Utilizing Technology to Expand Our Reach…
Until the year 2020, the Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community impacted the lives of hundreds of visitors each year with incredible displays of regional artists artwork in the Hallberg Center for the Arts.
Then in early 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic hit, initially having to close the art center and reschedule some exhibits. The organization was faced with the problem of how to continue revealing the talent of regional artists.
At the same time, Eric and Karla Peterson were living in Florida and trying to sell their home in Wyoming, MN. Paul Hoppe, the current Wyoming Police Chief was getting ready to retire from law enforcement and had been diving into real estate, had taken on the task of representing Eric and Karla in the sale of their home.
Paul utilized a real estate program for creating virtual tours for real estate listings. Eric looked at the virtual tour of their Wyoming home that Paul had created, and thought this might be a was to expand the reach of our exhibits to people who were stuck in their homes because of the pandemic.
Eric ran the idea by our Board of Directors, and everyone was open to the idea.
Reaching out to Paul Hoppe, Eric found out what was needed to create these virtual tours. Tree Croyle put a grant proposal into the East Central Regional Arts Council to buy equipment, and they approved.
Paul then came over to the art center to help train Tree and Jonas Croyle how to use our new equipment to create a virtual tour of the current exhibit, Material Matters by Rita Dungey on May 20, 2020.
Up to this point, we had only created slideshow galleries of the artwork itself displayed in exhibits at our art center. And, to this day, these types of slideshow/galleries of images on a website are what many art galleries call a “Virtual Tour”.
What many people don’t know, these virtual exhibits utilizing real estate technology not only allow a website visitor to look at the art, but see the Hallberg Center for the Arts main gallery, then go down the stairs into the Underground Gallery. And this programming is compatible with virtual reality gear, so if the visitor happens to own virtual reality gear, they can virtually walk through the gallery and view the artwork as though they were there.
The Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community has continued to produce these virtual tours for each exhibit to reach not only people quarantined by a pandemic, but people who are hindered from visiting the Hallberg Center either by distance or physical disabilities.