We were inspired by the city of Seattle’s open data portal. We explored various data sets and ultimately decided that we wanted to create a site to promote the arts and culture of Seattle. This concept was refined to focus on Seattle’s public art, as we felt that art that is free and open to the public is meaningful, and it’s likely that many people are not aware of the pieces that are available for them to view, even in their own neighborhoods.

Another inspiration for our project was the idea of an art walk. An art walk is an event that shares our goal of creating a free and easy way to enjoy the arts across the city. The map-based format of the site enabled us to create an interactive virtual “art walk,” giving users more information about local art that they can seek out—hence the name “Seattle Public Art Walk”.

What it does

The website has a map with pins for the different pieces of art throughout the city. When you click on a pin you get information about the title, the artist, the medium, the location, and a description if one is available. There is also a search box that allows you to find particular pieces of art and filter through certain categories.

How I built it

We got started quickly building a React app using create-react-app. Our site uses the Socrata Open Data API (through soda-js) to consume open data provided by the City of Seattle and the Google Maps Javascript API to show the map. Our domain is provided by and hosted by Netlify.

Challenges I ran into

The first challenge we ran into was creating a concept that we were all excited about. We really wanted to create something that actually had meaning with the time and resources we had. We ran through many ideas that ultimately fell to the wayside before landing on the issue of publicly available art.

We were also limited by the data set we were using, making it difficult to provide the rich information we would have liked about every piece of artwork.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

It worked as we planned! We stuck with the plan and kept working on it. In the end we were able to create something that can actually be useful, right now, to anyone trying to explore the art of Seattle.

What I learned

We gained a lot of practical experience with creating an interactive website that is intuitive to use. We also learned about working collaboratively, both technically and creatively.

What's next for Seattle Public Art Walk

Given more time, we would love to refine our data set so that every piece of art could have a richer and more consistent set of information. We want to create a system to filter out any art in a location that might require paid admission, such as zoos.

We’d also love to include a trip-planning feature, where users can use our tool to generate walking or biking directions for their own customized art walk through Seattle.

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