New Art City is a virtual world platform created by students at San José State University (SJSU) in San Jose, California, which is intended to be a virtual gallery and exhibition toolkit for online art exhibitions. As SJSU’s Jon Oakes told me, “It’s like [Mozilla] Hubs, but for artists.”
New Art City is a virtual exhibition platform for new media art with a focus on co-presence and experiencing digital art together. Shows are real-time multiplayer and accessed using a web browser on computer or mobile device, with no need to register, install extra software or enter any personal information. Using built-in tools to manage artworks and room layouts, curators and organizers can create a show and hold a virtual exhibition online. Participants can attend virtual openings together, chat and see each other moving around the space while experiencing digital art in its native format.
In its mission statement, New Art City’s curation and product design prioritize those who are disadvantaged by structural injustice. An inclusive and redistributive community is as important to this project as the toolkit itself, and the platform seeks to support artists who face barriers in the traditional art world, promoting and amplifying works by queer artists and artists of colour.
Galleries are accessible via the New Art City website, and run inside your web browser (Chrome is the preferred browser). New Art City is not yet compatible with VR headsets, but the creators have built it in a way where this will be possible in the future.
There are already dozens of exhibits available for you to visit. New Art City is currently in private beta, and access to exhibitors is granted on an invite-only basis. They are planning to launch open signups soon, but in the meantime you may submit a proposal for access here.