Smartphone and tablet apps have become a useful way for visitors to navigate arts festivals, particularly those that take place in multiple venues across a city, such as the White Night cultural all-nighter.
However, cash-strapped arts organisations often struggle with the upwards of £20,000 cost of developing a dedicated app for their event.
Victoria Forrest, an award-winning designer and entrepreneur, has set up Apps for the Arts to help organisations make their events "slicker and more visitor-friendly".
"An app of this kind can cost upwards of £20,000, making it out of reach for most Arts festivals," said Forrest. "Much of this cost, however, falls within the programming development and user-testing stages."
Arts Council England (ACE) has been urging arts organisations to collaborate more closely in these tough economic times.
ACE south east area director Andrea Stark said last month: "I want to see evidence of more cultural organisations working together, collaborating for greater public benefit"
After consulting with the UK arts sector, Forrest has developed a platform that she claims will enable organisations to collectively cover the development cost of creating apps.
Organisations signing up to Apps for the Arts can share the expansive back-end programming and development costs, while still creating app interfaces that are tailored to their needs, branding and festival identity.
It is reported that the resulting apps will include various features, such as diaries and planners for people to organise what to see and when, along with GPS mapping for navigating between the venues.
Arts apps can be integrated with Facebook, Twitter and email to enable users to promote that they are going and share their experience.
Alongside providing festival visitors with an interactive guide to the event they are attending, festival apps can also provide organisers with anonymous visitor data on aspects such as popular attractions, footfall and crowd bottlenecks. This data can help them better plan future events.
Sue Jones is the director of Whitstable Biennale 2012, which has already signed up.
"Whitstable Biennale has multiple venues and sites all over town, the App will be a great tool for our audience, linking up artists and venues with GPS maps," she said.
"We'll also be able to update programme information in an instant, as well as detect visiting patterns in a far more sophisticated and detailed way than our current evaluation allows.
"This detailed information will enable us to make more informed applications to funders, and improve plans for future festivals."
To promote the scheme, Apps for the Arts has created a pre-release of the app design, which will be made available for free for a limited period on iPhone and Android devices. The prototype app uses elements from the Whitstable Biennale app.
Going forward, Forrest believes that it will be possible to add rich video and audio to festival apps, presumably allowing users to view exhibits they enjoyed and catch up on ones that they missed.
Any arts organisations interested in entering Arts for the Apps should register their interest by emailing email@example.com before 6pm on July 16.