By Matthew Lewis, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – The Arts Garage has been a cornerstone of live music shows and art exhibits in Delray Beach since 2011, and they have stayed active even amidst the coronavirus closures with the Grassroots Gallery ‘Artists In Quarantine’ group show and almost forty ‘From Our HeARTs to Your Homes’ series performances.
On June 16th, they announced the Grassroots Gallery was open Tuesday through Friday 12PM to 6PM, but yesterday (June 25th) adjusted access to be by appointment only and limited to groups of three.
Marjorie Waldo, President and CEO of the Arts Garage explained, “We will do everything possible to do the right things at the right times. We appreciate our patrons’ patience as we reschedule shows and plan for our future.”
The ‘Artists In Quarantine’ exhibit features paintings, sculpture, photography and video by local artists. The show explores how enforced social isolation and unfamiliar boundaries – visible and not – have affected the creative process and art production.
Ms. Waldo shares, “The public’s response to Artists in Quarantine has been incredibly positive, and the artists and Art Curator, Anna Visnitskaya, have done multiple tours of the exhibit. Seeing the pandemic through the eyes of our community’s artists is moving.”
“Because of the pandemic, we have had significantly less visitors than we would normally have which is why we have added a gallery for people to view the art safely from their own homes. The public can learn more about the artists and view their work [online]. You can even purchase a piece on line and we will provide curbside delivery!”
Adding, “Our next exhibit, scheduled for August, calls for artwork communicating the artists’ experiences as Black Americans in 2020. The exhibit will be a multi-artist exhibit, and interested artists can apply [online also].”
The Arts Garage has also been busy producing the virtual series “From our HeARTs to your homes” featuring live concerts, art classes, comedy and more. Waldo shares, “We have produced and released three performances a week of the ‘From Our HeARTs to Your Homes’ series since March 27th, so 39 in total as of yesterday!”
She explains how it has come together. “When we conceptualized the series, we weren’t sure if performers would be willing to donate their performances. We believe in treating our artists with respect, paying each of them for their talent, but in the midst of COVID-19, we just weren’t able to do that.”
“We could not have been more humbled by the willingness of the artists in our region to participate in this program. Everyone donated their time. Everyone,” she exclaimed. “Several of the performers have even come back to perform multiple times.”
In terms of what will happen next given the surging COVID-19 cases in Florida. “Planning during the midst of this pandemic is tough. We have already changed our internal policies to ensure that we reduce the risk of transmitting the virus, and we have a plan in place for reduced seating capacity for shows.”
“But until we see how long the spikes continue, and how long before we are included in Phase 2 of Florida’s reopening, we are unable to anticipate when our next in person shows will be.”
At the moment the next live performance scheduled at the Arts Garage is Peace of Woodstock on July 25th. Everyone is hoping that the coronavirus spread can be contained by then, and the County can reach the Phase 2 reopening.
The Arts Garage is a non-profit organization and multi-disciplinary performing arts venue, dedicated to providing relevant and accessible arts experiences to Delray Beach and all of South Florida.
The cultural hub presents Grammy award-winning musicians, theatre, arts education and outreach programs, and a spacious visual art gallery that displays emerging local talent.
* This article was updated on June 30th to correct that the next live performance for July 25th.