When the first movie theaters opened, audiences raced to the exit when they found themselves face-to-face with a train choo choo-ing towards them with zero intention of braking.  Fast forward to 2011, people now flood movie theaters sporting 3-D glasses in order to be on Pandora among the Na’vi.

According to the National Arts Index, more Americans are demanding the arts.   Fortunately, the supply is inherently infinite. 21st century technology is changing the way we experience art and the way the arts touch us:

Google Art. The mad scientists at Google recently released Art Project, giving users the opportunity to go to the museums—on a laptop.   Not only can you view famous collections, but you can do a 360 tour of the museum itself, a la Google Street View.

The Louvre—there’s an app for that too. Gallivant through the Louvre with a swish of your fingers while waiting at the bus stop.  And it’s free.  See Mashable for their top 5 arts gallery iPhone apps.

Operas and Orchestras in hi-def. Soon the days of dolling up for a night at opera house will be moved to the attic alongside free AOL software in the mail and red corvette-VHS rewinders.  The Met: Live in HD and LA Phil Live are bringing Wagner and Tchaikovsky to a theater near you.

Technology certainly has made the arts more accessible.  But will it hold up in the long run? Or will we be twarting (“tweeting art”) by next year?

One of my favorite things in the world is the rush of visceral sounds seconds before the start of a live symphony: the calming explosion of the orchestra’s B flat and the arresting TAP TAP TAP of the conductor’s baton that brings the universe to a silence.  Can the same be felt with an app?