By Katie Jensen
Thanks to technology, people can now get a taste of the works featured in Mint Hill Arts without leaving the comfort of their homes.
With the help of panoramic photos, people can see the interior of Mint Hill Arts via Google. The program, Google Business Photos, uses the same technology as Google Street View, which uses Google cars to take photographs of streets all around the world.
David Gaertner, a Matthews photographer, does the work of Google cars in places cars can’t fit – inside buildings. The nonprofit Mint Hill Arts is located at 11205 Lawyers Road, suite A.
Visitors to the online tour feel like they are walking into Mint Hill Arts and can click arrows to turn around and venture further into the gallery.
“People will be able to see what they have to offer,” Gaertner said, adding the images are detailed enough to show “the quality of the art.”
Although the idea of virtual tours isn’t new, it has only recently been incorporated into Google. Google Business Photos came to the area about a year ago, and Gaertner was trained by Google and certified as a Google trusted independent photographer. Gaertner uses special equipment and said he can take up to 40 panoramic images, “which would cover a huge space.”
With Google, the process is more affordable, with one flat fee as opposed to the yearly or monthly fees that other organizations charge for the same service, Gaertner said, adding the best perk is the images never expire.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Mint Hill Arts Gallery Chair Tony Billotto.
Gaertner, a contributor and patron of Mint Hill Arts, completed the first set of images for the organization about a year ago but took a new set last month to commemorate a new exhibit. He then pieced together his images to create the user-friendly tour that he uploaded to Google.
Along with the artwork, tour visitors also can see the rooms where classes are offered for children and adults.
“You get a feel for what (the business) is … what to expect,” Gaertner said.
Although potential visitors get a sneak peek, they aren’t the only ones who benefit.
Once the tour images are complete, businesses or nonprofits can embed the tour into their websites or Facebook pages. The tours can even be linked to print advertising using a QR code that can be scanned with smartphones.
Want to take a virtual tour?
To view the Mint Hill Arts virtual tour online, visit www.minthillarts.org/gallery.html or www.facebook.com/minthillarts and click “Virtual Tour.”