By Tameka Kenan-Norman, City of Rocky Mount
The city of Rocky Mount, North Carolina has become the first in the state to adopt Otocast, a free mobile app for audio guides. Alicyn Wiedrich, art curator for the Maria V. Howard Arts Center, is leading the charge in North Carolina of encouraging the public to download Otocast and to learn more about the amazing collection of sculptures throughout Rocky Mount.
The app asks users for permission to tap into the device’s GPS system. Once the GPS is enabled, the app will provide a location, directions and pictures for Sculpture Salmagundi. Salmagundi means an eclectic mixture of people, ideas or objects. Sculpture Salmagundi is also a national juried exhibition hosted by the city of Rocky Mount. Juried exhibitions are competitions in which the participants’ work is judged by a person or a panel.
There are currently 17 new, temporary Sculpture Salmagundis at various locations, including the Rocky Mount Senior Center, Thelonious Monk Square, the Helen P. Gay Rocky Mount Historic Train Station, City Lake, the Dog Park, Sunset Park and the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences. According to Wiedrich, the first sculpture by an African-American artist featured in the exhibition is currently located at the Frederick E. Turnage Municipal Building (City Hall).
In addition to photos, the app offers accompanying audio from the artists with more information about their creation. Participants also have an opportunity to be a part of the People’s Choice Award in which a voting feature on the app allows the public to select their favorite sculpture–the sculpture they would like to see remain in Rocky Mount. The voting deadline for the People’s Choice Award is March 2018.
“This app is a way we can measure engagement, so I decided to do this in order to engage the public and bring more awareness to our sculptures,” said Weidrich. “You can learn more about the sculpture without even being here.”
While Rocky Mount is the first in the state to embrace Otocast, the app’s developer, Eric Feinstein, has sought out other historic places and cities who may have sculpture competitions such as Maryland, Virginia and more.
For more information on Otocast and Sculpture Salmagundi, visit imperialcentre.org/arts-center/exhibits. To download the Otocast app, visit the App Store or Google Play.