Winners Announced for Innovative 3M Art and Technology Award at Mia

Winners Announced for Innovative 3M Art and Technology Award at Minneapolis Institute of Art

Award Given to Local Finalists for Divining Rods Tool that Guides Visitors to Art Using “Choose Your Own Journey” Algorithms

Minneapolis, MN, November 29, 2016— The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) is pleased to announce the winners for the Museum’s 3M Art and Technology Award competition — Molly Reichert and Ben Arcand. The award, launched in 2015, recognizes artistry and innovation among individuals working in the field of technology. Reichert and Arcand, of the Twin Cities, have been awarded $25,000 in prize money and an additional $25,000 to support the development of their invention, under the working title of “Divining Rods”. The project is a technology-based reimagining of the ancient tools once used to find things of value – such as precious gems or fresh water.  The new electronic versions will guide visitors to discover new artworks in the museum based on their responses to other artworks.  The winners will have the opportunity to work with Mia staff and the companies involved in the judging to implement their idea and engage museum audiences in the galleries in the coming months. Katherine Stalker, of Minneapolis, was named runner up for her Art Conversation Starters app, which connects museumgoers with artwork, while they get to know each other. There were a total of 89 contestants who entered the contest from all over the U.S.

“On behalf of Mia and our panel of insightful judges, I’d like to congratulate Molly and Ben for their truly innovative winning idea,” said Douglas Hegley, director of media and technology at Mia and the executive lead for this contest. “There were many high-quality entries this year, so it was a fun and challenging task to select the winner. In the end, the Divining Rods idea combined a very personal experience and a sense of delight. We look forward to working with these creative innovators to provide an exciting new way to engage our audiences.”

This one-of-a-kind competition, a collaboration of Mia and 3M, looks at how technology, design and experience come together to enrich arts and culture.  Reichert and Arcand brought their two unique backgrounds, in architecture design and medical devices, to create their winning idea. This modern tool responds to someone’s movement through the museum with lights and pulses, guiding and inviting visitors to make new discoveries through a sort of on-the-go  customized tour. The technology embedded in the Divining Rods enables users to directly express their experience with the art in the museum without the interference of a screen-based device.

“It is our hope and intention that the Divining Rods will serve not only as a tool for the visitor, but also for Mia — by supporting user data collection, creating community and strengthening core values,” both Reichert and Arcand said. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Mia and 3M on this project, to contribute to the museum experience and to have the gift of time and space to dig deep into the Mia collection.”

Arcand is an engineer and product innovator with over 10 years of experience in the medical devices industry and is named on 18 medical device patents. Currently, Arcand is working to establish and apply cutting edge technologies to the practice of veterinary medicine at his company, ArteMedics, LLC. Reichert is an architectural researcher, designer, and educator. Her academic role is as a founding faculty member of the first professional Architecture degree at Dunwoody College of Technology. She is also a partner in the public art collaborative, Futures North.

The winners were selected by a panel of technology experts and digital designers that included: Curtis Wong, principal researcher at Microsoft; Peter de Sibour, brand design manager at 3M; Patrick Kennedy, media & entertainment digital transformation lead of Accenture; Keri Elmsley, chief creative officer at Second Story; Kaywin Feldman, Nivin and Duncan MacMillan director and president at Mia; Kate Boeckman, senior manager of strategic product management, applied innovation at Thomson Reuters; and Tim Brunelle, vice president creative director at BBDO. 3M is the title sponsor of the award, with additional generous support provided by Accenture.

“The contestants in this year’s 3M Art and Technology Award were all very impressive. Each demonstrated real creative innovation that was tied to the museum experience, often expanding upon what is currently possible.” stated Peter de Sibour, brand design manager at 3M and competition judge. “The winning idea is particularly intriguing because it will involve the design, testing and production of an entirely new device. Molly and Ben showed their passion and drive to deliver something truly new and different that is likely to elicit wonder for museum visitors”