Launch of the Art Walk app in Fort Worth, Texas – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

With the download of an app, a simple stroll through South Main Village in Fort Worth becomes a scavenger hunt for neighborhood art treasures. This summer, Amphibian Stage launched Neighborhood Leap, an app-based reality art walk, an experience that helps art lovers rediscover a neighborhood they thought they knew.

Amphibious scene

The Art Walk app can be downloaded to a variety of smart phones.

At the height of the pandemic, Amphibian Stage produced outdoor entertainment. In 2021, the theater company could see the continued impact of the pandemic on the community and wanted to try something different. A similar project in England inspired the creation of Neighborhood Leap

“We wanted to do something to help and it felt really good,” said Amphibian Stage Founder and Artistic Director Kathleen Culebro. “We wanted to find another way to gather outdoors.”

The project showcases existing public art by Benito Huerta, Jay Wilkinson, Kristin Sobel, Sarah Ayala and others. Neighborhood Leap merges these existing works with recently commissioned works of music, visual art, movement and storytelling by local artists such as Martha Peters, Allison Rogers, Daniel Banks, Lou Charle$, Armond Vance, Grady Spencer and the Fort Worth school students, IM Terrell Academy for Stem & VPA. Combining newly commissioned art with existing art creates an immersive experience.

Made possible through a partnership with Blue Zones Project Forth Worth, Neighborhood Leap leads visitors through a variety of art stops through the neighborhood, drawing attention to the unique and independent shops and restaurants of South Main Village.

“When we saw this happen, we thought it was a great way to get people in the neighborhood to experience the art that’s already there, but also to add our own twist to it. and to let people know about the businesses that are here, that are such an important part of our community,” Culebro said.

Neighborhood Leap Amphibian Stage user using the app

Taylor Staniforth

Within a 30-minute walk, visitors can rediscover local shops and restaurants.

When the theater reviewed applications, it wanted to find performers who were willing to work outside of their comfort zone. Some of the new works explore the history of the neighborhood and feature the stories of South Main Village residents.

“We selected those that really fit the medium, that thought outside the box, thought in three dimensions, and tried to be very aware of the neighborhood and the location in which they were placed,” Culebro said. “If you tell artists to play, they will play.”

The app was created in collaboration with The Cultural Assembly and additional partnerships with Near Southside Arts and Texas Commission on the Arts. Creating the augmented reality experience required the theater company to work outside of their comfort zone.

“It’s not easy and there are a lot of different ways to approach placing these works in the right place. And translating the language of art into the language of what we need, and that’s what you need to code and where it needs to appear, all those little details was a really big learning curve,” said said Culebro.

Amphibian Stage Neighborhood Leap amalgamation of new and existing artwork

Ivy Lopez

The art walk merges existing public art with newly commissioned works, creating an immersive experience.

Within a 30-minute walk, art lovers will discover more than 20 works of art. Since the launch of the project, new murals have appeared.

“Our only regret is that we can’t include every mural in the South Main and we can’t put art on every wall because there’s a limit to what we have the capacity to do, but boy, we’d like to keep expanding it, keep adapting it as the architecture changes, as the landscape changes, as the artwork changes,” Culebro said. “There the potential is endless.”

Neighborhood Leap inspires people to appreciate their surroundings in a new way.

“It just opens up this new window and really encourages us to be there,” Culebro said.

Amphibian Stadium Neighborhood Jump Marker

Taylor Staniforth

Markers guide visitors through the neighborhood’s public art.

Culebro hopes the community will take an active interest in Neighborhood Leap and expand it beyond its imagination and South Main Village.

“I want to keep my mind open to ideas from the community,” Culebro said. “I would like to know how they would like to transform it and make it their own. I would like to see projects like this popping up all over the city.

Learn more: The Amphibian Stage Quarter Hop

About Stuart M. McFarland

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