Art program uses 360° virtual tour to increase exposure, enrollment

Virtual Art TourThe University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Art Program is taking the “360° experience” to a whole new visual level, with a 360° virtual tour of its facilities.

The virtual tour allows both web and mobile users to see UW-Green Bay’s exceptional studios and exhibition spaces. Users can use their mouse or mobile device to “move” laterally or vertically, and from one space to another, an experience that feels much like being there in person.

Art Program Virtual Tour

“Art and Design Unit Chair Jennifer Mokren and I noticed that when we give tours to students who are still undecided about where they plan to attend college, the minute they see our workspaces, they move UWGB to the top of their list,” said UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Alison Gates, Art Program chair. “Parents also react very positively during tours because they see the variety of work here and that our students take their art education very seriously.”

Gates and Mokren noticed that on Campus Preview Days, prospective students have only a short time to talk to academic major representatives, and often a tour to specific labs and studios is sacrificed for other informational sessions on financial aid and other topics. The 360° tour will help prospects see how UW-Green Bay’s Art facilities compare, and it will give those who live further from UW-Green Bay, including out-of-state prospects, an opportunity for a realistic virtual tour — and not just snapshots of spaces.

What prospects see on the 360° tour, according to Gates, are studio spaces that are pleasant and professional, allowing students to relax and be creative, while being able to access state-of-the art tools and equipment. The studios undergo constant revision and improvement, and faculty take great ownership in keeping the spaces current.

Click thumbnails below for a larger view of the studio spaces or see the entire virtual tour.
UW-Green Bay, Art Program Virtual Tour, December 2013 UW-Green Bay, Art Program Virtual Tour, December 2013 UW-Green Bay, Art Program Virtual Tour, December 2013 UW-Green Bay, Art Program Virtual Tour, December 2013

“The Art faculty work really hard on making the studios work, regardless of size or other restrictions,” Gates said. “We’ve been able to put one-time money into improving technology, so every studio now has a flat-screen for image viewing, for instance. We also have made great strides in general on improving the amount of wall space upon which students can hang work for review, and our studios are all exceptionally safe. The studios show the benefits of having full-time faculty teach in them and maintain them, different than classroom studios at schools where ad hoc or graduate students cycle in and out of the spaces short term.”

Gates said the tour welcomes the comparison between UW-Green Bay and other art programs and schools.

“We have more specific studio disciplines than any of our comparable UW System undergraduate institutions,” she said. “It’s absolutely true that if you come to UWGB for Art, you just get more for your money. Ask any of our alumni!”

The tour was recorded and produced by UW-Green Bay alumnus Jared Hoyman ’03, a Theatre graduate who owns a visual arts production company, Visible Tour. Hoyman, who often does virtual tours for customers trying to market their homes, approached UW-Green Bay Director of Marketing Sue Bodilly about his product and a pilot project “that would be a perfect for the 360° brand.”

“The timing couldn’t have been better for Jared to approach us about the exact type of creative tour the Art Program was looking for,” Bodilly said. “I am incredibly pleased that this has worked out for everyone involved. It is a perfect match for our 360° branding and it is a valuable tool for student recruitment and for highlighting our exceptional Art Program.”

The completed tour, which can be found on the Art Program website (www.uwgb.edu/art/), comes at an ideal time, Gates said. The Art faculty has worked hard at increasing the visibility on campus with art bombs (see feature story and photos) and new exhibitions spaces. This project is an extension of having a larger public be able to view the exceptional work of UW-Green Bay students and faculty. It also comes at a time when the Art Program is preparing for national reaccreditation.

Art Program Virtual Tour

“The filming day coincided perfectly so it wasn’t any extra work, really, because the visit had already been planned at a time when we’d have the Lawton Gallery full of excellently displayed, top-notch student work from the Annual Juried Student Show, and Studio Arts itself had been transformed into a three-story art gallery of sorts,” Gates said. “We simply chose the spaces we felt would give the broadest views of our program overall for anyone considering attending UWGB for Art.”

“The support we received from the University was great,” Gates added. “Everyone we spoke to about the project, from Admissions to the Office of Marketing and Communication, to (Liberal Arts and Sciences) Dean Scott Furlong — everyone was enthusiastic and offered excellent solutions to all the logistical problems we could have faced.

“The whole process has made me extremely happy to work on this kind of campus, where a couple professors can get an idea about the public perception of our program, and be empowered to run with it. Our 360° degree tour of Studio Arts also represents how faculty can experience 360 degrees of workplace engagement.”