For a time, creative spaces were measured in their response to the coronavirus. Museums canceled events but kept their doors open. Art happenings were scaled back. But on the ground, things are changing quickly, and institutions are adapting accordingly.
Here’s a look at some of the many ways local galleries, museums, and other art spaces are working to balance their love for art with concerns for public safety — plus a few options for enjoying art as circumstances allow in the coming days and weeks.
Phoenix Art Museum started ramping up its virtual and social media offerings after announcing that it was closing its art spaces due to COVID-19 guidelines. They’ve placed an icon on their home page that people can click to access images and information about their permanent collection, which includes some fascinating objects you’ve likely never seen on view at the museum — such as miniature period rooms from various historical periods.
They're working now on virtual tours, weekly digital mindfulness experiences, posting a different artwork on social media every day, and a weekly pairing of art and music to share via social media. Look for other museums to announce creative plans as well.
Beatrice Moore cancelled her Mutant Pinata Show at Weird Garden, which is one of the community’s most beloved art experiences. The decision sent a powerful signal to the arts community that it’s time to prioritize the health and wellness of all community members amid the COVID-19 crisis, even as art lovers look for creative ways to experience and support the arts.
Artlink announced it was canceling its Art D’Core Gala, which would have kicked off this year’s Art Detour. However, the exhibition planned for that evening has been installed, and the organization plans to create a virtual tour of the show.
Several Art Detour offerings, including studio tours and the Creative City Symposium, also have been canceled. And there are some who've called for Artlink to cancel Art Detour entirely in light of COVID-19 concerns.
Lisa Sette Gallery didn’t set out to create an exhibit perfectly suited to these times of public health worries, but she’s been mindful for many years of the anxiety wrought by our current political and social climate. Her “Serenity Now” exhibit is filled with works that stir the conscience while providing a sense of calm.
The gallery is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, but its website features images of many of the works, including Charlotte Potter's Gilded Saints, and other fascinating details about the artists in the show. Other art spaces, including Bentley Gallery, also are posting their works online.
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We may see more focus on public art for a while, as people seek brief escapes from the grips of cabin fever. The Oak Street Mural Festival postponed its mural event scheduled for Saturday, March 21. But you can keep an eye out for murals as you’re out walking. The alley off Oak and 14th streets is always there, filled with murals painted through the years.
The artist talk for Laura Spalding Best’s Rise mural is being rescheduled, but you can still head to Tempe Town Lake to see her field mural. Outdoor events, including one of James B. Hunt’s renowned NXOEED art hunts and the What Should I Have Said? walk organized by the Museum of Walking are still a go.
Art spaces are just beginning to grapple with the challenges of sharing art with community members while their venues are closed, and with the heightened need to prioritize health and well-being. But we’re expecting some intriguing cultural twists during the time of COVID-19, and we want to hear from creatives who are finding fresh ways to share arts and culture within metro Phoenix communities.