institution: The Cleveland Museum of Art
category: Marketing and Promotion
The digital Beacon, located at the entrance of ARTLENS Gallery, is a 20ft wide, 4×4 array of screens that unifies the ARTLENS Gallery experience through whimsical stop-motion and provides an introduction to ARTLENS Gallery with live visitor-generated content. The Beacon is a highlight of ARTLENS Gallery, an immersive digital initiative that opened in September 2017 and that is comprised of the ArtLens Exhibition, ArtLens Studio, ArtLens Wall and ArtLens App.
Featuring a distinct and playful visual language, each video segment reinforces the goals of ARTLENS Gallery’s four spaces and brings the ARTLENS brand to life. The Beacon not only promotes and describes the purpose of ARTLENS Gallery, but also propels visitors into the primary galleries of the CMA. The stop-motion graphics used by the Beacon provide a juxtaposition between the fluidity of the interactives and digital content in ARTLENS Gallery. The Beacon is alluring, elegant, and informational without competing with the rest of the gallery and provides visual marketing that can stand on its own. The inviting language utilized by the Beacon communicates the different features of the ARTLENS Gallery and museum experience to visitors, providing helpful visuals to expose visitors to the range of opportunities in ARTLENS Gallery. Most importantly, the Beacon encourages visitors to engage, create, and connect with the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Digital portraits, collages, and pottery created by visitors in ArtLens Studio are displayed live on the Beacon for all visitors to see. These visitor-created works of art are an inspiration to others and demonstrate some of the unique ways visitors engage with ArtLens Studio interactives. Visitors of all ages spend extensive amounts of time on their creations so sharing them with others on the Beacon becomes a rewarding experience. From ArtLens Exhibition, the Beacon pulls photos captured in interactive games such as Become an Artwork, Strike a Pose, Dress me Up, and emotional reactions to the same artwork from dozens of visitors. These photos showcase the wide variety of ways visitors engage with ArtLens Exhibition games and artwork from across the CMA’s collection. Finally, visitors can practice their creativity by designing tours on ArtLens App, such as the “Awkward Stage,” a tour celebrating teens from different time periods and cultures and the “Covfefe” tour, featuring seven Russian jeweled boxes. These tours are promoted on the Beacon to encourage visitors to download the ArtLens App and create their own customized tour. Visitors can then use the app’s way-finding technology to easily find all on-view artworks. In addition to pulling content from ArtLens Studio and ArtLens Exhibition, the Beacon also displays fun, surprising facts about the CMA’s collection. The Beacon displays the smallest, heaviest, oldest, and latest acquisitions in CMA with their gallery locations so visitors can discover them in the museum.
The CMA’s digital team is proudest of the changes to the backend system’s design and a significant upgrade in December 2017 will ensure the ARTLENS Gallery experience is scalable and sustainable. The CMA’s custom-built catalog management system pulls live content, writes it once, and then updates it everywhere, making any artwork information or interpretive content updated by the curatorial, registrar, or interpretation departments immediately accessible in all digital interactives, including the Beacon. The fully integrated backend system is crucial to the success and accuracy of all live content displayed on the Beacon. Furthermore, the CMA established a standardized, well-documented development environment, including: a master application programming interface (API) used for integrating all artwork, artist/creator, and location information, a common framework for defining and testing the content structure and staff workbenches needed to manage both existing and new interactives, a consolidated content delivery network platform for digital assets for all interactives (in ArtLens app, exhibitions, collections online, or any future interactive) for ease of management and troubleshooting, and a single method for connecting interactives to user devices for favorites and saving of user-generated content.