Archives for posts with tag: Education


For the fourth year in a row, Apple is featuring Art Authority in a Back to School Promotion. This year both Art Authority for iPad and Art Authority for iPhone are featured in the App Store’s new “Kickstart Your School Year” campaign:

Whether you’re starting grade school, finishing your last year of high school, or even teaching a course, this comprehensive collection covers a wide variety of subjects and grade levels to help you start the year on the right foot.

Art Authority is featured near the start of the “Art & Creativity” sections. The apps are particularly useful when combined with the “Lesson Ideas” Apple introduced as part of their “Real World Learning” area (where Art Authority K-12 for iPad is highlighted).

One of the many, many reasons we’re happy to see Art Authority in the new promotion is that it shows that Apple and we are on the same page when it comes to the importance of art education. It was Steve Jobs himself who first talked about the importance of the intersection of technology and liberal arts. Although we were already in complete agreement at the time, we’ve taken what he said to heart and have concentrated even more on that area. Art Authority K-12 and our now wrapping-up fifth year of the Art Authority Summer Internship program are two great examples.

Thanks Steve, thanks Apple, thanks interns, and thanks everyone here at Art Authority.

Today Apple is introducing a new collection in the Education section of the App Store entitled “Real-World Learning.” We’re honored that our Art Authority K-12 for iPad app is one of the five titles they’re featuring. For each app in the collection, Apple has created a free set of lesson plans tailored towards real-world learning with that app. In our case, their multimedia iBook “Art Authority Lesson Ideas” provides specialized plans for ages 5-12, 12-14 and 14-18. And the lessons are not just about art. Art Authority is used as the jumping off point for lessons about Literacy, Social Studies, and History too.


The plans include both app-based and real-world activities, such as museum visits, poem writing, and drawing. One activity is specifically based on Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, and another is about the impact of the Byzantine Empire. Objectives, overviews and even rubrics are provided for each activity, along with the activity details.

Apple feels that the benefits of the plans include:

  • Enriching the classroom with works of world-famous artists
  • Enabling comparison of works within the app, and to real life
  • Engaging students and building anticipation by exploring artists before visiting real art museums
  • Inspiring work in other subjects.

This is not the first time that Apple has featured our app in a high visibility education event. It was also called out by Phil Schiller as one of seven “amazing” iPad educational apps in a Special Educational Event at the Guggenheim Museum, and has been featured in a number of Apple’s Back to School programs.

We love it that Apple loves our app. As Apple continues changing the world in incredibly meaningful ways, it’s nice to know that we’re helping out too.

Year 5 of the Art Authority Summer Intern Program kicked off earlier this week. For the first time, orientation was held through a couple of multi-person Google Hangouts. Over a dozen interns participated, with the sessions led by Art Authority’s intern manager Celia. Art Authority’s president, Alan, also dropped in. We expect close to 20 interns by the time they all get started.


The kickoff was very successful. Interns could see each other and Art Authority staff, as they shared a bit about themselves, learned details of what they would be doing over the summer, and asked questions. Google Hangout was particularly appropriate, not just because it enhances the way interns can learn and interact, but also because it serves as a great example of one of the main goals of the program: helping modern-day art majors become familiar with Internet-based tools that will be essential to many of their jobs in “the real world.”

The Art Authority Summer Intern Program is in fact structured around this goal of getting ready for the current-day Internet-enhanced real world. Interns work from their dorm rooms, home offices, or other location of choice, with the principal requirement being a good Internet connection. They use, and thus become intimately familiar with important Internet tools like Google drive, Google docs, and Skype as key parts of their day-to-day activities. Not to mention using and becoming familiar with apps in general and our industry-leading Art Authority app line in particular. And they learn how to structure and allocate their time in a “non-traditional” office environment.

Of course being art majors, we also want them to learn about art, while helping to enhance our art apps at the same time. This year the Intern Program is focusing on less well-known, but still significant, western artists, none of whom are currently in the Art Authority collection. Using mainly Internet-based information sources, each intern will be become familiar with a different set of these artists, and help us in adding a number of works by each artist to the app. In the process, we hope they will gain invaluable insights into the artists involved, but more importantly into the Internet-era processes that go into creating a leading-edge modern-day art resource like Art Authority.

