Apps and art: New version of app ready for festival

The fields of arts and sciences will connect on the streets of State College and Penn State’s University Park campus this week to help visitors get the best of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.

The College of IST’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction is again working with the Arts Festival to develop a mobile application. Over the years, each version of the app retained its core features, such as a schedule and program of events, location data, and profiles of the visiting artists and performers. The researchers have experimented with various types of social features and interactions in previous versions. In 2014, for example, the app was used to play a “selfie” game among attendees, and last year’s app included a set of profile-style interest categories and a series of social media inspired interactions, such as the ability to create custom events for the festival program.

This year, the Arts Fest App will attempt to connect attendees and artists. Artists may use the application to modify their profile, as well as post status updates about their booths and wares, which will be cross-posted to Twitter using the hashtag #ArtsFestApp. Festival goers may use the app to view and reply to updates, as well as to read up on the artists themselves. This interaction is designed to create a greater sense of connection and awareness between both artists and attendees of the Arts Fest, whereas in prior years most of the development focus was on just the attendees.

Running from July 14-17, the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will take over parts of State College and University Park to welcome almost 400 unique artists, in addition to musical performances, attractions, and more. The festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and is expected to top last year’s attendance of 140,000 people.

The research group responsible for this year’s Arts Festival app includes researchers Jack Carroll and Ben Hanrahan, as well as Alejandro Cuevas, Heather Johnson, Junggue Yang, Jin Zhang, Jomara Binda, and Richard Wirth.

Members of the news media interested in learning more about the app development should contact Matt Swayne at 814-865-5774 or

Featured image by Patrick Mansell, Penn State

Leave a Reply