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A Tour Guide For Public Art, In Your Phone

Your city is teeming with art you can see for free–from street art to sculptures to paintings. A new app will help guide you to the best.

A Tour Guide For Public Art, In Your Phone
Flicker user Warholian Pics

Have you ever wanted to know more about art in a city, but been unsure where to look? A new app to remedy that situation is seeking funding on Kickstarter.

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ArtAroundSF started as a way to take a deeper look into San Francisco’s art scene. “We are struck by how little we know about the beautiful art around us we pass by every day and wanted to do something about it,” says the group’s funding page. “The ArtAround project is about mapping the beautiful art in San Francisco, and, perhaps, change the way you understand and explore the city with a web and mobile application that lets you find, comment on, and share street and public art.”

The app lets users find art near them–creating an “insideout museum”–and filter by different categories of art (murals, statues, architecture), public art venues (museums, galleries, and markets), neighborhoods, events, or things that are trending nearby. Clicking on a point on the map takes a user to a page to learn more about the work. There, users can comment, share, submit edits, or view photos of the work. The creators have already amassed information and photos on more than 800 works of art in San Francisco and are looking to raise $25,000 to create the app, refine the information, and sustain the technology over time.

Users can also add art to the system. “We want you to help curate the website by adding new pieces that catch your eye and sharing any local knowledge about works in your neighborhood to make this platform a truly rich public archive,” say the creators, Laurenellen McCann and Anna Bloom.

The app is part of ArtAround, an open-source project that tries to capture all the public art in Washington, D.C. So far, the group hasn’t included a specific category for street art or graffiti, but several entries include streetside murals. Another website called Street Art Locator, a Google community mash-up, is also trying to catalog street art before it disappears.

Bloom had a fellowship with Code for America, a nonprofit dedicated to making cities better through technology. There, she helped to open public art data and build a mobile website to find public art in Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Seattle.