Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis (Master's)

Department or Program

Computer Science

First Advisor

Lorie Loeb

Second Advisor

James Mahoney

Third Advisor

John Bell


Augmented art— the subgenre of art that incorporates physical and digital artwork— is a rapidly growing field driven by advancing technology and a new generation for whom that tech is a given. Yet the presence of media like augmented and virtual reality in exhibition remains a controversial subject. Rather than focusing on the many theoretical debates about whether digital pieces can qualify as "good" art, we study it in practice through the eyes of the casual art observer. This paper highlights the audience in a within-participant study that asked viewers to take in a physical sculpture intentionally built with virtual augmentations. Participants (n=25) interacted with the sculpture as a stand-alone, AR, and Passthrough VR piece in randomized order, then evaluated their experiences in a concurrent survey and post-study interview. Results looked at immersion, engagement, cohesion, and meaning as metrics of art and quality. Conclusively, the augmentations proved at least as artistically successful as the non-digital piece, with Passthrough surpassing the stand-alone and AR in immersion, engagement, and meaning. These findings indicate that mixed-reality technology may be an especially potent platform for art creation. Additionally, those who reported formal education in traditional art were less likely than others to prefer Passthrough. Still, their data endorsed the effectiveness of augmented art: this relationship sheds light on the relationship between artistic background and digital art appreciation.