The Virtual Frost Art Museum and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU recently announced the launch of the Virtual Frost Art Museum, a new website that enables art enthusiasts to view exhibitions from their computer or smart phone, thanks to a $35,000 matching grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of its Knight Arts Challenge. The Virtual Frost Art Museum can be accessed by visiting virtual.frostartmuseum.org.
“The Virtual Frost Art Museum is really unique,” said Carol Damian, Frost Art Museum’s director and chief curator.
Cutting-edge software applied to the art-viewing experience allows online visitors to tour the Museum galleries and portions of the Sculpture Park at FIU from a variety of perspectives, including 360-degree panoramic views and close-up views of individual artworks. Current and recent exhibitions, as well as archived past exhibitions, will be catalogued, allowing the public from anywhere in the world to visit a wide range of exhibitions.
“We have been presenting world-class exhibitions and cultural programming to the public, free of charge, here for years and will continue to do so in the future. We are pleased that now everyone can view these exhibitions online for free as well. As a cultural institution, we strive to break down the barriers that keep people from viewing, appreciating and learning about art; now physical distance will not prevent us from attaining that goal. For those with whom distance is not an issue, regular visits to the Virtual Frost Art Museum will help them get to know us better, to see our wonderful building and facilities and the exciting and eclectic art on display here and to whet their appetites for visits to the actual Frost Art Museum, again and again,” explained Damian.
The Knight Foundation has invested more than $66 million in the arts over the last five years. “The most innovative arts organizations are seeking to go where the audience is – and increasingly that is online. Programs like the Frost Museum’s can help spark interest from a distance that we hope translates into more engagement with the collection,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president of the arts for the Knight Foundation.
Part of the Museum of the Future initiative, this project focuses on developing the Museum’s identity as a resource for everyone, from the casual art enthusiast to the graduate student researching art. To meet these goals, the Museum collaborated with a graduate design team from FIU’s School of Architecture to expand the means by which people interact with art through digital media.
Through the launch of the Virtual Frost Art Museum, as well as by digitally publishing the Museum’s catalogues, videos of interviews with artists and curators and the Museum’s Permanent Collection, the Museum is now digitally pursuing its mission as “a resource for scholarly research and interdisciplinary collaboration, augmenting the university’s educational mission as both a local and global center of knowledge and culture.”
In addition to the Knight Arts Challenge grant, this project was made possible with generous support from the Members & Friends of The Frost Art Museum; Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC; and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor and the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners.