Need A Distraction?
Do you need a distraction from the COVID-19 pandemic? Virtual tours in art galleries and museums are becoming a trend and will probably become an on demand routine. As we continue to navigate these extraordinary circumstances we live in, I noticed the art world is offering alternative options and taking steps to accept the reality of social distancing. Multimedia and digital marketing is making anything possible!
The Virtual Experience
With a virtual gallery tour, you see the inside of the building and get close to your favourite paintings and other articles on display. This experience may even allow you to be closer to the artwork than if you were there in person. Although I like the idea of having the opportunity to see artwork in this way, I am not experiencing the illusion that I have the control to stroll and see what I want. I say illusion because it is really the venues that control your experience. For instance, when you arrive at a gallery there is usually one entrance. The layout of the exhibit is setup in a way that it will direct the visitor in a certain direction, much like a retail store. It is called “visitor flow” and there are years of studies and recordings tracking visitors behaviour in an exhibit setting. Most of these virtual tours will also offer talks about the work being done to protect and preserve the collection during these unprecedented times which is an added bonus. You don’t need to read anything!
A gallery typically has the pressure of a monthly exhibition that needs to be organized and promoted. This includes printed ads, phone calls to potential collectors and the press, and then hosting an art opening. This is the difference between an art gallery and a museum. A gallery is to view art from the perspective of buying it so there would be promoting involved whereas a museum is solely for viewing. A museum is more about history, curating, education and not selling other then the gift shop at the exit. Gift shops - another thing you don’t have to concern yourself with in a virtual tour! Many of these activities have been eliminated and reduced to online marketing which is less time consuming and more efficient.
Adapting To The New Culture
Leaders in the art community have made me proud with their decision-making that allows the industry to come through with a position of strength in this time of adversity. Embracing technology and making an effort to leverage the power of the internet in the favour of the arts is one of the things we can do during these difficult times. Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass - it’s about learning to dance in the rain.