For videos about art, there’s ArtBabble, a Web site created by the Indianapolis Museum of Art that offers videos from sources including the Museum of Modern Art and the PBS series “Art:21.”
ArtBabble goes live to the public today , is intended to change that. For the roll-out the Indianapolis museum invited a handful of institutions, including the New York Public Library, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, to take part. In the long run, it hopes to add more institutions, so that ArtBabble becomes “the destination for art content online,” Daniel Incandela, the director of new media at the Indianapolis museum, said in an interview.
On ArtBabble the majority of videos are in high definition. The design of the home page is clean and is clearly meant to draw in nonspecialists, with speech bubbles featuring punchy quotations that, when clicked on, jump to the relevant videos.
The hosting fees and other expenses of ArtBabble are being covered by the Indianapolis museum, with the help of a $50,000 grant from the Ball Brothers Foundation. (ArtBabble is free to users.) If the site becomes popular, the museum will look for corporate sponsorship, the museum’s director, Maxwell Anderson, said.
Mr. Anderson said the goal behind ArtBabble, and the museum’s own video production, is to allow visitors to “experience the life of museums,” whether through employee profiles, studio visits with artists or videos of conservators restoring objects. The advantage of making the new video site a collaborative one was obvious, he said: “The strength and potency of this as a shared site is much greater than one museum at a time.”