Stay tuned for more about the program throughout the summer.

Today, on the heels of our app’s and the iPad’s 5th anniversary, we are announcing year 5 of our very successful summer intern program. As we discussed two years ago in this blog, the Art Authority Summer Intern Program offers art and art history majors a 21st century alternative to traditional art docent internships. By working on our cutting-edge app and database, technology-focused students gain experience with and exposure to a set of tools they’ll need as “art goes digital.”

We here at Art Authority have learned a lot over the past five years, both as far as how to run the intern program and as far as what’s needed to keep the app line on top. And it’s been working, as exemplified by this recent review.

Students have learned a lot too, gained credit towards their major, and even found jobs as a result of the program (one of them works here!). And of course it’s not just the Art Authority app now, but also Art Authority K-12Art Alert and Even an iBook. So we’re really looking forward to another great and meaningful summer for all concerned.

If you or anyone you know is curious about the program, please check out the Summer Intern Program Web site for more information and an application form. The number of spaces are limited, so anyone interested should apply as soon as possible.


Five years ago today Apple shipped the iPad, and Open Door Networks shipped Art Authority for iPad. And the rest is history. And art.

The New York Times called the iPad “a completely new experience — and a deeply satisfying one.” And it called Art Authority “an experience unlike any other.” In our day-one announcement we said the two were clearly made for each other, and we were right. Within the first few days, the app was in the top 100 grossing app list, just below Angry Birds!


Over the past five years, Apple has made numerous enhancements to the iPad, and created a family of devices. Likewise we have evolved Art Authority, and created a product line. Here’s some of what we’ve done:

  • The app (and the iPad) proved an immediate hit in schools. Seton Hill University, among many others, has been using the app since 2010.
  • Our age appropriate K-12 version, specifically requested by teachers, has been popular as well. We also have a free iBook, “Exploring Art with Art Authority.”
  • We have nearly doubled the number of works the app provides access to, from 40,000 five years ago to over 75,000 now.
  • When Apple introduced the retina display, we not only added a number of high-resolution images to take advantage of it, but also introduced our new SmArt Resolution technology so the larger images wouldn’t slow things down.
  • We’ve added link to articles on thousands of individual works, and videos for hundreds more.
  • We’ve added major new technologies and features such as Art Like This, Art Real Size, and Art Near Me.
  • We’ve sponsored a summer intern program for art majors, year five of which will be starting shortly.
  • The app was twice named best iPad reference app of the year by Apple. It has often been in the top 10 on the App Store, and was number one in Japan at one point for a whole week.

Not bad. So what will the next five years bring? Well, to start with, how’s this: today only, Art Authority for iPad is FREE!

Following up on our recent summer intern program update, we thought we’d talk about how the Art Authority museum has been evolving to give you more to explore. Not just more to explore than when it first “opened” over four years ago (on the same day as the iPad shipped), but also more to explore, in many ways, then any single real-world museum.

We of course love real-world museums, whose viewing experience cannot be replaced by any app, including ours. But the Art Authority museum viewing experience likewise cannot be replaced by any real-world museum. Since we started using Childe Hassam’s work in our intern update, let’s keep going with that.

In the update post, we mentioned that Hassam’s Art Authority collection includes 487 works. It is of course very unlikely that any single real-world museum, even through a special exhibit, would be able to gather that many of Hassam’s works under one real-world roof. The post also indicated that many of his works in Art Authority include not just standard museum details like date and medium but also items that only a virtual museum could provide, such as links to in-depth articles about the works.

The post also showed how our groundbreaking Art Real Size feature helps you explore and understand the size of the works, addressing one of the big defects of many virtual museums. And with Art Like This you can view items from across all Art Authority collections that are similar to any work (check out how similar to Hassam’s the Monet work is below).

Allies Day, May 1917

Explore Hassam’s “Allies Day” through articles, Art Real Size, and Art Like This

But there’s still more to explore too. You can view a work full-screen, and then zoom in on any part of the work, often much closer than you can get in a museum. For selected works, you can follow a link to a video about that work. And through the grid view’s chronological thumbnail display, you can gains insights into how an artist’s style has evolved over the course of their career. 

