STQRY: Mobile Stories throughout King County

Image courtesy of STQRY
Image courtesy of STQRY, Photo © Stef Cotteret 2013
Image courtesy of STQRY, Photo © Stef Cotteret 2013

Moving to Mobile: The STQRY app

As more people move to mobile phones and tablets for their primary access to the internet, those of us who create online content have to adjust our practices to respond to smaller screens and new ways of engaging with all of the content available to us.

We’d love to have all of our programs, applications, blog posts, public art profiles, arts, heritage and preservation pages configured for any screen you’d care to use. Attaining that is going to take time, but we have begun to do what we can to move in that direction. In addition to an upcoming redesign for Site Specific, and Map 4Culture (a beautifully designed map that will combine 4Culture’s Destination Heritage and Public Art sites), we are using STQRY.

STQRY Exhibit in the Arcade Gallery
STQRY Exhibit in the Arcade Gallery

A simple and easy to use smartphone application, STQRY allows us to place our public art collection, heritage sites and programmatic events in the context of the surrounding cultural landscape.

Always a free download, the application uses mapping already on your Apple, Windows or Android phone to populate the landscape with cultural sites and events all around your current location. QR codes placed on signage allow the user to scan and retrieve information about the individual site or artwork. The app also has search functionality.

Importantly, STQRY automatically translates content to the language native to your phone (over 60 languages), allowing broad access. Arts and heritage organizations across King County have begun to adopt STQRY, representing the depth and vibrancy of our cultural community.

STQRY works with other interactive media we have developed, including Listen 4Culture (our cell phone audio tour) and Map 4Culture. Audio and video can find a home in the stories on  STQRY, as well as text and photos, allowing us to create content once for a project profile or blog post and adapt it to this nifty mobile platform.

It has been fun to see how cultural organizations within the County are using STQRY. We’ve showcased our own and six other organizations’ use of STQRY, in a storefront exhibit at 4Culture: ArtsWA (a remarkable state-wide public art collection), City of Redmond (public art and events), City of Kent (public art), City of Sammamish (public art, parks, facilities), Renton History Museum (exhibits and City of Renton public art), City of Seattle’s Office of Arts &  Culture (public art). The exhibit will be up through June and gives a sense of the breadth and variety of the cultural assets that contribute to our experience of place and community.

Other cities and organizations in King County who are using the STQRY app include Auburn, the White River Valley Museum and Mary Olson Farm, Bellevue, Des Moines, Enumclaw, Issaquah, Kirkland, Snoqualmie and Tukwila. Organizations expected to post stories to the app in the near future include Seattle Art Museum, Experience Music Project and the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington.

The exhibit will remain installed in our storefront gallery until mid-July. Summer is a great time to download STQRY and explore the cultural landscape that surrounds us. Got a smartphone? Go for it!