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First released on April 8, 2011, ArtSpotter is an Interactive Art Map specifically for art lovers. According to Founder and CEO Raphaëlle Heaf of London, the social app allows anyone to discover what’s going on in the art world, anywhere across the globe. In addition, the app allows users to engage with one another by sharing their experiences, adding comments or new art venues to their profiles, and telling their friends what they observe and how they found it.
And this is only the beginning of the young resource. Expanding its original mission, ArtSpotter has been re-launched. The new focus concentrates on users discovering art through the people and places they follow. Heaf shared with GigaOM online that while “the first [model] was really an aggregator for event listings that anyone could add to, this new one is more about activity.”
But what makes this art app model different from its counterparts? Artfinder is one of the most recognizable digital art mediums because of its first app partnership with the Dulwich Picture Gallery, where users could take a picture of any painting in the exhibition and find out more information about it. Since then, that particular application has extended its informational catalogue to 500,000 pieces of art.
Nonetheless, Heaf insists that a big difference between her service and others lies in ArtSpotter’s focus on connecting the physical world with the digital one. “ArtSpotter is not about sharing pictures of art,” she said. “Our vision is about getting more people to see more art in real life.” While other applications similar to Artfinder allow users to find and consequently purchase artworks, Heaf points out that ArtSpotter’s focus is not on the commercial end of the market. In fact, the longer-term plan for her service is to do something that’s parallel: to get data about what people like and want from art, what they’re doing right now and then sell that data to museums and art sellers. “A lot of the other apps are very commerce-based; it’s discovery so you can buy a piece. We work in a complementary fashion — you’re out and about and looking at pieces, and we can recommend things to look at.” This goal is similar to other informational models, such as Google Analytics, a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. “Our focus isn’t on revenue,” Heath said. “But eventually we want to be the Google Analytics for venues. We can do real-time customer awareness analytics…this is just our first step.”