FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A Fort Worth neighborhood takes public art to a new dimension with an augmented reality art walk.
It’s easy to see all the vibrant colors and large-scale murals in South Main, but there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
“It’s something you wouldn’t expect,” says artist Fernando Rojas.
Using an app on your phone called Neighborhood Leap, existing artworks come to life or completely virtual pieces suddenly appear.
All you have to do is follow the arrows, stop at the markings that tell you where to stand and align the shot.
“Just in the 30 minute walk you take here, which is a little bit of the Near Southside, you’re going to see 20 different things,” said Kathleen Culebro, Amphibian Stage Artistic Director.
Culebro saw how the shops and restaurants in the area were struggling during the pandemic and she wanted to find a way to bring people to the area for a unique outdoor experience.
“How often do we walk through our city without knowing who or what is around us?” she said.
This art walk gives people the chance to discover new places and get in touch with their environment.
“I’ve never seen anything like it here in Fort Worth, so I think we’re pioneers in virtual reality in a way,” said Rojas, who designed a virtual piece for the tour. “Having something open to the community, open to everyone to experience, is a great way to start a new art movement.”
This is intended to be a never-ending project. When new artworks appear nearby, it can be added to the tour, so the art walk is constantly changing.
“My biggest hope for this experience is that artists get the attention they deserve, the businesses in the area get new customers who didn’t know we were here, and people get moving, getting active, outdoors, to be in a very joyful way of interacting and thinking about our environment,” said Culebro.
The project is made possible through collaborations with Blue Zones Project Fort Worth, Near Southside Arts, Visit Fort Worth and Texas Commission on the Arts. As a new addition, local software development studio DEVHOUSE Agency brought the foundational work of The Cultural Assembly to life.
How to prepare:
• The app can be downloaded on Android and Apple iPhones Generation 10 and newer.
• Earphones or headphones ensure the best experience – the walk includes a dynamic mix of narration and music alongside visual elements.
• Pay attention to pavement markings; follow the arrows until you see a “You’ve arrived!” sticker.”
• Listen to the story and let yourself be guided during your walk!
• Think of the heat! The walk takes about 30 minutes; stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun.
• For the best experience, visitors are encouraged to use the app in the evenings or on cloudy days – the hot Texas sun creates a glare on the phone, making it difficult to fully enjoy the art.
• Find the full list of participating artists and collaborators here†
There will be an official app launch party Thursday night at Amphibian Stage from 8pm to 10pm. It is open to the public. If you show that you have downloaded the app, you will get a free snow cone.