Photos top row from left to right: John BonSignore, “Ikumi”; Chris Plaisted, “The Wind in the Waves”; R. Douglass Rice, “Water Fowl.” Bottom: David Adilman, “Moonstruck”
Riverwalk Reception on Sunday
Special to the News from the Winchester Cultural District
On October 15, Winchester celebrates a major public exhibition of art, both real and virtual, with the launch of the Winchester Cultural District’s “Riverwalk Exhibit.” Marking the occasion is a reception at the Griffin Museum of Photography that begins at 4 p.m. on the Museum’s Terrace with a walking tour and continues at 5 p.m. with refreshments and talks by the artists. The event is free and open to the public.
The Winchester Riverwalk Exhibit helps fulfill the vision for the Cultural District, expressed by Mary McKenna and Joyce Westner, as a walkable, art-filled space in the heart of town. Embracing the banks of the Aberjona River and the two ponds in Winchester Center, the exhibit is anchored by four sculptures and is “augmented” by an evolving virtual experience accessible on cell phones and other mobile devices via the Augmented Reality (AR) platform Hoverlay.
Strolling along the beautiful mile long exhibition, visitors will see the sculptures and dramatic AR creations, watch musicians perform and hear birds sing, listen to a poetry recital, view short videos from around the world, visualize Winchester’s history, and encounter other unique AR experiences. The goal is to imagine how Winchester can gather as a community, exploring and experiencing arts, culture, and science.
Sculpture selection was led by Winchester resident Cynthia Randall, who worked closely with the New England Sculptors Association to conduct a Call for Art. She noted, “Thirty-seven artists submitted sculptures, from which our committee chose four. The sculptures celebrate Winchester’s ponds and waterways as well as how we can gather as a community experiencing art in nature.” The selection committee was comprised of Cultural District volunteers and included representatives from the Jenks Center and the Town Manager’s office.
Including Augmented Reality allowed the exhibit to be much bigger in terms of both the number of artworks and of participants. The many AR experiences help bring to life what an art-filled Winchester Riverwalk would look like. The AR exhibit is also intended to give everyone an opportunity to learn about, experience, and create this kind of spatial web. A continuing goal of this exhibit is to create art as a community and to share that art with the community—a good fit for the rapidly growing and highly accessible new artistic medium of AR. For the exhibit, Hoverlay was selected as the platform because it is easy to use. It enables artists to focus on their craft and doesn’t require any programming.
Last May, the Cultural District offered an AR class at the Jenks Center. Afterwards, some members of that class worked to create the first release of the current AR exhibit, which includes collaborations with Winchester Community Music School, Winchester Historical Society, and WinCAM. The team was supported by Milan Kovacev, a Winchester resident who is a co-founder of Hoverlay. “Winchester is on the cutting edge of spatial technology,” says Kovacev. “The AR tour is a great showcase of this emerging medium for engaging town's residents and visitors."
The Cultural District is planning to update the AR exhibit on a quarterly basis. During the next six months, the District plans to offer additional workshops, open to all, so additional residents can learn about the platform and get involved in creating cyberarts for the exhibit.
The Riverwalk Exhibit will remain on display for the next year, through Fall 2024, and may be experienced through every season. Maps will be available at the opening reception and on site. Additional features and activities will be added during the year; see www.winchesterculturaldistrict.org for details.
This exhibit could not be possible without the support of many community members and organizations, countless volunteer hours, and the sponsorship of the Mass Cultural Council, The Enka Society, Winchester Rotary, Winchester Cultural Council, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and The Nolan Group.
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