Wave Hill Celebrates 50th Anniversary Year with the Launch of the Family AlbumInteractive Social Platform Celebrates 50 Years of Creativity, Community and Horticultural Excellence
In honor of its 50thyear as a valued public garden and cultural center, Wave Hill has launched Wave Hill’s Family Album, an interactive social platform featuring personal photographs and reflections from the institution’s large base of loyal fans. The Family Album offers Wave Hill enthusiasts the opportunity to share their cherished memories of visits to the garden in a uniquely social format. “Wave Hill touches visitors on an emotional level,” comments Mary Weitzman, Director of Marketing & Communications. “It’s a place to celebrate milestones, and a place of healing. Through the Family Album, the memories of our wonderful Wave Hill family spring to life—be they memories of spending a peaceful afternoon in the garden with a loved one, or watching their child take his or her first steps on the Great Lawn.” Developed in collaboration with award-winning web design and technology firm Blenderbox, this virtual album pays fitting tribute to the lifelong connections between Wave Hill and the vibrant community that sustains it.
Upload Function Mimics Traditional Photo Albums
The Family Album distinguishes Wave Hill as one of the first cultural institutions to build its own social platform specifically for its fans. Users can upload both images and descriptions of time spent in the garden directly to the site, and tag them by season, decade and descriptive category, such as “My First Visit” or “Learning and Creating.” Once uploaded, these memories appear as snapshots within the Album, and can be shared further via email, Facebook and Twitter. The categorical structure of the site, explains Ben Paddock, Art Director at Blenderbox, “essentially mimics the way one would label the back of a picture for a photo album. From there, it was a matter of pulling back the user interface to make it more focused on the memories themselves, and giving the lightbox view of each memory a homemade scrapbook feel.”
Visual Aesthetic Draws on Seasonal Aspects of the Garden
Drawing on the seasonal aspects of the garden, the site utilizes colors and forms inspired by the ever-changing landscape. “We attempted to emulate a feeling of growth and nature,” says Blenderbox developer Griffin Byatt. “Getting to play with moving, growing and changing parts to invoke that notion was challenging, and a lot of fun.” The single-paged nature of the application, continues Byatt, “gave us the opportunity to integrate a popup slider into an infinite scroll. Users can then cycle easily through memories—without hitting an artificial loading wall.” Project Manager John Yates adds that the user-submission aspect of the Album, along with its photo book look and function, separate it from standard marketing websites. “And it’s rare,” he notes, “that we’re given the opportunity to celebrate the past.”
Interactive Approach Reflects Wave Hill’s Desire to Include Visitors in Anniversary Celebrations
The range of memories that make up the Family Album—from recent moments in the garden to archival photographs of the grounds—paint a vivid picture of Wave Hill’s illustrious history. And thanks to the user-friendly nature of the site, this collection will continue to grow. “Our supporters, whether visitors, Members, teachers, artists or staff, are such a key part of our story,” says Weitzman. “The Family Album gives our fans the opportunity to participate in the celebration of this momentous anniversary year, and to express how important Wave Hill is to them throughout their lives.”
Wave Hill’s Family Album website can be found at www.wavehill50.org, where visitors to the site can find instructions for adding their own memories.
Wave Hill, Inc. is an independent, non-profit cultural institution governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The buildings and grounds of Wave Hill are owned by the City of New York. With the assistance of the Bronx Borough President and Bronx representatives in the City Council and State Legislature, Wave Hill’s operations are supported with public funds through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Grant Program administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.