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Molly Passow (American, b. 2002), `The Tapestry of Marriage,` 2024. Inspired by `Paper Doll-Bride,` 1964, by Grace Hartigan. AI generator: CoPilot 1792×1024-pixel AI-generated artwork.
Molly Passow (American, b. 2002), "The Tapestry of Marriage," 2024. Inspired by "Paper Doll-Bride," 1964, by Grace Hartigan. AI generator: CoPilot 1792×1024-pixel AI-generated artwork.

Castellani Art Museum presents 'Legacy in Pixels: AI Inspired by CAM's Treasures'


Mon, Apr 29th 2024 01:40 pm

Niagara University student pop-up exhibition

Niagara University Press Release and Photo

The Castellani Art Museum (CAM) at Niagara University is proud to announce the opening of “Legacy in Pixels: AI Inspired by CAM's Treasures,” a student pop-up exhibition that showcases the unique intersection of traditional art and cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI).

Running from April 29 to May 26, this exhibition features artwork by the students of Niagara University's international marketing (MKT 325) course, created under the guidance of professors and museum professionals and inspired by a series of lectures by industry experts Eleonora Brizi, Sebastian Sancez, Anne Spalter and Michael Spalter.

A dynamic group of 17 student artists are featured: Sunwoo Bae, Clara Barr, Anna Bodyl, Elijah Delgado, Abigail Dishaw, Ashtin Flores, Marland Garcia, Eunsu Gim, Jessica Hartman, Ngoc Anh Vu Hoang, Alexis Kadejo, Riley Leahy, Rhys Mandaville, Molly Passow, Sooyeon Rho, Frank Rotella and Megan Smith.

Curated and organized by Michael J. Beam, Ed Millar, Jess Conatser Minicucci and Ellen Owens, the exhibition demonstrates how AI can expand the boundaries of artistic expression. The students’ works, which reflect thoughtful integration of AI technologies, are displayed alongside the original artworks that inspired their digital interpretations, creating a dynamic conversation between historical and futuristic art forms.

Students were challenged to create original artworks that communicated messages of their choosing, first selecting CAM pieces that spoke to them. They fed images of the CAM works into an AI image generator with commands that modified it in particular ways. Over a dozen or more iterations, students tweaked their works through changes in the AI prompts, refining their images and the messages they wished to convey. The resulting artworks highlight the marketing students' artistic explorations and share their deep engagement with AI as both a medium and a method of educational inquiry.

Notable pieces such as Dishaw’s “Indecision’s Toil” and Barr’s “Timekeeper” delve into deep themes of human experience and societal dynamics.

Dr. Shawn Daly, professor of the course, highlighted the collaborative spirit of the project: "The folks at the CAM, led by Jess Minicucci, have been spectacular – working hard from beginning to end in creating the structure in which the students can thrive. That's harder than it sounds, because these marketing, business and communications students are not trained artists, art critics and art historians. Thus, the students needed a lot of support to create the finished art you see in the exhibition."

Conatser Minicucci, marketing and membership specialist at CAM and an independent digital art curator, shared her experience: “Having spent the past decade focused in the digital art space, including artificial intelligence, it was truly an honor to use this experience to organize an opportunity for NU students. This exhibition aimed to deepen their understanding of the power of AI. It was both rewarding and inspiring to witness the students grasp this technology and create works that not only enhanced their appreciation of AI, but also allowed them to dive into their own personal experiences to unlock unique forms of self-expression. Their engagement with the world-class collection at CAM was incredible to witness.”

The museum invites art and technology enthusiasts, as well as the general public, to witness this innovative fusion of art and AI, which is set to be a highlight of the spring 2024 season. This exhibition not only showcases the artistic capabilities of Niagara University’s students, but also serves as a testament to the transformative potential of integrating AI with classical artistic techniques.

“This partnership is an example of a new, powerful educational collaboration on our campus and also the Castellani Art Museum’s exploration into digital art and AI within the art world,” said Owens, CAM director.

The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University’s permanent collection includes over 5,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art, Niagara Falls art, and regional folk arts. CAM is committed to the preservation of these artworks, along with offering exhibitions and programs that serve the campus, local communities, and tourists.

For more information on the CAM, visit www.castellaniartmuseum.org, or follow CAM’s Facebook page (@CastellaniArtMuseumOfNiagaraUniversity), X (@CAM_of_NU) and Instagram (@CastellaniArtMuseum).

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