could have your online presence created the same day. However having a designer design your site could be a fairly long process with progress meetings and follow up meetings.
  • Customizing While most templates can be edited and customized to reflect your corporate image and so on, some of them could require a certain amount of html and web design competency. Having a web designer build your site would mean that all customizing of your site would be taken care of.

So there you have it. With all the information above you should be able to decide wherever your online presence will require the coding and graphics expertise of a web designer or will it be just as good and effective with a well designed template.

There Are Famous Clocks in America, Too

When anyone mentions famous clocks, they probably think of Big Ben. This is most likely because the Clock Tower of Big Ben in London is the most recognized clock in the world. The clock tower was constructed in the 1830s, and the monument still retains the title of the World’s Largest 4-Faced Chiming Clock, even though it is no longer the largest clock in the world. You may not know it, but the United States has some landmark clocks, too.

The world’s largest four-faced clock is located in Milwaukee, WI. In fact, the clock faces of the Allen-Bradley clock are around twice the diameter of Big Ben. No chimes have been added to this clock so that Big Ben can keep the title of largest chiming clock. Each hour hand on this magnificent clock is 15.8 feet long and weighs 490 pounds while the minute hands are 20 feet long and weigh 530 pounds each. In addition, the numerals on the clock faces are 4 feet high.

Another large landmark timepiece is the Colgate Clock. At 40′ in diameter, it’s the largest single clock in North America. This clock is located at the Colgate-Palmolive plant which was the Indiana Reformatory for Men prior to being bought and renovated in 1923. Therefore, the Colgate Clock has been considered to be a major southern Indiana landmark for over seven decades.

The Loew’s Jersey movie palace has another architectural clock that is renowned in American history. The builders of the facility wanted to attract attention to their building. They decided that since it’s located in an area where thousands of shoppers and commuters were always rushing by that they could best attract attention by adding a clock designed by the famous clock maker, Seth Thomas. This gorgeous timepiece includes one of the few moving figure clocks that’s you can see on the east coast. The figures depicted St. George slaying the dragon, an accomplishment which was repeated every quarter hour accompanied by bells.

You need to visit Seattle in order to tour its famous Clock Walk. Free standing clocks with cast iron pedestals began to be erected as an advertising medium in the 1860s and ’70s. By the 1920s there were so many street clocks in Seattle that people began to refer to it as the “City of Clocks”. Although a number of the clocks have been removed in the past three decades, Seattle is still considered to have one of the most significant collections of street clocks in the country.

Buried in the small, central plains town of Spillville, IA, you will find the home of the Bily Brothers clocks. These two farmers whiled away the long winter hours starting back in 1913 by crafting some of the most unique floor clocks you can ever hope to see. Their first clock, produced in 1916, featured appearance of the 12 apostles every hour. The brothers were adamant about keeping their collection together. Even when Henry Ford offered a small fortune for one of their clocks, the Bily Brothers refused to sell. The entire collection was bequeathed to the small, nearby town of Spillville with the provision that the collection never be sold or separated.

If you really want to feel the scope of American clock making, you can visit the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, CT. This museum houses over 1400 unique timepieces, most of which were made in the USA. The majority of the clocks are still running and chiming, so when the time comes around to 12 Noon, this is one of the louder sites you can visit.

As you can see, clock making is a favorite pastime of the American people as well as the British. By traveling throughout this great country of ours, you’ll be able to find numerous lovely timepieces that have become part of our heritage.