Evan Spiegel wants artists to have their own place on Snapchat.
Speaking at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in Beverly Hills Tuesday, the Snap CEO made a rare public appearance to explain why his company tapped artist Jeff Koons to make digital art installations.
Beginning today, the company is placing a series of augmented reality art installations, designed by Koons, at a handful of parks and other locations around the world.
That may sound like just an extension of Snapchat’s existing AR efforts, like its 3D world lenses and dancing Bitmoji, but for Spiegel, the effort represents the next step of his plan to bolster Snap as a company.
“The lenses that we are launching today is just an example of how Snapchat is trying to remove friction from the creative process,” Spiegel said. “The fact that we can bring these ginormous sculptures anywhere in the world is just the beginning of how we can inspire young people to create.”
Spiegel’s announcement had been somewhat ruined after the company quietly posted a countdown clock on its website Monday afternoon. Enterprising Twitter users discovered screenshots and videos related to the announcement by simply setting their computer clocks ahead.
Snapchat users who are near one of the locations, which include the National Mall in Washington D.C., Central Park in New York, and Hyde Park in London, can unlock the lenses just like they unlock one of the app’s world lenses.
The company says it plans to put the lenses in more locations in the near future. Spiegel didn’t comment on whether more artists would eventually take part in the future too, but Snapchat’s website for the installations has a form for artists interested in participating, so it seems likely that more artists will eventually take part as well.