While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused most of us to disconnect socially, it’s also created more opportunities for people to connect online. That can be a difficult prospect for arts organizations, when the ability to see, hear and interact with art and performances in person is hard to replicate online.
But is anyone surprised that creative people would find creative ways to still interact creatively online?
We’ve got some examples below. And let us know in the comments of other arts organizations coming up with ways to connect with their audiences digitally right now.
Playmakers of Baton Rouge launches Playmakers Live on Facebook
The theater organization for children in the community launched an online series that Executive Director Todd Henry says will be a showcase of local creatives. Hosted from his Baton Rouge home, Henry conducts video chats with Playmakers’ current and former collaborators, as well as members of arts organizations from around the city. It started April 1 with plans to stream live every Wednesday and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Head to Playmakers’ Facebook page to find out more.
Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s dance classes move to Zoom
Baton Rouge Ballet’s Dancers’ Workshop normally serves as a feeder school to cultivate talented dancers for the company. With everyone required to stay at home, the workshop has moved training online for its students and company members, hosting free classes for them through the Zoom app.
Students have been taking part in the classes and keeping up with ballet training from their bedrooms, living rooms and yards. “Zoom allows us to see each student and give personal feedback to them. It’s been great, and the response to the program has been overwhelming,” associate artistic director Rebecca Acosta says in a press release. “The dancers are so anxious to get back to the studio, but this is the next best thing.”
Find out more about Baton Rouge Ballet at its website.
LATCo Comedy’s virtual improv jam sessions
Local improv and experimental theater organization LATCo Comedy is finding a new way to host improv performances. The group is hosting free virtual improv “jam sessions” every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6-7 p.m. They are open to anyone regardless of improv experience, and participants are encouraged to sign up at latcocomedy.com.
Baton Rouge Gallery’s ‘The Flat Curve Gallery’
The gallery in BREC’s City Park is closed for the time being, but its team is creating a virtual gallery featuring art submitted by the community. Anyone—adult or child—can submit their own work of art free of charge by uploading an image of it here. The only rule: it has to have been created no earlier than March 13.
Baton Rouge Gallery’s Jason Andreasen says around 75 submissions have come in so far—from established artists in the community and aspiring artists alike—and the gallery will be rolling out images of the art in batches through its Facebook page and on its website.
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Here they are! Your first additions to The Flat Curve Gallery! … We have seen an INCREDIBLE response since announcing this new effort on Tuesday with several dozen works submitted. They've come from everyone from professional artists to toddlers and we can now confirm there's some amazing stuff being created while we all try to "flatten the curve." We can't thank everyone enough for sharing their work with us and allowing us to share it with everyone else. Stay tuned for more additions daily and help spread the word that we can absolutely be getting creative and enjoying each other even though we have to be socially distant right now. … What is The Flat Curve Gallery? We at BRG have started a free online gallery with works created during the COVID-19 pandemic from artists of all experience levels and all ages. And we want you to be a part of it! Whether you’re 5 or 55, we want you to grab a crayon, a paintbrush, a handful of clay, or whatever helps you create and let’s share! … If you want to share your – or your children's – artwork with The Flat Curve Gallery, learn more at batonrougegalleryorg/flat-curve-gallery … #flatcurvegallery #covid19 #coronavirus #quarantine #art #artist #artistsoninstagram #selfquarantine #flattenthecurve #batonrouge #louisiana #contemporaryart @isokoonodera @kzlemoine9 @connortarter
Theatre Baton Rouge’s ‘Quarantunes’ competition
The longtime Baton Rouge theater organization was inspired by March Madness to develop a bracket of its own. Participating performers and actors in the Theatre Baton Rouge family were drawn at random to compete in a head-to-head battle with a musical number of their choice. Viewers are asked to donate $1 to the theater via Venmo in order to submit a vote for their favorite in each battle.
First up on March 19 was Dana Lux singing “Little Girls” from Annie, vs. Ashley Stevens singing “Lifeboat” from Heathers. Today, March 20, is Kristy Coast singing “Little Girls” from Annie vs. Caroline and Natalie Feduccia singing “Let Me Be Your Star” from the TV show Smash.
Check out the ongoing competition and the details on how to vote at Theatre Baton Rouge’s Facebook page.
The Arts Council’s online resources, community survey and hand washing videos set to music
The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge has been helping local arts groups for decades, and now its online efforts extend to sharing resources on its Facebook page so families can fill arts education gaps during the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s also partnering with the Louisiana Division of the Arts to survey local artists and arts organizations about how they are being impacted by the crisis.
On Instagram, the Arts Council is encouraging people to make a 15- to 30-second video washing their hands along to their favorite song. People who tag @artscouncilgbr will be featured on the Arts Council’s Instagram.
NO SHOW Comedy uploads its first comedy album online
While you can’t experience the laughs in person, NO SHOW went ahead and put the laughs online. The local comedy troupe has its first album, “A Louisiana Comedy Album,” on streaming platforms such as Spotify. The album features nearly 20 local and regional performers doing small sets recorded before a live audience. Fair warning: It’s adult comedy with explicit language. Find out more information on its Facebook page and website.
Louisiana Art & Science Museum’s downloadable coloring pages and educational videos
The downtown museum is quite the draw for children. But while it’s temporarily closed, it’s giving children a way to express themselves creatively with downloadable coloring pages from its Facebook page inspired by its exhibitions on Egyptian history, space, dinosaurs and more.
The museum has also streamed a live astronomy lesson that’s still available to watch if you missed it. And the museum has begun posting virtual experiences of its popular children’s activities, such as the Traveling Trunk Show, on Instagram. Expect to see more such videos posted in the coming days.
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Our mission at LASM has always been to encourage #discovery, inspire #creativity, and foster the pursuit of #knowledge, and that is what we will continue to do. #OurWorkContinues and we are excited to announce that we will be offering a virtual experience of the Museum and our programming for free! Today, play and learn with this special storytime from The Travelling Trunk Show! Visit our "Virtual Exploration" page on lasm.org/play-learn to find out more and discover new programs in the coming days! #WeMissOurKids #WeGotYou #InThisTogetherBR
Rep Cap launches a virtual concert series with local musicians
Local content marketing business Rep Cap is launching a weekly Facebook Live series, “Remote Talent,” where Baton Rouge area musicians will play a virtual set. First up is Peter Simon of Minos the Saint playing at 2-2:30 p.m., March 20. Another virtual concert is scheduled for March 27 at the same time. All videos will be available to watch in full on the Facebook page after they go live.
A plus for the musicians: Rep Cap is paying the bands their regular performance fee.
The East Baton Rouge Public Library’s online resources and digital library
You can access the library’s digital collection anytime, but now more than ever it’s a great resource with ebooks, movies, magazines, music and content catered to every age group. On its Facebook page, the library is keeping it interesting with links to fun, educational sites and local history.
Let us know in the comments about other arts organizations providing online creative outlets for the community!