A New Way To See Art

October 21, 2014
Cleveland Museum of Art: Gallery One

Gallery One at The Cleveland Museum of Art

Quietly tiptoeing through thousands of pieces of art, squinting to read teeny-tiny wall labels and desperately trying to remember the difference between the expressionism and impressionism art movements. You'd think a trip to the art museum hasn't changed in decades.

But, that sure isn't the case at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Far from it.

Gallery One at the Cleveland Museum of Art singlehandedly ushers in a new era of art experience - all inside one of the most prestigious art institutions in the country that also still offers free admission to its permanent collection.

This new tech-forward experience at CMA offers visitors the ability to view the museum's permanent collection, learn how works of art are made, where they come from and why they are produced. And, you do it all on iPads, individual touchscreen displays and a 40-foot-tall, multi-touch microtile screen called the Collection Wall.

Honestly, this thing is super cool and the talk of the town in the international art community. But, you really have to see it to believe it. Click here to see that, in fact, we are totally not bluffing on that claim.

As you can see, this isn't just some hokey mobile site that simply lists the museum's permanent collection in alphabetical order. This, my friend, is an entire experience.

Before you get to the museum, make sure to download the ArtLens app on your iPad. (But, no worries, if you don't have an iPad, CMA offers rentals for only $5.)

Once at the museum, you can then connect your iPad with the massive Collection Wall to tap through CMA's digital library where you can select and study your favorites - all categorized in unique and user-friendly ways.

From that point, the information is saved to your device, making sure you don't miss your favorites while perusing the museum.

Then, the fun begins.

There are six interactive displays known as "lenses." These lenses offer visitors unique - and often times hilarious - experiences to understand and view art.

While in the sculpture lens, make a face into the display. Suddenly, facial recognition software will match your face with one of 189 artworks in the museum's collection.

Or, try to pose your body like that of one of the CMA's sculptures. The display provides feedback on the accuracy of your pose and shares other crazy poser's images, as well.

Show your liberal arts education who's boss with the painting lens that allows you to become a virtual abstract painter by utilizing the techniques of poor, drip and gesture to create your very own masterpiece.

Also within that lens, you can play "Choose a Reason," in which you are presented with one of 89 artworks and asked to choose a reason why the painting was created. Then, view other responses, as well.

These are just some of the many lenses available that work in tandem with the ArtLens app. Within the app, visitors can scan physical pieces of select artwork to showcase interpretive content. It's kind of like having your own curator at your fingertips - minus the awkward walking tour.

Gallery One also shows us that art's not just for the over-18 crowd. Kids have their very own interactives located in Studio Play. Inside this colorful, family-friendly space, they can do all sorts of hands-on activities, which include creating their own interpretations of modern sculptures with the use of mobile sculpture-building stations.

So, while you can still get that traditional art museum experience, Gallery One at the Cleveland Museum of Art will bring that old-school visit to the art museum into the 21st century.

And for that, you're welcome.

Image by Meghan Stockdale, Cleveland Museum of Art

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