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New iPhone App Offers Self-guided
Tours of UC San Diego's Stuart Collection

June 7, 2011

By Kristin Luciani

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Student Film Festival
Niki de Saint Phalle's "Sun God," the first installation of the Stuart Collection

A new iPhone application for the University of California, San Diego’s Stuart Collection provides a fresh way for visitors to interact with the internationally renowned sculpture collection. Developed at no charge by UC San Diego alumnus John VanZandt, the app is a compilation of short videos that describe each piece of art, from conception through implementation, and makes for a complete self-guided tour. Designed for iPhone and iPad, the Stuart Collection app is available as a free download.

The idea for the app began some months ago when VanZandt learned about a series of short videos that had been created for each of the Stuart Collection’s 17 sculptures and posted to the UCSD-TV website, YouTube and iTunes. VanZandt was impressed by how beautifully the videos explained the Stuart Collection sculptures, many of which he remembered seeing—and wondering about—as a student on campus. Founder and president of the software company CEO Softcenters, Inc., VanZandt offered to create an iPhone app for the Stuart Collection to make the videos more easily accessible to the campus community and visitors.

“I never could understand some of the sculptures around the university,” said VanZandt. “I thought it would be really cool to be able to walk around the campus and watch a video about the artwork you encounter.”

Student Film Festival
The next addition to the Stuart Collection will be "Fallen Star" by Do Ho Suh.

VanZandt first came to UC San Diego as an undergraduate studying electrical and computer engineering. He continued on at the university, completing his Ph.D. in computer science and engineering in 1986. After serving as an adjunct professor at the university and then moving into industry, VanZandt founded CEO Softcenters, Inc., a software development company specializing in helping small and mid-sized businesses create innovative software products, including complex mobile applications for iPhone, iPad and Android. In addition to the Stuart Collection app, VanZandt created the UCSD Alumni app in 2010 and is currently working on an app to connect alumni of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

 “We’re thrilled with the generosity of John VanZandt,” said Mary Beebe, director of the Stuart Collection. “With his help we are now better able to share the Stuart Collection with students, alumni and the entire campus and San Diego community.”

Beebe continued, “This app comes at a particularly good time, as production of the newest addition to the Stuart Collection, ‘Fallen Star’ by Do Ho Suh, is scheduled to begin this summer.” An 18th video will be added to the Stuart Collection app for the new sculpture, a small house perched atop the seventh floor of EBU1 in the Jacobs School of Engineering. Images of the design are available on the Stuart Collection website.  

Student Film Festival
UC San Diego Alumnus John VanZandt

 “I had a fabulous experience at UC San Diego,” said VanZandt. “It’s a great place to be from and it keeps getting better and better. Creating the apps has been a wonderful way for me to reconnect with the university, as well as give back and help communicate what UC San Diego has to offer.”

VanZandt’s app is just one example of the creative ways that UC San Diego alumni give back to their alma mater. This June, alumni will return to campus and reconnect with the university and each other during the third annual Alumni Weekend. Taking place June 16-19, the weekend includes a variety of activities to celebrate alumni, from reunions and receptions to a beach party and surf invitational. For more information and registration, visit www.alumni.ucsd.edu/alumniweekend.   


Media Contact: Kristin Luciani, 858-822-3353, or kluciani@ucsd.edu

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