Allies Day, 1917

Explore full-screen, zoom in, view a video, compare to artist’s other works

If you do spend the time to become familiar with Hassam, or any other artist in this way, you may well want to continue your exploration by seeking out real-world museums that are displaying his works. Art Authority can help you to find and preview exhibits at many of those museums. And our companion Art Alert app can then help you to get there too.

We think you’re going to really adore how Art Authority helps you explore more!

The summer is drawing to a close already, with back-to-school just around the corner. So it seems like a good time for an update on the fourth year of our summer intern program.

Year 4 was a bit more sane than year 3, in which we had nearly 30 interns working on enhancing the Art Authority database. With time to look back over year 3 and plan, our intern manager (who came to us thanks to her year 2 work), was able to figure out how to best build upon the year 3 work in year 4.

Whereas years 2 and 3 were mainly about bulk additions to the database, year 4 was mainly about enhancements and fine tuning. In particular we focused on over 100 artists whose collections we felt were not quite up to the quality of the rest of the Art Authority museum. For these artists, we first made sure their major works were included in their collection where possible. We then went through and updated the “metadata” associated with their collection’s works. This metadata included not only real-world museum details like date, size, and medium, but also items unique to virtual museums, like links to articles about the works and videos

As an example, the Art Authority database includes 487 works by the American impressionist Frederick Childe Hassam. Before the summer, entries for only 5 of those works included links to articles about the work. Now there are 98 such links. Before the summer less than one-third of the entries included the medium used; now all but 10 do. Less than 100 entries originally included the size of the works (particular meaningful through our Art Real Size feature); now all but 33 do. And again less than one-third included the location of the actual work itself, versus all but 10 now (making finding and viewing the physical work much easier, especially with the help of our Art Alert app).

Exploring Hassam's Flags

Three ways of exploring Hassam’s Flags.

The end result of year 4 will thus be a deeper, more meaningful collection, with some important new works, but also lots of important new information about and new ways to explore many of the works.

Quite a set of accomplishments. As always, however, we hope and believe that the most significant result of the program is the additional learning, experience, and exposure gained by the interns themselves, both in the traditional art field and in the various new technologies that are becoming ever more important to that field as it “goes digital.” One of the most gratifying parts of the summer intern program has been hearing back from past interns who tell us how useful it has proven in their ongoing careers.

We have always felt that one of the key goals of Art Authority is making a difference at the intersection of the technology and art worlds. We are very proud of the fact that this difference is made not only directly through our apps, but also through other related efforts such as our community site and the summer intern program. 

Here’s looking forward to year 5!

Art Authority’s president, Alan Oppenheimer, and his wife Priscilla just got back from a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. Combining business with pleasure, they presented the company’s wares at the Pitch 2013 startup show at AT&T Park, met with the foremost authority on Jan Brueghel the Elder at Berkeley, met with representatives of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco about the National Docent Symposium they’re hosting next month (more on that later), and saw the Diebenkorn and “Impressionists on the Water” exhibits at the de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor respectively.

They also had a real life dinner with two of the participants in this year’s Summer Intern Program. We pride ourselves in the worldwide reach of our apps and our programs. The Art Authority database includes works from nearly a thousand museums and other art sites, our Art Authority apps bring that art to users around the world, our Art Alert app helps bring users around the world to that art. And our intern program this year included interns from as far east as the United Kingdom and as far west as New Zealand. We feel great about the difference we’re making worldwide. But every so often it’s really nice to just be able to sit down with people in real life and have dinner!

Dinner with interns in Berkeley

As you may have heard, Art Authority was featured in an article on “Applied Reading” in the New York Times Book Review last Sunday. The article begins by pointing out how “electronic textbooks” are “more effective” as learning tools than traditional paper-based solutions:

“Who wants merely… to squint at a tiny printed reproduction of a still life by Pieter Claesz — an artist who was sharing pictures of food centuries before Instagram was invented — instead of popping open a full-screen version to better study the composition?”

The article serves as a perfect example of its own point. In the print (“treeware”) version of the Times, the article includes, quite literally, “a tiny printed reproduction of a still life by Pieter Claesz” (as shown in Art Authority for iPad).


