‘Museums are the places in which we can discover the past, reflect on our understanding of the world and gain insights that will guide us into the future.’ – Sir Nicholas Serota
2016 may not have been the best year in recent history, but for SMARTIFY it was the year when a simple idea to transform engagement with art became a reality. Amid the seemingly endless rounds of meetings and funding applications, there have been some amazing highlights of our first year building a new digital platform for art.
As our closest friends and supporters, we would like to share these moments with you, say a huge thanks for your belief in us, and let you know about exciting plans for 2017!
Have a great festive break, and we look forward to working with you in 2017.
January – March
The year began with an intense focus on building SMARTIFY version one and finding a suitable test collection to launch the app. Nick, Ron and the whole creative team built an amazing app while Anna and Thanos began the enormous task of looking of starting our first partnerships with museums and galleries.
April – June
A lot of you will remember our soft-launch at London’s Cartoon Museum. We had a great turnout, the Prosecco flowed freely and the app was well received by all – we even had a couple of familiar faces show up including BBC’s arts editor Will Gompertz and cartoonist Dave McKean (famed for his work on Marvel and DC comics).
In June SMARTIFY had the amazing opportunity to speak at Communicating the Museum conference in Berlin. It was a great chance to make new friends from global museums and share our plans with a larger audience. We also picked up some lovely press mentions in Apollo Art Magazine and The New York Times.
July – September
Following the UK Brexit vote, we distracted ourselves with the challenge of mapping 3D objects into SMARTIFY. A partnership with The City of London and Sculpture in the City provided the perfect opportunity to test the app on twenty outdoor, large-scale contemporary sculptures – able to be scanned in various lighting and weather conditions!
We had our first SMARTIFY launch in the U.S., all the way over in California at the Laguna Art Museum and launched an Android version of the app and in August.
While Team GB were finding Gold in Rio, our Olympian efforts to fundraise led to us securing private investment for which we are extremely grateful, enabling us to go full steam ahead into…
October – December
In October we became MassChallange startup finalists and joined their incubator programme, taking office space and mentoring from Shadwell’s Tobacco Dock.
We travelled to New York with our friends at Sluice_ to add a digital dimension to their Bushwick International Expo in Brooklyn, and also to Brussels, launching at Stephanie Manasseh’s Accessible Art Fair.
At the end of the year the team grew as our first intern Carlotta joined, as well as Ting, Guy, Giorgio and Alessandro!
We’ve saving the big reveal for a May 2017… but as a little early Christmas present, you can now use SMARTIFY at London’s Wallace Collection. A superb collection of Old Master paintings hung in salon-style, now you can visit this free museum and impress your friends with instant access to information about the paintings.