Looking to Enliven Your Company's Work From Home Time? Curating Is Team-Building With Cleveland Museum's ArtLens for Slack App

  • CLEVELAND, Ohio
  • /
  • May 25, 2020

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Ornament from Sitio Conte: Small Plaque c. 400-500. Panama, Conte style, 5th - 10th century. Hammered gold. 9.3 x 10 cm (3 11/16 x 3 15/16 in.) The Norweb Collection 1951.155
Cleveland Museum of Art

New Slack app allows remote workers to use the Cleveland Museum of Art’s world-class collection to curate virtual art exhibitions as a team

The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) has launched ArtLens for Slack, the first virtual art exhibition app designed specifically for remote workplaces. The free Slack app connects teams to the museum’s renowned collection and allows them to curate an exhibition unique to their company while enriching their workspace with art and culture. ArtLens for Slack provides opportunities for recharging, exploration and discussion of works of art, and offers teams a creative moment to reset. The app unites teams through brief but significant moments of companionship, humor and serendipity woven into the workday.

“The Cleveland Museum of Art is a leader in the use of technology to enhance the understanding and appreciation of its extraordinary collection,” said William M. Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “While this temporary shift brought on by the global pandemic is significant, it provides us with an opportunity to use digital experiences to connect with our audiences. We’re excited to introduce ArtLens for Slack and to bring new creativity and connection into the lives of people continuing to work from home during this time.” 

Looking for a rapid response to the COVID-19 epidemic, the CMA’s Digital Innovation team wanted to leverage the museum’s Open Access API (application programming interface) and in-house software development resources. To do this, the CMA collaborated with the New York-based interaction design agency, Potion, to create ArtLens for Slack, which launched in less than five weeks. The app is part of the CMA’s free online initiative, “Home Is Where the Art Is” that showcases the museum’s globally recognized digital resources and features a variety of newly created fun and engaging programs for people of all ages. Informed by the CMA’s strategic plan, Making Art Matter, “Home Is Where the Art Is” builds on the plan’s three essential elements: Art, Place, and Audience. While Art and Audience remain intact, Place has shifted to a virtual platform to promote social distancing while still allowing the museum to use these elements in an innovative way to advance its mission of “creating transformative experiences through art, for the benefit of all the people forever.” 

Hunting near Hartenfels Castle, 1540, by Lucas Cranach (German, 1472-1553)
Cleveland Museum of Art

ArtLens for Slack creates virtual connections and serves as a stand-in for both a traditional museum experience and in-office conversations. Featured prompts bring works that span centuries to present-day conversations. With art from the CMA’s Open Access collectionArtLens for Slack generates new daily themes such as “See the World from your Sofa,” with artworks showcasing destinations like the beach or countryside that you can visit from your couch, and “Human Connection,” which presents artworks featuring parties, festivals and other opportunities for gathering. Teams can explore and learn about different works of art, make comments and react to their teammates’ selections. At the end of the day, ArtLens for Slack organizes an exhibition with the selections and comments made by the entire team. The app meets remote workers where they are and unites the digital workplace.

“When we began working remotely, we saw an opportunity to bring works of art to those in similar circumstances,” said Jane Alexander, the CMA’s chief digital information officer. “As we moved the museum to a completely digital presence, we wanted to do more than just move our museum experience online; we wanted to create something unique. Everyone is looking into the future and trying to find new ways to deliver value. That’s what we did with ArtLens for Slack. The app offers daily engagement with world-class art that enriches remote workplaces with a new class of meaningful conversation. We’re looking forward to expanding this app to collaborate with other Open Access museum collections and reach broader audiences on new platforms and other online workspaces.”

Slack users can download ArtLens for Slack now at clevelandart.org/artlens-for-slack or the Slack App Marketplace. 


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