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CDE, Rasmuson Foundation collaborate on virtual gallery

Submitted by Megan Otts
Phone: 907-474-7571

05/13/08

Photo caption below.
Image courtesy of Christen Bouffard
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Photo caption below.
Image courtesy of Christen Bouffard
Download image

An Alaska-based art gallery celebrated its grand opening Monday, May 12, on the privately owned island of Rhetorica.

The island, owned by the UAF Center for Distance Education, exists in Second Life, an Internet-based social-networking platform launched by Linden Research, Inc. in 2003. Second Life is a 3-D virtual world where members, or "residents," can buy land, build a virtual home or business, attend events or even go shopping for virtual products or services using "Linden dollars," the virtual form of currency.

The Gallery of Alaskan Artists is a joint venture between CDE and the Rasmuson Foundation. The opening, featuring the work of Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award recipients, was held in conjunction with the announcement of the 2008 award winners. People with a Second Life account can visit the gallery at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Rhetorica/185/237/44.

Rhetorica was purchased in late 2006, and, according to Christen Bouffard, CDE instructional designer, the space has mainly been used to assess possible educational applications of the virtual world.

"We use Rhetorica as a space to experiment and explore Second Life " to understand what characteristics it may or may not possess for engaging students and for learning in general," she said.

While the island has hosted a number of university-related projects, including a high-resolution 360-degree virtual reality room, classroom instruction and meetings between various UAF affiliates, Bouffard said this is the department's first collaborative project with an organization from outside the university system.

CONTACT: Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at 907-474-7902 or via e-mail at marmian.grimes@uaf.edu.