If you visit the Wiregrass Museum of Art and want to hear directly from an artist what they were thinking as they created their art, there’s now an app for that.
The Wiregrass Museum of Art has launched the WMA app for Apple and Android mobile devices. The app, developed by Dothan design agency PushCrankPress, delivers additional content about exhibitions, artists, and programming to both museum guests and off-site users. The free app will allow visitors to access information about the artists, audio tours of exhibitions, and special in-gallery-only content delivered through the use of beacon technology.
“Through conversations with our board, staff and visitors, it became apparent that incorporating technology into our practice was the next step towards increasing access to the museum and to the arts,” said Dana-Marie Lemmer, the museum’s executive director. “It’s unusual for a museum of our size to have an app available to the public, and we are fortunate to have had the opportunity to develop something unique and innovative for our visitors.”
Jenny Fine’s immersive installation “Synchronized Swimmers” and Beverly West Leach’s “Telling on Myself,” featuring found-object-assemblage works by the artist, are the first two exhibitions to have content featured on the app. By using the app and turning on Bluetooth to receive transmissions from small beacons placed near the art, people can learn more about Fine and Leach by seeing photos and video, or hearing audio, of sources from which both artists drew inspiration, including movies like “Alice in Wonderland” and songs like Peter, Paul & Mary’s “Autumn to May.”
The app also allows users access to the museum’s calendar of events.
“No matter your location, the WMA app delivers a trove of information about the museum, current exhibitions and upcoming events,” said David Brown, a partner at PushCrankPress who was the lead developer on the app. “That, in itself, is important and valuable, but the benefits reach another level once you step into the galleries. Using beacon technology, users receive helpful notifications within the app to guide them directly to information about the exhibition they are experiencing.”
The museum’s galleries are open to the public every Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. General admission is free. Private tours with guided art activities in the studio can be arranged by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays. For tour information, visit wiregrassmuseum.org/museum-tours.
Museum-goers got a first look at the app and its capabilities during the museum’s Art After Hours event Jan. 16, which celebrated the opening of the two exhibitions.
The WMA app was developed with support of the Wiregrass Foundation.
As exhibitions open each quarter and as museum programming changes, the app will be updated to provide access to the new content. The museum and PushCrankPress have plans to develop app capabilities that go beyond regular in-gallery and home use.
Future content available through the app could include things like an archive of exhibitions with artist interviews and resources, shared group experiences during museum events, and allowing exhibiting artists to use the app as an additional medium to extend their work, according a news release from the museum.
“We hope that by providing additional content, we will be able to extend the visitor stay, providing a one-of-a-kind experience, and making the museum-going experience more accessible to new and existing audiences,” Lemmer said. “We’re already working with artists who will exhibit through 2021 who are excited to connect with our community on new levels through technology.”