There is a fundamental defect in the printed version of the paper however, which prevents you from “popping open a full-screen version to better study the composition.” You can however do this in the online version of the article (and as part of this post as well). And of course you do it even better in the app itself.

The fact that an electronic version of a Book Review article is fundamentally better than a print version of the same article is certainly a sign of the Times. As we think is Art Authority. Thank you New York Times for making your (and our) point so well!



Here’s a special guest post from Julie Turgeon, one of the students participating in year 3 of the Art Authority Summer Intern Program:

We’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with Art Authority’s new Art Real Size feature this week. The tool completely transforms how art is viewed in a digital environment, adding what others have failed to provide thus far: a tangible dimension connecting the viewer to the works on-­screen. Exploring some of Art Authority’s 65,000 artworks with Art Real Size revealed some delightful surprises about some of our most beloved works. We’ve listed a few here to give you a taste of the capabilities of the new feature:

Art Real Size - Monet

1. Claude Monet’s larger-­than-­life-­sized Camille (The Woman in the Green Dress) was one of the artist’s earliest pieces. Painted and exhibited in 1866, the portrait boldly announced Monet’s arrival in the Parisian art scene. At that time, it was unheard of, almost risible, to paint someone who was neither of noble nor of privileged birth at such an impressive scale.

Art Real Size - Seurat 2Art Real Size - Seurat 1

2. Fellow Frenchman Georges Seurat’s paintings exhibit great range in size. The diminutive Eiffel Tower, for example, could fit inside his monumental masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte 177 times, with wiggle-­room to spare! It took Seurat over two years to paint La Grande Jatte, and numerous sketches and studies exist dispersed throughout the world’s art museums (but conveniently at our disposal on the Art Authority app and community site). Seurat continually altered the composition of the pleasant waterfront scene as he progressed in his work, adding, for example, more bustle to the dress worn by the woman on the right-­hand side of the painting, reflecting the ever-­ shifting fashions of the era. Remarkably considering the scalar dissimilarities, both of Seurat’s works are composed of the same miniscule multi-­colored dots that became the defining characteristic of Pointillist paintings.

Art Real Size - Sully

3. Passage of the Delaware by Thomas Sully easily eclipses Seurat’s La Grande Jatte in size. The enormous historical painting has posed problems for the institutions wishing to display it since its completion in 1819. Originally commissioned by the state of North Carolina, the painting was refused because it would not fit in the allotted space in the state’s Senate Hall. Today, it rests placidly in a section of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, accommodated by the wing’s exceptionally high ceilings. The eleven-­day ordeal of hanging Sully’s most famous painting is documented on YouTube, and made the local news.

4. Andy Warhol used size to make a statement, although in a different way than Monet’s avant-­garde statement of artistic prowess and vision or Sully’s patriotic eulogy. Warhol’s whopping 15-­foot portrait of Mao Zedong, currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, scathingly critiques the overblown reputation and attention given to celebrities and prominent political figures such as the notorious communist leader. Mao’s gaudy maquillage adds an additional dimension of absurdity to the colossal canvas (we can’t show you the Art Real Size version here because this work remains under copyright).

Art Real Size - Mona Lisa

5. A post about size wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. She has gained quite a reputation for stunning the Louvre’s visitors with her small size, seemingly unfit for one of the best-­known paintings in the world. Eager museum-­goers bump and jostle shoulders, step on each other’s toes, and crane their necks over the perpetual gallery throng to get a glimpse at the iconic portrait and to experience the sensation of having Mona Lisa’s eyes follow them as they move through the room. The guidebook aphorism rings true: the posters sold in Parisian gift shops are larger than the actual painting! Fittingly, perhaps, scientists chose to recreate da Vinci’s Mona Lisa for the smallest painting ever. Astoundingly, they succeeded in creating a version of the painting that is half the width of a strand of human hair. Read more about the record-­breaking feat on the Huffington Post.

Appreciating a painting’s size is an indispensible component of interpreting a work of art. Art Real Size helps to bridge the gap between experiencing a work of art in person and seeing it on a digital platform by providing a visual tool through which the viewer can relate more viscerally to digital reproductions. We here at Art Authority are hooked on Art Real Size already, and are delighted to finally introduce this vital feature to our user community.