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Keeping The Arts Going In Leland

The Leland Cultural Arts Center has become a home for artists of all stripes. The annual Spring Art Market has been moved online, which seemd like a brilliant idea to us. The community built there is strong and we wanted to reach out and talk about all the ways the LCAC has adapted. Cultural Arts Manager, Jules Scott; Arts Administrative Supervisor, Allison Hensley; and Arts Administrative Assistant Kirsti Armstrong answered all our questions.

How did you arrive at the decision to go virtual?

With everything being cancelled or postponed right now, our staff had an in-depth conversation about how to proceed with our annual Spring Art Market. We wanted to make a decision that really supported our artist community. Not knowing when people would be allowed or comfortable to gather in large groups again made a virtual art market seem like the right thing to do.

Are you following a model you’ve seen of other online community city art markets or are you developing plan on your own?

It is always a great idea to see what is already out there and what worked (or did not) for other organizations. But we really went all in with a plan that made the most sense for our community.

What have been the challenges and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenge was going from the idea of having a large, in-person event to changing gears and gathering all the pieces to make an online market work.

Aside from simply being able to still hold the market, what are some other advantages of holding it online?

One of biggest benefits is that we can reach people who may not be in our area to attend the event. Social media has a reach that goes far beyond the walls of the center.

How has the learning curve been? What have you learned doing this that will help you even once things go back to normal?

The learning curve has mostly been in finding the best way to utilize social media to keep our whole community connected, engaged, and informed. We have always tried to keep up with trends and track what works best for our followers on our social media pages, but this quarantine has really pushed us to find different ways to accomplish our goals. One of which is being able to hold this Virtual Spring Art Market!

Can you speak to the way the LCAC staff and volunteers and artist community have been dealing with the closure of the building? Is the community staying in touch in other ways?

The closure of the Arts Center has changed how our staff works and the projects we are tackling. One of the best things about working at the Center is our close relationship to the community. We are using this time to tackle some large projects and planning for what we can offer our community now and when our doors reopen. Social Media has been an important part of how we stay connected to everyone.

How have artists been collaborating, if they have? What platforms or technologies have worked best?

Artists around the world have been offering free or low-cost workshop opportunities for people to take during this time. There are many artist that use Instagram live, Facebook live for the free workshops. Since the host can approve participants in Zoom meetings, that platform has been used for more of the small fee-based workshops. All technologies have been used for different reasons and they are all keeping us connected and creative during this strange time.

What has the community learned that will help going forward?

We have all learned how much we really depend on each other. Whether it is sharing what is keeping our spirits up, teaching a skill, or being able to take a virtual tour of a faraway place to escape for a moment, we all have something that connects us to each other even in a time of distance.

How has the LCAC been reaching out to the community and what is the importance of that? Can you speak to the importance of art when things are scary and unsure? Both for children and adults?

We have been reaching out to the community by providing engaging art-related content on our social media accounts. Between LCAC staff and the Parks and Recreation staff at the Town of Leland, we have been gathering different resources to share with our community as well as checking in on how folks are doing and what they are up to. Right now, the world is really seeing the importance of art on our daily lives. Art gives us an escape as well as an outlet for expression. Whether you are creating or enjoying art, you do not have to be a professional to enjoy the benefits. You can paint in your own home, do a dance on Tik Tok, or enjoy your favorite TV show and in every aspect, you are taking in art. Art can help us through unpredictable times no matter your age.

How does exercising our creativity help now?

Exercising our creativity is just like exercising the body. Being creative has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. Right now we all can be feeling a mixture of these and doing something as simple as a craft can have positive effects on the mind.

What about the LCAC and the community around it since its beginnings has come into play now to help deal with the difficult times? What have you learned in the past that is helping now?

We have learned that we have an amazing artistic community and it is through their support that we are able to do what we do. Right now we are working on different ways to support them until we can open our doors and get classes and events rolling again.

Keeping in touch and connected with the lLeland arts community online is easier and more important than ever. Here’s how:


Instagrarm: @lelandart

Twitter: @lelandarts

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