Aaron Rice

Founder/CEO at A Metaverse Studio
On the record

Aaron Rice is Founder and CEO of the Virtual Reality Collaboration Lab (VRCOLAB). A mission- driven company contributing to the success of African American Art and Cultural Institutions that have been severely impacted more than any other group by the COVID-19 pandemic. The super power of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Digital Twin Technology is the ability for brands to connect on a deeper emotional level with their audiences and allow organizations to increase awareness, engagement, and shareability. This process strengthens brand equity allowing them to register more users, educate more visitors and drive more revenue.
VRCOLAB supports on-site and off-site Virtual First projects that nurture forward movement and excellence of the African American-focused museum field. We prioritize accessibility for all. ASL for the hearing impaired, audio describe for the sight impaired and social narratives for those on the Autism Spectrum. We prioritize the growth and development of artists and museum professionals, capacity building for digital inclusion and engagement in our highest need communities. We create collaborative, high impact VR, AR, Digital Twin experiences of museum collections that immediately increase public access within and beyond their immediate community. Our vision is not a plan or a collection of projects or programs. Our vision is a new attitude, a mindset, a commitment to a Virtual First Future of Work approach that is experimental, agile, iterative, collaborative, and responsive in order to engage the most people possible in a meaningful exchange with VR, AR and Digital Twin Technology.
Arts and Cultural Institutions have always been primarily about in-person experiences, and while this is critically important and will remain so, COVID-19 has forced the urgent need to think more about how to deliver experiences to and engage with audiences who are not in the physical building. To achieve this, organizations have to make a commitment to thinking and working Virtual First, not just in one department, but throughout the organization. Ultimately, Virtual First should permeate all aspects of the organizations operations. Advancing these Virtual First recommendations will require that organizations reconsider some of their current methods for collaboration, developing new experiences, acquiring customers, identifying funders, promoting and marketing their organization, and generating revenue with and through Digital Twin products. Ultimately the goal is to connect with more people, create more innovative work, and seed the development of your organizations future. Achieving this vision will come with a cost. Organizations will have to invest in software, hardware, storage, training, and expertise to realize the full potential of the opportunities presented here. In each project and every process VRCOLAB considers how VR, AR and Digital Twins will impact, improve, expand or enhance a organizations Virtual First identity not just for today, not just for next week, we focus on delivering true evidence of sustainability twenty years from now.

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