The GVSU Art Gallery manages a collection of over 15,000 works of art, including paintings by Mathias J. Alten (1871-1938), one of Grand Rapids’ most successful artists. RDG used the Drupal 8 CMS to design and develop an engaging and accessible web portal that highlights Alten’s lifetime work. The Drupal site connects via API to GVSU’s Collective Access database to search the complete Alten collection, and interweaves scholarly essays and videos to showcase Alten’s legacy in narrative form.
At the outset of the project, information about the artist was scattered across several digital and physical sources. A primary goal of the project was to pull together all of these assets into a single seamless digital location, which:
- Maximizes user accessibility (including mobile device optimization)
- Pulls and displays API data results from the current Mathias J. Alten online art collection database at artgallery.gvsu.edu, which is built using the open-source collection management system www.collectiveaccess.org
- Integrates the overall design concepts and content from the printed publication, Mathias J. Alten: An Evolving Legacy
The GVSU Art Gallery wants site visitors to discover multiple collections (archive material, physical artwork, interview transcripts, essays, etc.) when browsing or searching on a singular subject matter.
The target audience for this website service are the students, faculty, and staff at GVSU, as well as independent scholars, national art museums and institutions of higher learning across the country.
The Monograph Volume
In an effort that took nearly three years, Mathias J. Alten: An Evolving Legacy is a collection of paintings, sketches, history, and essays centered around the impressionist painter. The website design needed to correlate with the design of the book's pages.
What We Did
The design inspiration for the site comes from the printed publication, Mathias J. Alten: An Evolving Legacy. The goal of the visual design was to embrace the style of the printed piece, while adhering to best practices for accessibility on the web. Along with this significant design requirement came many technical and user experience challenges as well, as we worked with GVSU to devise a fluid interface for discovering and exploring the Alten’s works in the context of space and time.