Story by Andrew Caldwell
Last month, ArtsMemphis donated Apple iPads to a few local arts organizations with one catch — use the tablet in a creative way.
Seven nonprofit arts groups were chosen to receive the iPads as part of a pilot program to encourage creativity in their production processes. The program, funded by the Jeniam Technology Fund and ArtsMemphis, will be following the participating organizations’ use of the intuitive accessory in order to determine whether to donate iPads to other arts groups in the future. The trial period will last several months, and to make things interesting, a cash prize is up for grabs to the arts group that can employ the device in the most original and productive way.
ArtsMemphis president Susan Schadt said she hopes “the portable, relatively inexpensive tool will encourage innovation and creativity.”
Applicants to the program were asked to propose how they planned to make use of their iPad. Based on those answers, seven of the 26 organizations that applied received the computers. Those groups included Ballet Memphis, Beale Street Caravan, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and Theatre Memphis, among others.
Nearly a month into their pilot program, Schadt, said that everything is going really well, but that it is still too early to make a decision about the program’s future.
Nonetheless, ArtsMemphis has seen promising results over the past few weeks. According to Debbie Litch, executive producer of Theatre Memphis, they have been using their iPad “as a wireless remote for [the] light board … [eliminating] the need to move a heavy console as well as cables during tech rehearsals.” Theatre Memphis also has incorporated the tablet computer into their music education program.
Each of the iPads came equipped with the ArtsMemphis App, created by Resolute Interactive, giving users access to updates from the ArtsMemphis events calendar. The application was one of the first of its kind created for a nonprofit arts organization and is available for free for iPhone and iTouch users.