A blog post by Charlotte Mccarthy
MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies, University of Manchester
Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA) was launched in 2012 by Anna Stolyrova; originally from the Ukraine; who having moved to the Old West side of the city became inspired by the colourful murals/graffiti being designed and painted by a series of international graffiti artists/muralists. Having worked as a media producer for over 20 years, she could see that the art had potential and inspired by the rising popularity of Banksy, decided to set up a ‘museum’. The museum is the first of its kind in Amsterdam to be created by people in a public space and given the changing nature of the landscape features an ever-changing exhibition schedule. It is also very community focussed and runs a series of educational events for those residents based in the area; some of whom work as volunteer museum guides. Promotion of the museum is mostly done through word of mouth and also through the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
In 2015, the SAMA App was launched to support the visiting experience and to promote the museum to a wider, more global audience. The app works in several ways: firstly, it introduces the visitor to the project through a series of YouTube videos which describe the setting up of the museum and its curatorial vision; it also acts as a handheld gallery in your pocket (divided into 3 sections/walks) which feature images of the artworks, alongside information on the artist and in some cases, their motivations/inspirations for the piece, the date the work was created and its location. Sadly, though the app needs updating as it doesn’t state whether these pieces are up to date and are still in the locations mentioned or whether they have been demolished; but as a pre-visit experience tool it works very well.