Artists, musicians find unique ways to stay afloat during pandemic

Local

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It has been more than a year since the Civic Center and other art organizations were forced to temporarily close their doors due to the pandemic.

As things return to a new normal, we’re looking back on the impact that COVID-19 has had on fine arts.

“It’s been quite a wild ride honestly,” said Susan Webb, with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.

The pandemic hit the fine arts community hard in Oklahoma City.

“We were closed for three months,” said Tom Farris, of Exhibit C Gallery.

Throughout 2020 and into this spring, organizations and businesses like the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and art galleries did all they could to still provide their patrons with the fine arts they want, but in a safe way.

“We’ve done a virtual reality walk through, where we build the gallery in a virtual space and it allows people to go around and virtually walk through it,” said Farris.

The Philharmonic offered streaming options as well.

“The live experience is just hard to beat,” said Webb

The OKC Phil is slated to put on live concerts the next three weekends. Performance durations have been cut in half from two hours to one and they are limiting patrons to only 1/3 house capacity.

Musicians are required to social distance on stage and off.

“It’s just been a lot of flexing and changing and adapting,” said Webb.

At Exhibit C, Tom Farris put on “Music for the Great Sun,” a world-renowned bead and glass exhibition. It was their first big in-person show since the pandemic started.

“We have a decent sized facility so people can spread out. People are trying to get out to see it and they are excited and we are excited to see them,” said Farris.

Leaders from the performing and visual arts agree the pandemic has taught them a lot.

“Hopefully, this has given people some more appreciation for what art brings to their lives,” said Farris.

Tom Farris says online sales have helped keep the gallery and his artists afloat.

Webb says many of their patrons have keep their season tickets intact, basically donating the money to the Philharmonic.  She says the customer service reps have become IT specialists, helping patrons make sure they know how to access the streaming concerts.

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