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ExploreCU, a website and free mobile app that seeks to curate the arts, culture, and history of Champaign-Urbana through library resources and community-generated content, is now available. The ExploreCU mobile app download for Android or iOS devices is free.

ExploreCU was developed in partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library and the Visual Resources Center at the College of Fine and Applied Arts. It was funded through grant money designated for advancing innovative ideas and services in support of the community it serves.

“Collection development is a core part of the Library's mission,” said Visual Resources Curator Sarah Christensen. “We are especially excited to be able to provide a new pathway for using the collections in a manner that is accessible to our local community.”

There are seven tours currently available: Public Art at the University of Illinois, the Champaign Park District, Allerton Park, the Urbana Park District, Libraries and Museums, Railways and Electric Transit, and Landmarks and Lore at the University of Illinois. These tours, as well as others that are under development, will be continually updated as new content is acquired.

“ExploreCU is also meant to be a pedagogical tool for classroom use. U of I faculty across disciplines may wish to create assignments based around writing about some of the places or events that have shaped the community and, in the process, develop their students’ research and writing skills,” said Christensen.

Collaborators on the ExploreCU project to date include the Champaign Public Library, Parkland College, Urbana Free Library, Urbana Park District, and Muriel Scheinman, author of A Guide to Art at the University of Illinois.

Those involved in the development of ExploreCU are working with an independent-study student to create content for a Public Arts League sculpture tour in Champaign-Urbana next. Members of the community are welcome to contribute content to ExploreCU anytime.

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