Virtual ARTEXPRESS takes out national design award

The use of world-leading technology has helped secure a prestigious award for one of NSW’s most popular art shows.

Image: Winners are grinners: Arts Programs and Partnerships Coordinator Andy Lasaitis at the awards night.

The 2021 Virtual ARTEXPRESS has been recognised as one of the best exhibitions in the country with a national design award.

The NSW Department of Education’s Arts Unit was named the winner of the Best Virtual Tour or Exhibition at the 2022 Museums Australasia Multimedia and Publication Design Awards last week.

Arts Programs and Partnerships Coordinator Andy Lasaitis, who accepted the award at the annual Australian Museums and Galleries Association conference, said this was the third year of the Virtual ARTEXPRESS exhibition, which uses world-leading 3D technology to create an authentic gallery experience.

“One of the key features of this project is that it provides access to outstanding ARTEXPRESS works for any student, anywhere, who has access to the internet, making it a valuable teaching and learning resource,” he said.

“I can see the huge impact that this amazing resource can have for every visual arts student in NSW.

“We are working with our colleagues across the department in the development of resources that can accompany this exhibition, including more discussions with the artists themselves, virtual tours and how-to guides to best utilise the technology.

“This is the next exciting step for us.”

Mr Lasaitis said the virtual exhibition was about catering for everyone.

“Not everyone can get to the Art Gallery of NSW and not everyone can seek inspiration from touring exhibitions or local galleries,” he said.

“But through the delivery and investment made in ARTEXPRESS Virtual by the Department of Education, we can hopefully inspire a more equitable pathway to academic attainment and excellence.”

The Arts Unit engaged Rampe Realistic Imaging to develop the virtual gallery with developer Michael Rampe ensuring the students work remained “front and centre in the whole experience”.

“It's awesome to be acknowledged by our peers for all the hard work we have put into developing, refining and pushing the boundaries of what is possible with virtual exhibitions,” he said.

“It is easy to get consumed by shiny new technology and I think we have hit the sweet spot of having the tech as invisible as possible and letting the student work shine.”

The Arts Unit took out the category with the Australian Museum’s Unsettled exhibition Digital Twin Experience receiving a highly commended by the judges.

The judges noted the ARTEXPRESS Virtual exhibition was “an extremely impressive achievement” as it was “both a virtual walkthrough and with supporting resources on the website”.

“The walkthrough is simple to navigate (StreetView style), and with excellent 3D modelling of the many objects on display,” the judges’ comments read.

Take a self-guided visit to the ARTEXPRESS 2021 exhibition.

ARTEXPRESS is a partnership between the NSW Department of Education and the NSW Education Standards Authority.

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