Use the links below to view the Matterport 3D Spaces.

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The Erie Art Gallery is recording its shows in three dimensions and virtual reality.

The artwork was removed from the walls and left some time ago, but you can still tour through every show that’s been held at the Erie Art Gallery.

The nonprofit gallery appears to be alone in the region in recording its shows in three dimensions and virtual reality, where they live on forever in cyberspace, accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

One of the goals gallery founder, artist and software project manager Brad Ford has for his new venture is to show the world what Erie has to offer while bringing influences from that wider world to the city. Adopting the technology was a natural extension of that mission, he explained.

“With this, people everywhere can see the quality of arts in Erie,” Ford explained, “and when we put out a national call for submissions, artists are more comfortable because they can see what we’ve been doing here.” It’s a virtuous circle that can help burnish Erie’s reputation as a cultural hub.

Already, with three shows held at the gallery’s West Eighth Street space in the Masonic Temple since it opened early this year, Ford said he has hosted visitors who first encountered the space in 3-D or VR. He expects he’ll also reap benefits when it comes to funding, as he can literally immerse potential donors in the gallery’s past work. Artists also benefit, he pointed out, through the ability to share links to 3-D and VR images of their work in the context of full shows.

To create the interactive images, Ford has partnered with ErieMultimedia owner/partner Greg Windle, who relocated to Erie from Australia in 2002 and has 15 years of experience in advertising and marketing. For about the past year, ErieMultimedia and Windle have been offering scans with a Matterport 3D Camera. The briefcase-sized device houses several sensors that scan a space, create images and then stitches them together into an interactive, immersive format.

Given the promise of VR and AR for the future, what should your gallery invest in now to be part of the conversation? Creating VR/AR content is definitely a long-term investment, but well-executed content can also help to generate enthusiasm and press for your gallery—and it’s not as hard as you might think.