Art Museum of South Texas Wins Bronze at International Awards

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Technology is revolutionizing the consumption of art as museums transition from static displays to engaging installations using innovative hands-on and interactive gadgets to enrich the visitor experience. The Art Museum of South Texas (AMST), an affiliate of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, was recognized on an international stage when they won the 2018 Bronze MUSE Award in the Interpretive Interactive Installations category, which focuses on educational and entertaining experiences using interactive video walls, projection-based installations and more. The award-winning AMST exhibition, “The Color of Being/El Color del Ser: Dorothy Hood (1918-2000),” re-imagined art conceptualization through its incorporation of technology to enhance visitor learning and enjoyment.

“We were humbled to have won Bronze at such an important competition,” said Joe Schenk, AMST director. “This award celebrates the evolution of the museum experience and recognizes a handful of museums globally who are redefining the visitor experience as interactive, memorable and sharable.”

The exhibition’s design had two primary goals: to showcase the art of Dorothy Hood – an under-represented female artist and early Texas modernist – and to enable visitors to access and gain a personal connection to abstract art through an immersive high-tech experience.

The landmark exhibition, which was displayed from September 2016 to January 2017, featured 155 works, including 82 paintings, 46 drawings and 27 collages. Using a blend of artworks, graphics, artifacts and media as a backdrop, the exhibition propelled visitors into Hood’s world and into the movement of abstract art in a way that was fun, interactive and approachable to visitors of all ages.

With the guidance of strategically placed stations, visitors flowed through each of the five galleries, which explored storylines and multifaceted content documenting and celebrating Hood’s vibrant career. The interactive installations included: Be Abstract, Hood and Seek, Inner Space, Six Degrees of Inspiration and The DIY Dorothy Hood.

“The opportunity to inquire, reflect, play and observe allowed visitors to immerse themselves in a unique art experience that brought Hood’s large and colorful paintings to life,” said Karol Stewart, coordinator of AMST community services. “The exhibition described not only the cultural and historical context of Hood, but also the tools and processes she used to create her paintings and collages.”

Visitors also engaged in activities and media such as creating their own art through motion-capture devices and touch-table experiences.

“Explaining elements of an artist and the creative process using modern visualization, audio and hands-on technologies can create lifetime art patrons among the next generation,” shared Schenk.

This experience has changed how AMST views exhibition design and the use of technology to educate their visitors. One project that is well underway is the use of an augmented reality app created by Dr. David Squires, assistant professor at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The app allows visitors to interact with art through their phone and will bring technology to future exhibitions. Additionally, the redesign of the AMST website will amplify the viewing experience for online audiences by incorporating video interviews with artists, linking artwork to articles and adding additional resources about pieces in the permanent collection.

AMST, located along the Corpus Christi bayfront, has been affiliated with A&M-Corpus Christi since 1995 and aims to advance the awareness, knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for residents and visitors of South Texas.