When governments shut down U.S. businesses and told consumers to stay home due to COVID-19, local businesses got creative and figured out a way to remain in front of their customers.
The Bascom Center for the Visual Arts’ Executive Director Teresa Osborn stated the situation a little more eloquently, saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
“The day we closed, March 17, we started talking about how to produce original content virtually,” Osborn said. “By the end of the week we had original content online and available for public viewing.
The Bascom found a way to connect with the community even when it couldn’t be physically together.
“When it became clear that we needed to close our doors for the safety of the public, our students, and our staff, we immediately began to look at creative ways to share our exciting new exhibitions and programming with the public,” Osborn said. “While we are ready to serve the community in person when we can open our doors again, we didn’t want to lose our connection when people need connection now more than ever.”
The staff began utilizing technology in new ways and have released virtual tours of three new exhibitions: Narrative/Abstraction/Iteration, curated by Jean McLaughlin; Three Potters Retrospective, curated by Frank Vickery, Director of Ceramics; and Fuzed By Water, a solo exhibition by Photography Resident Ben Bookout.
“Billy Love, our Director of Education and Outreach took the lead on this project and developed a product that allows The Bascom to fulfill its mission, to reach the community,” Osborn said.
Love said the key was to adapt.
“We are using our email newsletter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram to share virtual exhibition tours and artist highlights as well as additional digital programming” said Love. “We took nine months of plans and pivoted in two weeks to serve the community in a different way. While this meant the staff needed to learn how to film and edit, we have gotten such a positive reaction we know we will continue with these going forward.”
Osborn said the response has been amazing.
“We were getting hundreds of views when this started out, but in the last two weeks those numbers have doubled,” she said.
Osborn said the virtual tours are great for those who wouldn’t normally visit The Bascom, or are unable to visit. “If you aren’t getting our newsletter or aren’t following us on social media, please do.”
According to Osborn, all virtual tours can be found on The Bascom’s website at www.thebascom.org.