Digital review | Virtual artist’s house, Halo open art studio, Halosenniemi, Finland

This is a virtual tour of Halosenniemi, the historic home and studio of Finnish artist, Pekka Halonen (1865-1933).

As you enter the landing page, it is immediately obvious how to change the language from Finnish to English. On entering the digital re-creation of the historic site, the classical music soundscape makes it instantly atmospheric of the period, transporting visitors into the artist’s world.

 The attention to detail is remarkable, from the intricately designed 3D desk to the interactivity of the works. The landscape painting on show even lets you click through it to see a breathtaking 360-degree photo of the actual location it depicts.

A digital rendering of a dark studio with a painted landscape on an easel
Visitors can appreciate the artist’s landscapes as well as click through to see what the real landscape looks like

However, there are no audio descriptions for the house, artworks or interpretation panels. This addition would make for a much more inclusive experience, particularly for those with visual impairments or dyslexia.

The physical museum’s website unfortunately has no obvious link to the virtual re-creation – you have to find this virtual experience on the Virtual Art Gallery website.

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The space was built with Virtual Art Gallery, an innovative platform that offers an inclusive and expansive space for artists to showcase their work to a global audience. Part of this software’s mission is to foster a democratic and sustainable art world, and by doing so it also enhances accessibility and inclusion.

Artists can utilise the user-friendly platform and range of customisable templates to curate their collections. You can upload in various media formats and enhance the ambiance through lighting effects.

The intuitive interface makes it accessible to creators of all skill levels, and extensive resources and support are available too. Additionally, the platform emphasises search engine optimisation, enabling creators to optimise meta descriptions and images for better visibility.

It is also affordable. The platform offers a free version with further options and features in the pro version. This ensures that anyone can still display their wares in the digital art world.

In summary, Virtual Art Gallery revolutionises the art experience by breaking down barriers of accessibility and affordability. Not only can you recreate historic spaces such as the Halosenniemi, but it empowers contemporary artists to show their work digitally, promote inclusivity and thereby foster a thriving online art community.

Livi Adu is a neurodivergent and disabled freelance e-curator, specialising in digital opportunities for inclusive access

Halo open art studio, Halosenniemi, Finland, Build software: Virtual Art Gallery

Experience *****

This is my favourite digital gallery experience because of the immersive feel and the use of artworks to explore the landscapes around Halosenniemi.

Accessibility ****

It is easy to move around the space both online and on a smartphone. However, there isn’t an audio description of the historic house or the artworks, and none of the interpretation panels have accompanying audio.

Intuitiveness ****

Virtual Art Gallery is my favourite software, particularly if you don’t have a lot of time or money to build a high-quality 3D virtual museum. You do not need a lot of experience to use it, but I would recommend having a basic understanding of 3D imaging and graphic design if using the creator setting.

Affordability *****

This gallery was custom made, but the free plan allows one published exhibition. The pro version ranges from €29 (three exhibitions) to €490 (100 exhibitions) giving you a choice in how much you pay for and publish.

Overall ****

Virtual Art Gallery revolutionises the way art is experienced and shared – this software provides an exciting way to discover and shape the future of art in the virtual realm.

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