Mobile app puts Hamilton’s sculptures on the map

A year-old platform called Otocast provides over 20 walking, interactive tours of over 400 pieces of public art in over 13 U.S. cities, and includes our own City of Sculpture, with a full separate tour of Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park to come this spring. The map-based program gives you each piece of public art in the city, walking or driving directions to its location, and has a short audio clip from the actual artist giving quirky information about the piece.

Otocast Founder and CEO Eric Feinstein said that the app’s development was inspired by a business trip to Dallas where he had a free afternoon to explore the town, but didn’t have an easy way to find or learn about the city’s art.

“And I thought, it would be great if you could have your own personal tour guide at your disposal,” he said.

Now, Feinstein has a team of developers bringing the platform to life across the country and in the future, across oceans. Otocast provides tours for public art in New York City, Austin, Texas, Chicago, and more, as well as Hamilton. More cities are coming up as well, including in Michigan and Georgia, and Feinstein said that he’s in conversations with people in every state as well as in the United Kingdom.

Since the app can use GPS coordinates, a user can view the closest cities with guides at the top for easy access. And if someone decides to come to Hamilton just for the sculptures and through the course of the day, then choose to stop for dinner or stay the night, all the better, he said.

City of Sculpture President Mike Dingeldein said this was a natural fit for Hamilton and an ideal way for the nonprofit and the city to help boost their art profile, for residents or tourists.

Feinstein said he searched for cities with prominent public sculptures on the Internet and stumbled upon Hamilton.

“This helps support other cities and organizations,” he said.

There’s been some confusion over the years between the nonprofit City of Sculpture, and Hamilton itself, nicknamed “the City of Sculpture,” causing people to believe the city is purchasing every sculpture in the city. Not so, said Dingeldein.

“We have raised the money privately for all of the sculptures, all of the installations, from the ground up,” he said. The statues are given to the city for ownership purposes, but the City of Sculpture also raises funds for the maintenance and upkeep.

“The cool thing about us (the City of Sculpture) is not just our fundraising capabilities, it’s our experience with how to do a foundation, how to do lighting, how do you get a permit, how do you install it,” he continued. The biennial IceFest is the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser, and the nonprofit does some direct fundraising as well.

Dingeldein said this app could easily replace their current brochures available at the Hamilton Welcome Center, which are out of date because they don’t print new ones every year, cost more money to print, and aren’t even accessible when the Welcome Center is closed.

“All we were trying to do is replace our quickly-outdating brochure,” he said.

iPhone users can download Otocast for free in the App store. An Android model, Facebook, and Instagram will be available by the end of the month, Feinstein said. More information can be found at otocast.com

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