News

New Wonderland Experience Part of White House Holiday Tour

Donated to National Endowment for the Arts

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Graphic image of snow silhouette again winter landscape

Image from Second Story's immersive digital wonderland for this year's White House's Holiday Tour. Image courtesy of Second Story.

Washington, DC—In this holiday season, the National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to partner with the White House and Second Story, a part of SapientNitro, to add a new experience to the annual White House Holiday Tour. The new, immersive digital wonderland developed by Second Story celebrates how art and technology unite to create stories that inspire and delight.

Playing off of this year’s Holiday Tour theme, “A Children’s Winter Wonderland,” the interactive experience invites visitors into a snowy landscape where they see their silhouettes represented as sparkling forms moving amidst the snow.  The presentation is punctuated by close ups of falling snow animations that bring the glittering scene even more to life. The experience will be installed in the Booksellers Room.

This collaboration will offer guests an opportunity to become part of a landscape to which they directly contribute and to have that experience integrated with the craft-oriented décor of the rest of the holiday display.

Using a system of depth-sensing cameras, a short throw high-definition projector, motion graphics and custom software, the Second Story team created the participatory visual art in collaboration with the Office of Digital Strategy. Second Story’s two-decade history working with cultural and iconic American institutions to create innovative experiences aligns with the NEA’s commitment to support this kind of work through the agency’s funding, publications, and partnerships.

“We developed a creative concept to make the theme of the Holiday Tour, ‘A Children’s Winter Wonderland,’ an interactive experience that uses the latest digital technology to put visitors directly in a snowy, wintry landscape,” said David Waingarten, Creative Director, Second Story. "We are honored to bring the White House its first interactive installation, demonstrating the power of the combination of technology and art to delight audiences with stories they can become a part of.”

Since 2010, the NEA has investigated and invested in work at the intersection of art, science, and technology. The agency has forged partnerships with the National Science Foundation, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, and others to explore collaborative possibilities. The NEA has featured artists, scientists, and artist-scientists in its print and online properties including a content-sharing partnership with LiveScience.com and the U.S. Department of State. The NEA has also awarded grants to support arts, science, and technology projects.

The Second Story display will be part of the tour, which begins December 3 and continues through the holiday season after which time the software will be donated to the NEA. To learn more about the 2014 Holidays at the White House, visit WhiteHouse.gov/Holidays

About Second Story

Second Story designers collaborate with technologists to explore emerging technologies—such as facial recognition, gestural motion, interactive mapping and sensor technologies—and how they can be used to create innovative consumer experiences. Second Story’s work has been recognized in major interactive design competitions and received many awards, including the One Show, Red Dot, SXSW and Sundance, and is included in the Smithsonian’s permanent research collection on information technology.  Second Story is a part of SapientNitro.  For more information, visit secondstory.com.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. For more information, visit arts.gov.

Contact

Victoria Hutter, hutterv@arts.gov, 202-682-5692