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Technology and Arts Combine for Innovative Virtual Reality Field Trip, Season 2 Explores Indigenous Artistic Practices

Technology And Arts Combine For Innovative Virtual Reality Field Trip, Season 2 Explores Indigenous Artistic Practices


Technology and Arts Combine for Innovative Virtual Reality Field Trip, Season 2 Explores Indigenous Artistic Practices

Act One’s Traveling Virtual Reality Arts Immersion™ Field Trip is the Only Program of its Kind in the World

(April 4, 2024 – PHOENIX) Act One, a nonprofit organization in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., focused on providing arts education access for all students regardless of their socioeconomic status, launches Season 2 of its groundbreaking virtual reality (VR) field trip program.

The VR field trip, also known as Arts Immersion™, is designed to provide a 360° visual and audio journey for fifth- through 12th-grade students across Arizona. Thanks to virtual reality headsets and custom created content, nearly 18,000 students statewide participated in the experience of a lifetime since its launch in 2021.

Season 2, titled Weaving Our Story focuses on Indigenous artists across the state of Arizona. Artist participants include Tyrrell Tapaha, a sixth generation Diné sheepherder, weaver and fiber artist who grew up in the Four Corners region of northeastern Arizona; the Duncan Family, world champion hoop dancers, musicians and storytellers, and Janelle Stanley, who grew up in the Navajo Nation and recently expanded her weaving practice to create public art seen at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, Valley Metro stations in downtown Phoenix, and beyond.

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” said Act One founder and philanthropist, Mac Perlich. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools closed and students lacked access to resources like field trips and experiential arts learning. Since they couldn’t visit museums and performance venues, we reimagined what a field trip could be and brought arts experiences to students with the use of VR technology.”

Each season of the Act One immersive arts experience contains three chapters that range in length from 8-10 minutes. Each chapter features at least one different art form or artist. All chapters tie together in an overarching, unifying theme.

“For Season 2 we sought artists who work in traditional and modern Indigenous art forms that are not just educational, but also entertaining,” said Dr. Beth Maloney, Executive Director at Act One. “We collaborated with an Indigenous Cultural Advisor and Navajo Nation member and language teacher to ensure a responsible and respectful portrayal of Arizona’s Indigenous cultures. We wanted to ensure a safe and comfortable film environment for our artists and provide appropriate teaching resources to support and extend the VR trip in classrooms. The results of this season are amazing. We cannot wait to share this most recent chapter with educators and students across the state.”

Act One’s immersive experience initially began with 50 virtual reality headsets, a significant investment for the nonprofit at $1,500 per headset. Since then, the program has grown to 150 headsets, specially designed travel cases, two donated vans and a staff of Act One virtual reality field trip experts who travel across the state to guide the VR learning experience.

Season 2 was designed locally by a team of 18 Arizona State University students at the Meteor Studio in Mesa. Under the tutelage of Skye Lucking as Creative Director of the Meteor Studio and Robert LiKamWa, arts, media and engineering professor, they worked for more than 18 months to film, edit and curate the immersive experience.

Sponsored by the Burton Family Foundation, the VR field trip program is provided to Title I schools across the state at no cost. Non-Title I schools can reserve the experience for just $350 per class, often using grants to cover the cost.

“The Act One Immersive Experience is the first and only virtual reality art experience like it in the world,” Perlich concluded. “Educational virtual reality experiences not only cultivate knowledge and appreciation of the arts, but also inspire creativity. We are remarkably proud of the impact we are making in the Valley and beyond, especially for kids who lack access to arts due to economic, geographic and logistical barriers.”

Act One makes meaningful arts experiences accessible to thousands of children and families in Arizona each year through field trips for pre-K through 12-grade students from Title I schools. The nonprofit organization also brings arts education directly to the classroom with its unique Arts Immersion™ Virtual Reality Field Trip program, launched in 2021 and facilitates the Culture Pass program in libraries across the state. For more information about these programs

Media Contact:
Charlotte Shaff
The Media Push
(602) 418-8534

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