COLAB sign on brick wall
Visual Arts Center of Richmond

Meeting of Creative Minds

An Award Winning Website and Class Registration System Integration Visit VisArts


Visual Arts Center of Richmond engages the community in the creative process through art classes, exhibitions and special events that encourage you to explore your creative spirit.

Founded in 1963 as the Hand Workshop by Elisabeth Scott Bocock, the Visual Arts Center of Richmond began in a house on historic Church Hill where craft artists worked, exhibited and taught neighborhood children to create with their hands. For the next 22 years, it has operated in various locations in Richmond. In 1985, VisArts moved to the historic Virginia Dairy building on Main Street, where it leased space for 17 years before purchasing and later renovating the building. Completed in 2007, the renovation transformed the facility into an inviting and inspiring space and a state-of-the-art regional arts center.

Since then, VisArts has continued to expand programs, raise its visibility within the community and increase its support base. The Visual Arts Center of Richmond is now one of the major arts organizations in Virginia.

“We have the largest non-university arts program in Virginia and would love to welcome you inside our doors for a class, an exhibit or to share the stories of our wonderful outreach programs.”

The Challenge

VisArts engaged COLAB to create a digital brand platform that supports the primary goal to increase awareness; awareness of the brand, its classes and its cause. We had to improve the overall user experience sitewide to enforce a strong focus on the class registration, membership & donation areas.

To drastically cut down the content administration time required, we integrated with the ProClass API and built a WordPress plugin to do so. Proclass is a leader in the class management and registration systems. They are “dedicated to providing the most up to date technologies and helping [their] clients build their organizations.” Lastly, VisArts has a digitally-savvy in-house marketing team and needed a flexible and easy-to-use admin experience.

The Solution

To complete this project and achieve VisArt’s goals, we created an easily navigable site with clear call outs to the organization’s primary offerings. Merging classes into the same platform as the rest of the site helped to create a cohesive experience and give admins the ability to feature classes clearly. We made the class list far easier to browse and narrow down. Building in clear calls to action and modules to help display support information (tables, pricing, grid view) helped to make membership signup and donations easier across the site.

The admin is extremely flexible and gives a lot of power to the author to control the site layout with the tools provided. We built the site around flexible modules that would facilitate total control. The admin can add multiple WYSIWYG editors, columns, responsive comparison tables, calls to action, galleries, text and image lockups, and sponsor logos. We also increased the ease of administration by creating custom CMS controls for Staff Members, Instructors, and Exhibitions.

The Result

Successfully redesigning a website and integrating with ProClass required a lot of planning and coordination. ProClass, VisArts and COLAB collaborated together to ultimately give VisArts the administrative controls and present the classes so participants can easily browse and register. They have seen a dramatic increase in program registration and donations since its launch.

Since COLAB is largely made of creative minds, we appreciate the opportunity to be a part of building such a great website, providing resources and classes to local artists and enthusiasts.