It is a difficult time for museums. They are tasked with providing cultural experiences to their communities and being a repository of that culture for the future. Covid 19 has cut off audiences from many institutions. It is having a difficult effect on institutions that rely on visitors to keep their doors open.
Sites Set for Knowledge has collaborated with a number of museums and cultural institutions in ways that may help solve these current problems. We have helped these institutions by creating and exhibiting their content through the Popwalk app. Popwalk is a platform for exhibiting site-specific art and cultural video. These projects have been diverse in their scope and theme. But for each one, the goal is to involve the community with the cultural richness of the museum. Let’s take a look at some of these projects.
Feature Your Public Art
Many art museums, public art programs, and historical institutions display public art. Often, this art sits right on the grounds of the museum or institution. Utah Valley University is an example of a university that has used public art to draw in visitors. A few years ago, UVU commissioned a huge stained glass window, called Roots of Knowledge. This work chronicles the development of knowledge through the eons. The university holds regular tours for room-sized the artwork and has created much didactic information for the art. But it is now not available to the public.
Tom Holdman studios, the studio that produced this mammoth work, gave permission to Popwalk to put up one of the videos that was made for this piece. This video was then put up on Popwalk. Audiences can go to the building, despite its closure, and get an idea of the experience inside.
Popwalk has also helped public art programs create didactic videos for large colelctions of public art, you can see an example here.
Tell Your Organization’s Story
The Springville Museum of Art wanted to share its long history in the region. We worked with the museum to create a video that told this history. On the Popwalk map, we placed the video below, so that it can be accessed on the museum grounds. Popwalk allows visitors to walk around the grounds and hear and see this history, whether the museum is open or not.
Curate Your Exhibit Outside the Museum
Because Popwalk is a platform for site-specific video, organizations have collaborated with us to curate their cultural content outside of the walls of the museum. The National Ranching Heritage Center, in Lubbock Texas had a group of art students make interpretive videos, spread out over the 27 acres of this open air museum, about buildings in the open-air collection. The students made animations that reimagined the spaces, interpreted the history, and brightened the already colorful history that is told there. Here is an example of how one artist interpreted a stately Texas ranch house:
Popwalk is not limited in its geography and can exhibit videos anywhere that has a cell signal. Many museums have outreach, artwork, or interest that extends beyond the walls of their institution. These locations can all be coopted into the scope and purposes of the museum, with Popwalk.
Record and Present Your Performance
A number of cultural institutions have used Popwalk to record and present performances or activities that will then enrich the location in which they occurred. Salt Lake City’s Cultural CORE sponsors an annual plein air painting activity, in conjunction with a farmer’s market held each spring. Videos were produced of the individual artists working. Their paintings of the city unfold on the video. Viewers can see these videos any time, allowing them to experience the city through the eyes of these painters:
The experience of Buddy Holly Museum in Lubbock, Texas is enriched by the work of Truancy Savage, a rapper whose music video “Buddy Holly” is located right in front of the museum:
How to Use Popwalk to Support Your Institution
Popwalk is a powerful tool for sharing your cultural content beyond the walls of your building, despite colsures and social distancing. Covid has closed many cultural institutions and made visitors reluctant to come when they are opened. Most regional and state governments still encourage people to get outside for their health and wellbeing, as long as they maintain social distancing protocols. Popwalk allows you to follow these safety conventions while still fulfilling your institutions core purposes. Popwalk can do this in a number of ways:
Collaborate in Obtaining Grant funding
A Popwalk exhibition can be the subject of grant funding to supporting innovative efforts to bring your cultural and educational activities to audiences.
Encourage Philanthropy from Your Existing Audience
Reaching out into your community of supporters by creating a popwalk exhibition allows you to fulfill your missions purpose. It is also an opportunity to make a thoughtful, innovative plea to continue support.
Bring people Back into the Museum
Reaching out into the community, by creating and exhibiting Popwalk videos is also an innovative way to bring audiences back into your museum.
Collaborate with Your Community
By involving artists, docents, curators, historians, or others in the creation of your videos, you are able to collaborate with your community in a way that has potential to increase patronage, visitors, and revenue.
Tap into Popwalk’s Existing Community
Popwalk already has many users and institutional collaborators. By putting your work ‘on the map’ you tap into these populations.
Let Us Help
We are here to work with you. Has this article given you ideas? Are you interested in past projects? Contact us with your ideas and we can help you to make them happen.