The Art Institute of Chicago’s guest blogger Carolina Kauffman was kind enough to let us republish her excellent article about the use of technology to enhance and extend the museum experience. Read the article below and the original can be found here.
Is There an App for that Brushstroke?
In deference to the safety of the museum’s collection, painting in the Art Institute has traditionally been restricted to a limited number of students and professionals. But thanks to creative uses of mobile devices, the museum has been able to extend that artistic experience to a wider audience without spilling a drop of paint. In a recent Teen Studio Workshop on Experimental Painting, museum education staff—using an iPad app that simulates painting techniques—provided teens with a digital canvas and virtual brushes and paints. Inspired by artworks like Gerhard Richter’s Ice (1-4) shown below, participants “squeezed” virtual paint onto their simulated canvases, blended and smudged colors with a palette knife, and built up layers and textures, all through touching or dragging their fingers over iPad screens.
Museum lecturers also use iPads as virtual portfolios to show images that supplement understanding of artworks discussed on public gallery talks. Digital images on the iPads permit the audience to view sculpture from different angles, and to explore related works from the collection not on display, or comparative artworks from other museums or collections. The speaker below, for instance, shows the image of an ancient coffin to help convey the original purpose of the Egyptian funerary objects in the cases behind him. Lecturers use them to zoom in on minute details, some not detectable to the naked eye, and the highly visible backlit screen gives iPads an advantage over their paper analogues.
Lecturers have even begun to incorporate audio and video into their tours. During a gallery talk, for example, visitors might listen to the atonal music of Arnold Schoenberg and compare it to the abstract compositions of Vasily Kandinsky; or they might compare movement, rhythm, mood, or repetition in an artwork to that found in an example of jazz or classical music. A lecturer might invite visitors to explore Richmond Barthé’s bronze sculpture The Boxer and watch an archival video showing the artists process and sculptural techniques in his studio. Most recently, children were introduced to the illustration exhibition Animals around the World: Picture Books by Steve Jenkins in the Ryan Education Center both literally and virtually. First, students looked closely at the dynamic paper collages combined with amazing facts about inhabitants of the animal kingdom. Then an educator showed videos on an iPad of the animals in their habitats, enabling some of our youngest audiences to see examples of where an artist drew inspiration for his work.
Mobile technology is increasingly demonstrating its potential to connect museum audiences of all ages with the artists and their works and to provide opportunities for creative experiences through dynamic interaction with the collection. Stay tuned for more ways in which the Art Institute of Chicago will engage 21st century visitors with mobile and touch-screen technology, bringing them closer to the collection in new and exciting ways.
—Carolina K., Education Technology Manager, Digital Information and Access
Since publishing our 30 Best iPhone Apps for Art Teachers last year (August 2009), we have discovered many new apps that are worthy of being added to our best list. Covering a wide range of interests and uses, below are the Teaching Palette’s 10 Best iPhone, iPad and iPod Apps for Art Teachers 2010 – the latest and greatest apps for art teachers and their students. Consider this an amendment to last year’s list.
Apps for Student and Teacher Use
Animalia Based on the beautiful illustrations from the classic book by the same name, this app brings “eye spy” to a whole new level. Explore various artwork by hunting for hidden items.
Accudraw Update your traditional grid drawing system with technology. Photograph an object or use one from your library and overlay with a grid to create precision drawings.
Faces iMake Appropriate for younger students, this app uses a creative mix of collage materials inspired by author and artist Hanoch Pivin. Upgrade to the premium version for additional features. See our full review of Faces iMake here.
KidsOrigami Beautiful images illustrate simple origami folding techniques for kids. Just click on a paper crane, frog, etc. and follow the step by step instructions. Great for the analytical thinkers in your classroom. Recommended for late elementary and up.
Sketchn’ Guess Lite Available only on the iPad this app capitalizes on the larger screen size for game play. Players divide into two teams and try to gain the most points by guessing their team’s themes the fastest. Features include a timer, score sheet, “Sketchn’ Guess” cards and several colored pencil choices for sketching in an easy to navigate format that allows for self directed play. Recommended for late elementary students and up.
fotobabble Great for an art critique or personal reflection, this simple app allows you to record and attach audio to a photo. Saved content can be posted publicly or privately accessible on the fotobabble website.
Art & Music If you enjoy integrating music into your curriculum, this is the app for you. This app matches up music and art from corresponding time periods, ranging from Russian to the Classical West. (not iPad compatible)
Apps for Art History
MoMA AB EX NY Experience 200 Abstract Expressionist paintings all housed by the MOMA. Beautiful images of art that can be enlarged and displayed with additional information. The iPad app includes a selection of videos featuring comments by the curators, artist painting techniques and art terms in action. My favorite video is The Painting Techniques of Jackson Pollack: One: November 31, 1950. There is also an interactive map and Art Terms glossary.
SmartHistory The closest you can get to Italy from home, this app gives an amazing virtual art history tour through Rome using various multimedia including video and google map locations.
French Impressionism Showcasing artwork from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, this app is perfect for Impressionism lovers. View detailed video descriptions, gallery views, and biographies including Monet, Seurat, Ceznne, along with many others.
ArtPuzzle HD (iPad) / ArtPuzzle Lite ArtPuzzle HD is set in an art gallery that you virtually walk through and unscramble over 70 famous art masterpieces. The iPad app features classical music, four levels of difficulty, information about each painting and the ability to save the image to your photo gallery. ArtPuzzle Lite is compatible with iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch and offers many of the same features but, also has a quiz feature.
Art Start Created by an art teacher from Seattle, this idea generator can spark creativity in your students. Simply pressing the start button produces ideas for media, prompt, and color.
Learn about many other great apps reviewed for education though IEAR.