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New app offers tour of area sculptures

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Friday, February 9, 2018

Rocky Mount is the first city in North Carolina to adopt Otocast, a free mobile app audio guide, for sculpture exhibitions.

Alicyn Wiedrich, art curator for the Maria V. Howard Arts Center, is leading the statewide charge to encourage the public to download Otocast and to learn more about the collection of sculptures throughout Rocky Mount.

The app asks users for permission to tap into the device’s GPS system. Once 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. 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, Best Friend’s Dog Park, Sunset Park and the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences.

The first sculpture by a black artist featured in the exhibition is located at the Frederick E. Turnage Municipal Building, commonly known as 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 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,” Wiedrich said. “You can learn more about the sculpture without even being here.”

While Rocky Mount is the first city in the state to embrace Otocast, the app’s developer, Eric Feinstein, has sought out other historic places and cities that may have sculpture competitions, including locations in Maryland and Virginia.

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