The Akron Art Museum's Interplay: Art Play for All project transforms a poster made by artist Adana Tillman into an interactive augmented reality spectacle (Courtesy the Akron Art Museum)

The Akron Art Museum is inviting you to take an artwork home with the help of advanced augmented reality (AR) technology. The Ohio museum is distributing posters, created by textile artist Adana Tillman, which come to life and change forms when a QR code is scanned with a tablet or smartphone.

The project, named Interplay: Art Play for All, was conceived before the COVID-19 pandemic to display large artist-made posters in public spaces across Akron. But as museums and art spaces had to close their doors to the public, the project’s goal shifted to allowing spectators to enjoy the posters at home.

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“We wanted to be able to give people something tangible to enjoy at home, particularly at a time when many of us can’t convene publicly,” said the museum’s deputy director and chief experience officer, Seema Rao, in a press release. “It’s nice in this challenging year to give this gift free to our community.”

The AR app not only animates the poster into a 3D-image, but also allows spectators to add elements to the artwork, change colors, and create their own designs. Users can also learn about the Akron-born artist’s work and her inspirations for the poster.

According to the museum, Tillman’s poster was conceived as “a love letter to the city of Akron.” Elements in the artwork include city landmarks and icons like the Goodyear Blimp.

In addition to the AR app, which was conceptualized and designed by Philadelphia-based tech firm Bluecadet, the museum is giving away 4,000 free prints of the poster to patrons. Beginning today, December 28, the posters will be distributed at Akron’s Mustard Seed Market and Café in Highland Square and the Hudson location of Heinen’s grocery store. More distribution sites will be announced in January. The posters are also available on the museum’s website (you’ll only have to pay for the cost of shipping).

Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...