WKU students organize first ever Augmented Reality Gallery


Photo courtesy of Diego Minaya Diaz.

Makaio Smith, News reporter

Editor’s Note: A name in the original version of this story was incorrect. The story has been updated with the correct information. The Herald regrets the error.

WKU opened its first ever Augmented Reality Gallery on Monday, Oct. 4, organized by WKU students Chris DiMeo, Madison Whittle, Sarah Terry and Diego Minaya Diaz. 

The exhibition is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in FAC room 436. The work in the gallery represented programs in art & design, computer science, engineering, UX, game design, and the Gatton Academy. 

The entire exhibition was student-created and run with the guidance of Kristina Arnold, the department head and professor for the department of Arts and Design. 

“My assistance was essentially with minor technical consulting for the ‘real space’ questions,” Arnold said. “I just told them how to sign up for a time slot in the gallery calendar and assisted them with how best to install paper on a wall, what is a standard label format, how do the lights move, etcetera.”

While Arnold was there to help with the more technical side of the exhibition, the students organized the initial idea, the plan, recruited all the participants, and installed the work. 

Diego Minaya Diaz, a WKU senior majoring in computer science, was one of the students who created and set up the exhibition. He, along with three other students, came up with the idea of an augmented reality art showcase that uses aspects of a traditional art gallery. 

To set up the gallery, we asked students and faculty to submit their artwork. Then, we prepared each art piece to work with AR using Blender and Adobe software,” Diaz said via email. “We used MyWebAR to upload all the AR ready projects and have the QR Codes working. Finally, we put the QR Codes in the Cube gallery at FAC.”

Diaz said he had always wanted to showcase his artwork in an art gallery but was never able to do so in a traditional gallery. This was also the first gallery at WKU where science, engineering and art majors created a large collaboration with each other. 

This exhibition was able to incorporate many different art forms that might not fit into traditional fine art galleries.

One of the other students involved in the creation of the exhibition is Chris DiMeo, a post-baccalaureate user experience student at WKU. Their vision for the gallery was to show students the collaborative work between art and STEM students.

“For so long, there has been a division between art and STEM, this view of ‘us vs. them,” DiMeo said. “I hope that when people see this gallery they get a sense of the incredible things we can accomplish when we work together with people who come from different places and do different work than us. Our gallery features a diversity of works that have never been showcased side-by-side like this and in this space everyone is equal.”

News reporter Makaio Smith can be reached [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @MakaioSmith