Dublin Villager

Dublin's public art sites feature phone numbers of respective artists

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A visit to some pieces of Dublin’s public art collection now includes information directly from the artist — and all it takes is a phone.

The Dublin Arts Council launched its Art in Public Places cellphone tour, which features information from the artists via phone about 14 works.

Phone numbers are posted at artwork throughout the city that connect visitors to information on Dublin’s more than 70 pieces of public art.

“Cell-phone tours are commonly found in museums and temporary exhibitions,” said Janet Cooper, the arts council’s marketing and public relations manager. “I’m not familiar with many available for public art collections. From our perspective, we thought it was a really wonderful way to build an educational component back into the wonderful art collection we have in Dublin. There currently is not a comprehensive guide for people who are out and about.”

When visitors dial a number at each artwork, they can get information from the artist on Dublin’s large-scale artworks and pieces of the Titration exhibit.

For example, at the Field of Corn, Columbus artist Malcolm Cochran discusses how the art is meant to represent Dublin’s shift from an agricultural community to a suburban one.

The number for the Leatherlips art at Scioto Park leads to a recording of artist Ralph Helmick talking about his inspiration and the setting for the art.

“We know people are enjoying the artwork, but there is not a way to count it,” Cooper said. “Now we’ll know how many people are calling and visiting multiple sites. It will show how the community is interacting with public art.”

The project was funded through a Dublin bed-tax grant and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“That’s another one of those things that’s being supported though Dublin’s bed tax and the National Endowment for the Arts. Because of the city’s help, we were able to apply for the grant, which allows us to expand the initial concept of the tour,” Cooper said.

Phone tour entries will be expanded and other technology-focused elements will be added to the public art tour.

“Eventually, for the next round in about eight weeks or so, we’ll have a new website up and running that will include a map with photos of all the locations,” Cooper said. “It will be mobile-friendly, of course.”

Also coming in 2012 is a game-oriented program for the Dublin Art Council’s Riverboxes.

“People who do geocaching are tech-savvy and like to interact that way,” Cooper said. “We’re excited about building that into the system in 2012. The possibilities are endless in the great pursuit of Riverboxes. They’re such a great intergenerational opportunity and I keep hearing of grandmas with iPads, so I don’t think we’ll be excluding anyone.”

While a technical aspect will be added to the search for hidden pieces of art around the river, Cooper said, the old method with a stamp and notebook can still be employed.

“We’re just adding other dimensions to it,” she said.

Phone tour content will be updated periodically to include more information from artists and others.

For more information, look online at dublinarts.org.

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