in the Public Realm
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Previous Newsletters Vol. 1 Issue 1 - April, 2011

Welcome to cultureNOW's first e-newsletter!

NYC Big Apps 2.0 NYC BIG APPS cultureNOW's iPhone app was voted one of NYC's Best Apps of 2011.

Last night we had the pleasure and privilege of receiving a prize from Mayor Mike Bloomberg for creating one of the Best Overall Apps in the NYC BigApps 2.0 contest. What began as a cultural and historical map of Lower Manhattan in 2001 has evolved considerably in the past ten years. From Albuquerque to New Haven, from Providence to Portland, from Kansas City to Culver City, from Toledo to El Paso, from New Orleans to Los Angeles, over 28 public art collections across America are collaborating with cultureNOW to create a digital National Gallery of art and architecture in the public realm. Already one of the largest and most comprehensive compendiums in the country, the online collection encompasses more than 6000 sites and 11,000 images.

We built the website and iPhone app for people like ourselves who are curious about the world outside of gallery walls. We thought about how many times we tried to visit buildings only to discover that they were closed when we got there. We know how frustrating it can be to make an excursion to a specific artwork only to discover that something else we really wanted to see is only a short distance away. We hated carrying heavy guidebooks around the city and wanted to address that. We believed that public art should be seen in context with architecture and history. We thought it would be great if it would be possible to actually stand in front of a building and see the rest of the pictures, the drawings, the interiors, the construction photos while you were listening to the architect explain the design. We wanted to look at ghost buildings, temporary works of art, and discover emerging artists and architects and really take the Museum outside of the Museum. We wanted to take tours on our own time.

Our solution was to take advantage of the gps and the audio streaming technology of the iPhone to create a technologically sophisticated guide to the physical environment.This became cultureNOW's Museum Without Walls. There are now two iPhone apps: the full app and a version for Lower Manhattan, 322 podcasts, 19 tours from New York to Los Angeles. It's amazing how far we've come. We plan to share a few of the highlights from our National Gallery in these working_newsletter.

Thanks for all your help and support.

Abby Suckle, President

Featured Public Art Collection: Portland, Oregon

cultureNOW partnered with the Regional Arts & Cultural Council and the Port of Portland to present the City of Portland and Multnomah County's permanent public artworks. Many of the pieces reflect the area's rich Native American history, in addition to the city's growing eco-friendly urban aesthetic.

Portlandia by Raymond Caskey (left), Facing the Crowd by Michael Stutz (right)

Interesting Finds
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Upcoming EVENTS

Mapping the Cityscape: New Needs & New Tools Symposium

When: Thursday, May 5th, 2011
Time: 6pm - 8pm
Location: Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, NYC
About: The symposium will focus on the role of emerging digital technologies in transforming our perception of our environment.

Israeli Independence Day: A walking tour of New York Jewish history

When: Sunday May 15, 2011 (rain or shine)
Time: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Meet at: Arrival Day Flagpole in Peter Minuit Park (Near the Staten Island Ferry)
About: Congregation Da'at Elohim is partnering with cultureNOW to organize this walking tour which will be lead by James Kaplan, walking tour historian, expert on history of the Jews in New York, and Israeli Independence


Featured Artist: ALICE AYCOCK

Alice Aycock partnered with cultureNOW to post her large scale public sculptures as well as to record podcasts for six of her pieces. Highlights include narration of the nail-biting 2010 Nashville flood which nearly washed her piece Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks (right) down the Cumberland River.

Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks (above), Strange Attractor for Kansas City (left).

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Gateway Arch with Artist Eero Saarinen and Landscape Architect Dan Kiley (above), Brooklyn Bridge Park with Maryann Thompson Architects (below, left),

Featured Landscape Architect:

Michael Van Valkenburgh won the International Competition to redesign the grounds and surrounding landscape for the St Louis Arch in October 2010. 35 of his projects were added to cultureNOW's collection including the redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House in Washington, DC, Harvard Yard in Cambridge, and Brooklyn Bridge Park in NY. He won the National Design Award in Environmental Design from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 2003 and the Arthur W. Brunner Prize in architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2010.


In honor of St Patrick's Day, lawyer and historian James Kaplan led a walking tour of midtown New York City starting at St Patrick's Cathedral and proceeding west to Clinton. Nearly 60 people went on the tour.