New app takes Ranch residents on art tour

Originaly published at: http://littletonindependent.net/stories/New-app-takes-Ranch-residents-on-art-tour,233082

Otocast pulls up a virtual map of nearby outdoor artwork
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2016 12:11 pm
Eric Feinstein, of New York, launched his Otocast app in 2014. The app now serves more than 70 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Courtesy Eric Feinstein
Eric Feinstein, of New York, launched his Otocast app in 2014. The app now serves more than 70 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Courtesy Eric Feinstein
Alex DeWind
This year’s Art Encounters — a yearlong outdoor sculpture exhibit in Douglas County— is now easier for Highlands Ranch residents to navigate thanks to a smartphone app called Otocast.

The mobile application serves as a virtual tour guide.

“It’s like having your own personal tour guide or friend telling you what you’re looking at,” said Eric Feinstein, the app’s founder.

The guides direct the discovery of new and recommended points of interest in an area using GPS technology, said Jamie Noebel, director of community relations for the Highlands Ranch Community Association.

When someone opens the Otocast app, Art Encounters sculptures in Highlands Ranch will be listed as green dots on a virtual map. As of now, only the sculptures in Highlands Ranch are active on the app.

Each green dot pulls up a photo of a piece of art, a description, an audio recording by the artist and a set of directions.

For example, Otocast-users near Southridge Recreation Center will see a bronze sculpture called Flutter-by created by artist Janene DiRico-Cable, of Castle Rock.

During last year’s Art Encounters, she stood in front of her sculpture and passed out information on her piece.

Now Otocast does that job.

“This is going to be a great opportunity for people to learn about the artists they like,” DiRico-Cablesaid. “It makes a connection — it’s more personal.”

Feinstein, of New York, launched Otocast in 2014 after traveling to Dallas, Texas, for work. He was inspired by a desire to learn more about what was around him, he said.

“I passed by a building or two that had public art statues,” he said. “I’m sure there was a story but I didn’t know what it was. I kept thinking there should be a way to find out.”

Feinstein has a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. But instead of working behind the scenes, he said he wanted to create a tool that would help people.

So he started Otocast, now active in more than 70 cities across the U.S. and Canada.

“It’s technology,” he said, “but it’s for a purpose.”

His favorite component of the app, he said, is the audio.

“It’s really neat to hear that first-person connection with what they (the artists) are talking about.”

He tells an artist to keep his or her recording less than three minutes so it doesn’t sound like a lecture. He also tells artists to avoid explaining the art so the viewer can interpret the piece.

DiRico-Cable said the audio recording component was interesting. She chose to thank people for taking the time to stop by her piece.

“My approach to public art,” she said, “is I want it to be friendly and interactive.”

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