Ashes2Art was conceived by professors Arne Flaten (Art History) and Paul Olsen (Graphic Design) at Coastal Carolina University. Essentially, we envision this as a way of integrating new technologies with hands-on teaching, effectively blurring traditional lines between art history, graphic design and communication arts. Intrigued by the projects at UCLA and various websites worldwide, Flaten and Olsen decided that a program of this sort, with significant alterations, would provide exciting opportunities for study and teaching.
Ashes2Art is offered for upper-level course credit at Coastal Carolina each spring. Under close faculty supervision, every facet of the project is designed and built by undergraduate students (including web design, research, digital panoramas, essays, 3D renderings, and video animation).
Stage One of the project (fall 2005) focused on Renaissance Florence. While that initial course (ARTH 499) did not reconstruct lost monuments, it provided a context in which to evaluate various technologies and gauge the potential and efficacy of such a program. The next stage of the program digitally rebuit monuments at 4th century BCE Delphi, Greece with Arkansas State University.
In spring 2007, Coastal Carolina entered into a collaborative arrangement with students at Arkansas State University, under the direction of Dr. Alyson Gill, to digitally reconstruct monuments at Delphi. During 2006, Flaten and Gill met at a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at UCLA, "Models of Ancient Rome," which focused on the digital reconstruction projects at UCLA's Experiential Technologies Center. The collaboration between ASU and CCU began soon thereafter, and through the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Ashes2Art secured permission from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture to shoot digital panoramas from inside temples at Delphi. Between 2007 and 2009, the two schools digitally reconstructed various monuments, and rendered QT flythroughs and short documentary videos for online viewing with downloads for cellphones and iPods.
In the summers of 2007 and 2008 students and faculty were granted unrestricted access by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture to work at sites including Delphi, Olympia, Nemea, Epidauros. Portions of these sites were then reconstructed the following spring. We would like to thank the American School for Classical Studies at Athens for their help in securing permission.
Stage three of Ashes2Art will focus on Greco-Roman Egypt. A collaboration between Ashes2Art and the Centre for Maritime Archeaology and Underwater Cultural Heritage at Alexandria University in Egypt began in January 2011. Students at both universities will design and populate a comprehensive database and online musuems for each of the excavation sites, build digital models of buildings, boats, kilns and other structures, shoot high-resolotion panoramas, and digitally reconstruct the topographical changes to the region over the past two millennia. Our initial work will concentrate on Lake Mareotis (immediately west of Alexandria), with subsequent examinations along the Red Sea (perhaps including Wadi Gawasis, Queseir al-Qadim, and Saddana Island). In affiliation with Alexandria University, Ashes2Art will work with excavation directors, including Dr. Emad Khalil (CMA, Alexandria), and Dr. Cheryl Ward (Coastal Carolina University). All materials will be posted online as available.
Ashes2Art is an important research medium and a valuable online resource; it is also an exciting pedagogical opportunity for interdisciplinary and inter-university collaboration. The potential for teacher and student learning is limitless.
The entire program (including web design, research, digital panoramas, essays, 3D renderings, lesson plans and video animation) is designed and built by undergraduate students.
The directors of Ashes2Art and its collaborators remain dedicated to keeping all the reconstructions, digital models, scholarly reviews, essays and resources available online, free of charge, using open-source software.