In this time of unprecedented closures, cancellations, and quarantines, we at the Garrett County Arts Council wish to extend our most hearty wishes of good health and calm to everyone. Like every other business and organization during this virus crisis, the GCAC has made some difficult decisions over the past several weeks concerning events and activities. However, while things can seem shuttered and bleak, we say with passion that the arts can continue to thrive! In fact, art must thrive in these times of struggle. Days like these can inspire us all to create some of our best work, so let’s latch onto that as we forge ahead.
But business first… In keeping with directives from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland State Arts Council, Maryland Department of Health, and the Garrett County Government, the Garrett County Arts Council has implemented the following to ensure the safety of our employees, artists, and patrons:
1. The Garrett County Arts Council is regretfully postponing all GCAC events and in-person committee meetings through mid-April. This includes meetings for the Arts & Entertainment Districts, Artist Studio Tours, and SEYMOUR. Staff will try to make arrangements to hold meetings virtually, so all those involved in these important groups are urged to watch for related emails and social media posts.
2. For the time being, the GCAC staff is working remotely. Anyone in need of immediate arts-related assistance is welcome to contact Kathy Beachler, executive director of GCAC, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send staff a Facebook message to the Garrett County Arts Council, The Gallery Shop, or the Oakland or Grantsville Arts & Entertainment District pages. Phone messages to the GCAC office phone (301-334-6580) will be checked routinely.
3. The Gallery Shop on Second Street in Oakland will operate Monday through Friday on a “by appointment only” basis. There will be no Saturday or Sunday appointments available. Appointments for artists to bring in their work or for patrons to shop can be made by contacting Rachel Precht, The Gallery Shop manager, at email@example.com. Please give Rachel 24 hours notice prior to your desired appointment time.
4. When staff members are at the office and The Gallery Shop, they will be disinfecting all surfaces thoroughly and routinely.
Now onto more cheery arts news! During this time, the GCAC is working hard to continue to provide resources and support to our artists, grantees, and arts patrons. Check out the GCAC Facebook page for daily art challenges and activities! Post photos of your own “stay-at-home” artwork or videos of your family music jams to the GCAC or Arts District pages! Show us what you are inspired to create as we weather this storm.
A fun activity the GCAC is promoting regularly is #ARTaDayChallenge from the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts (WCMFA). Art exploration doesn’t have to stop when you leave the museum! There is a new #ARTaDayChallenge each day on the museum’s website (wcmfa.org/art-classes/art-a-day-challenge/), which is being shared on the GCAC Facebook page. When you complete a challenge, share your creation online and tag the @GarrettCountyArtsCouncil! Used the hashtag #seymourgarrettcountyart and encourage others to continue arts education at home.
Other arts online excursions and activities are being made available from museums and organizations worldwide. Jump into these sites for some art fun:
• For a fantastic field trip on your laptop, go to Paris, France, and see renowned works of art at The Louvre: www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne.
• Some great crafts and other art projects for kids can be found at www.allkidsnetwork.com.
• For aspiring musicians, take a look here: usiclab.chromeexperiments.com/Experiments
• Three free weeks of Maker Stations are available to keep your children creating at home. Each challenge includes simple instructions using materials around the house, QR code video resources, and a student recording sheet. Go to bit.ly/freemakerstations.
• We can’t forget the writers and readers! This site offers an engaging reading game for kids in grades 2-8 that combines strategy, engagement, and imaginative reading passages to create a fun, curriculum-aligned literacy game at https://www.squigglepark.com/dreamscape.
• Dancers out there! You matter, too! All you movers and shakers, go to movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts at www.gonoodle.com.
• Hey, musicians! Introductory and intermediate music theory lessons, exercises, ear trainers, and calculators are all available at www.musictheory.net.
• An online curriculum with the purpose of building better writers can be found at www.noredink.com.
These are just a few online resources available. We will continue to research more, and you may always contact us for information. We will work hard to find what you need to continue making art. In the meantime, we suggest getting out your paints, your colored pencils, your crayons, clay, fabrics — whatever inspires you. Create some art. Play your piano. Sing with your family. Keep a journal. Write a poem. Have a dance-off in your living room. Engage in some culinary art in the kitchen. And then send us pictures and videos of your accomplishments!
We know our Garrett County community — and the arts community — are being hit hard by this unforeseen situation. The Garrett County Arts Council Board of Directors and staff thank you for your patience and understanding during the time, and hope you stay safe and well. We are keeping in touch with the Maryland State Arts Council leadership, which is also driven to do whatever possible to support our state’s wonderful artist community. We wish everyone well, and look forward to the time when we may all freely gather again.