Throughout the fluctuating periods of global quarantine, many different arts institutions and individuals have come up with novel digital ways of showcasing their collections or their creativity for audiences stuck at home. Now, the Cleveland Museum of Art has turned its attention to creating programming that’s specifically tailored to remote workplaces. The Ohio institution just launched an app called ArtLens for Slack that affords companies the ability to create unique digital exhibitions tailored to their own unique work environments. By giving people working remotely access to the museum’s extensive collection, which includes everything from Conte-style hammered gold plaques to masterworks by the German Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach, the developers of the app hope to provide an inspirational break from the day-to-day grind.
Technically speaking, the app employs the museum’s Open Access application programming interface in order to allow users to browse the collection, make selections for digital “exhibitions” generated by the app within Slack and comment on the selections made by their coworkers. The app also generates daily randomized themes so that workers can get glimpses of different types of art that have been specifically curated with social distancing in mind—some of the themes include “See the World From Your Sofa” and “Human Connection.”
“The Cleveland Museum of Art is a leader in the use of technology to enhance the understanding and appreciation of its extraordinary collection,” William M. Griswold, the director of the museum, said in a statement. “While this temporary shift brought on by the global pandemic is significant, it provides us with an opportunity to use digital experiences to connect with our audiences. We’re excited to introduce ArtLens for Slack and to bring new creativity and connection into the lives of people continuing to work from home during this time.”
While much digital arts programming during the pandemic has rightfully centered around the entertainment and continual education of children, it’s encouraging to see programming emerge that’s specifically tailored to remote workers confined to their laptops. If we can’t come to the museums, the museums are making sure they’re coming to us.