Big Issue Changemaker Stuart Semple is opening a virtual art museum

VOMA will open online next month bringing seminal works from major institutions around the world and contemporary pieces. You’ll be able to walk around and view them on your phone or in virtual reality

A new museum will defy the lockdown to open its doors next month – allowing you to explore seminal works and celebrated contemporary art pieces in the world’s first virtual museum.

VOMA – the Virtual Online Museum of Art – is the brainchild of Big Issue Changemaker Stuart Semple.

He has brought together the best of new and old with the help of a global team of architects and curators as well as CGI designers, gaming experts and more used to working on Hollywood movies and blockbuster video games.

That will bring ground-breaking interactivity, Semple promises, with enterprising computing allowing millions of visitors to explore the museum at the same time, from anywhere in the world, and on any device – computer, tablet, phone, or VR headset.

The virtual conceptual space is designed to be used, interacted with and inhabited, insists the Bournemouth artist. VOMA a slice of culture that is missing while physical museums are closed during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“I’ve always dreamed of a place where anyone, from any walk of life can come together around art,” said Semple. “At a time like this where we are starved of going to museums, I realise how much I miss it. There are lots of people who can’t go to museums ordinarily due to economic, physical or societal restrictions, and it’s amazing that we are finally at a point where the technology is able to bring the museum to them.”

VOMA Semple
Semple architecture
Architects and CGI designers from the world of games and films have worked on the building's design

Director of VOMA, Lee Cavaliere, added: “VOMA is a new platform to hear the stories and histories of artists from across the world. Without the limitations of a physical location, access to a museum is possible to anyone with an internet connection.

“The museum affords us the opportunity to collaborate in new ways through a program of exhibitions, talks, screenings and events. The building itself can shift and adapt to house these new stories and perspectives, speaking to the disparate and yet universal nature of the human experience. By bringing together ideas and perspectives our collective imagination can be fired through collective ownership, innovation and debate.”

VOMA is an ongoing project that is being funded to completion via a Kickstarter campaign and is currently almost halfway to reaching its £6,000 goal. You can back the project here.