Google Open Gallery Lets Small-Gallery Owners Show Their Collections

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-12-26

Google Open Gallery Lets Small-Gallery Owners Show Their Collections

Small art galleries around the world can now get some free help from Google to show off the lovely artwork within their walls by using Google Open Gallery, an online service that lets gallery owners display their collections to online visitors.

The new Google Open Gallery capability was announced recently by Robert Tansley, the product manager for the Google Open Gallery, and Laurent Gaveau, the head of the lab at the Google Cultural Institute, in a post on the Google Policy Europe Blog.

"Do you run a small gallery and would like people to be able to dive into the hidden depths of your artworks with a powerful zoom?" wrote Tansley and Gaveau. "Help is now at hand with Google Open Gallery. For the past few years, we've worked with museums around the world to make their collections available on the Google Cultural Institute. Now, we've opened up the technologies behind this project so that anyone with cultural content can publish it, creating exhibitions that tell engaging stories on their own Website."

The Google Open Gallery is also available to individuals who have fascinating art collections and would like to showcase them, they wrote. "Perhaps you've been busy tidying your loft/attic and discovered a treasure trove of photos that can tell an amazing story, like Dean Putney who unearthed a huge archive of photos taken by his grandfather, a German officer during World War I. Or are you an artist like Vitor Rolim from Brazil, and want to show the evolution of your work but are not sure you have the technical expertise?"

That's where the Google Open Gallery can be used, they wrote. "Take a look at how the Belgian Comic Strip Centerused the Google Open Gallery to tell the story of their iconic Art Nouveau building—the Waucquez Warehouse—through a quirky mix of comic-style drawings, photographs, sketches and first-hand experiences."

The Google Open Gallery can be used by anyone to showcase an individual's art collection or a gallery's collection, all with some clicks of a mouse and keys, according to Google. "We'll host your content and give you access to our technology at no cost to you or your organization," wrote Tansley and Gaveau. "It's pretty simple—just upload images, add video, Street View imagery and text, interweaving your story among the images to create an exhibition that will truly engage your visitors."

One museum, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, matched archive photos with modern-day Street View imagery to showcase its collection, they wrote, while Berndnaut Smilde, a contemporary artist living and working in Amsterdam, built an online gallery for his works of stunning clouds.

"There’s plenty to inspire the budding artist in you with these 45 new Google Open Gallery creations from around the world, so why not get exploring," they wrote.

In connection with the new service, Google also recently opened the Lab at the Cultural Institute, which is a place inside the Google Paris office "where the worlds of culture and technology are brought together to discuss, debate and explore new ideas," wrote Tansley and Gaveau. "It's also where we don our white coats and test out things like 3D scanners, million-pixel cameras, interactive screens and more, working with museums to try them out inside their spaces to get their feedback."

Google Open Gallery Lets Small-Gallery Owners Show Their Collections

In March 2013, Google expanded its Global Art Project with another 2,000 works of art in its growing and evolving Google Art Project, which is a Website that displays amazing and hard-to-find sculptures, paintings, drawings and even folk and street art from around the world. The collection now includes more than 30,000 beautiful and creative works of art in 200 museums across 40 countries, all viewable through a Web browser.

The Google Art Project began in February 2011 by a group of Google employees who came up with the idea of creating an online collection of art from around the world. The project was designed during their "20 percent time," which is set aside for employees to work on personal projects that advance the company's work and missions using as much as 20 percent of their work week. The employers built the project using Google's Street View, Picasa and App Engine technology to take pictures of artwork and assemble them on this special Website. The Google Art Project, a collaboration between Google and the participating museums, began with 17 museum partners in nine countries when it launched.

 In August 2013, Amazon began selling fine art online, adding it to the many categories of items that shoppers can buy from the e-commerce giant, which already is the leader in selling books, CDs, DVDs and more online. The Amazon Art category on Amazon's site includes more than 40,000 works of art from about 4,500 artists that are being offered for sale by more than 150 galleries and art dealers in the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Canada.

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