Last month, the Gibbes, along with 151 other museums of the world, began sharing its historic collection with a global audience through the Google Art Project. Officially launched on April 3, 2012, the Art Project is a unique collaboration between Google and the world’s most respected and acclaimed museums, enabling visitors to virtually explore museums, discover and view hundreds of artworks online at incredible zoom levels, and even create and share their own collection of masterpieces with a few clicks of a mouse. The Gibbes is one of 151 museums in the world participating in The Art Project, of which 29 are in the United States, and 2 are in the Southeast.
The Gibbes was invited to participate in this exciting new endeavor last August. We knew that the Google Art Project would offer an unprecedented international platform to show-off our collection so our goal was to feature some of the true treasures our collection has to offer. In order to demonstrate the long history and stellar quality of art in the South, we chose a diverse, cross-section of works to represent our collection, from easel paintings to miniature portraits, sculpture, and watercolors. Over forty works from the Gibbes Museum are highlighted on the site and more will be featured in the future.
For this phase of the project, we received final specifications for uploading our data and images of works of art in November 2011. Our team worked feverishly through December to finalize selections and format our data according to Google’s program specifications for the January deadline. Thanks to our social media expert and program and events manager, Lasley Steever, who promoted the vision and helped me coordinate many of the technical aspects of the project with Google representatives; Joyce Baker, curatorial assistant, who handled the formatting of image files; and our dedicated volunteer Rebecca Hiester, who assisted me and curator Pam Wall with the details of inputting and proofing data fields, we are now virtually in the company of the world’s most revered museums!
Launch parties were held in Chicago, Illinois, at The Art Institute, and in Paris, France, at the Musée d’Orsay, and were attended by museum representatives from all over the world including Gibbes staff members Angela Mack, executive director, and Lasley Steever, respectively.
I hope you will take time to peruse the works of art included in the Art Project. Visitors to the site can view works across museum collections, search by artist and medium, and zoom in to images to see fine details. Make your own gallery of favorites and share it with our online community via Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments field below.
—Sara Arnold, Curator of Collections, Gibbes Museum of Art