2012-03-30 / Community

NY’s Largest Art Museum, In Your Pocket

A new mobile app allows users to browse through more than 200 works of contemporary art found throughout the New York City Subway, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and MTA Bridges and Tunnels, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced.

The MTA’s Arts for Transit collection has been added to the Meridian App for Apple and Android mobile devices. Select a work of art, and the app provides still images, text information on the background, inspiration and significance of each work, and at selected stations, video and audio clips featuring its artists.

For the New York subway stations with wireless Internet connectivity, the Meridian App also provides turn-byturn directions at select large stations to the precise locations of the artworks. This indoor-navigation feature will continue to develop as the MTA adds cell and data service throughout the MTA network.

“This is a phenomenal use of technology,” said MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota. “This app will help our customers recognize that New York’s transportation system, besides helping 8.5 million people get to work every day, is a world-class art museum with works by many of the most renowned artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.”

“We get lots of positive feedback about our art collection,” said Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design. “It’s a part of riding the train that people love. Now we’ve made it easier to find out more about the collection. We’d already posted a significant amount of information about our art online, but with this app, it is as if you have a Museum in the palm of your hand.”

The app is built by Meridian Apps, a firm specializing in place-centered apps that offer spatial navigation for museums, convention halls, stadia and large stores. Using the app, subway customers can enjoy the same experience as museumgoers at some of the most prominent institutions around the world that have partnered with Meridian for special museum-specific apps, including the American Museum of Natural History.

“The app serves a dual role, not only as a glossy, digital art compendium, but also as an indoor navigation aid,” said Kiyo Kubo, CEO of Meridian. “New Yorkers have access to a huge collection of world-renowned art, and we are delighted to be able to showcase the art using the same unique and innovative mobile technology we use for many museum clients.”

In the Meridian App, the entire collection of MTA-commissioned artwork is organized by subway or railroad line and by artist. To browse by line, simply select a line and each station with artwork is listed in order from north to south. To browse by artist, all artists are listed alphabetically by name.

To help customers find their way to the works of art in the MTA’s collection, the app provides step-by-step transit and walking directions in selected stations. It even shows schematic diagrams of the largest subway complex in each borough that indicate the precise location of the works of art within each station. More schematic station maps will be added.

Artwork in the MTA network is administered by MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design. The works of art have been created by emerging artists, as well as luminaries whose works are displayed in some of the most prominent museums in the world including Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Murray, Roy Lichtenstein and Sol Lewitt.

The app is officially licensed by the MTA, and was built at no cost to the agency. The MTA and Meridian have agreed to share any potential revenues generated by the app after Meridian first recoups the expenses it incurred in building the app.

The Meridian App, which also features tours of the Portland Art Museum, Balboa Park in San Diego, Powell’s Books in Portland, and others, is free to download. After downloading it, touch “Select Location,” then “Featured” or “Nearby” to choose “MTA” from a range of choices.

For more information about the app, visit mta.info/art/app/.

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