The Art Center of the Bluegrass will begin a phased re-opening on Monday, June 2nd, after an eleven-week closure due to COVID-19. “We are so excited to once again open our doors to the public and welcome visitors back into the building,” says Executive Director Niki Kinkade.
As of Tuesday, June 2nd, the Art Center will be open for supply pickups for classes, camps, and online purchases. The retail Gift Gallery will also be open. The Gift Gallery includes a curated selection of hand-crafted artwork, including ceramics, small paintings, stationary, and jewelry. The Gift Gallery also houses art kits for children and Art Center merchandise like t-shirts and hats. The Art Center will also continue to offer limited online shopping for Gift Gallery items, with curbside pickup available to those who wish to limit their contact.
Starting June 9th, the Art Center will welcome visitors to an all-new exhibit. Open to Interpretation is an invitational abstract exhibit featuring paintings, glass, and mixed-media artwork by regional artists. The exhibit will also be available online through a digital gallery. In addition to the exhibit, visitors to the Art Center can explore the building with a self-guided audio tour. Artist-in-residence studios will be open, but visitor should ask permission before entering.
“The safety of our staff and visitors is our top priority,” says Kinkade. She explains that the Art Center’s “healthy at work” plan includes the installation of hand-sanitizing stations throughout the building and increased cleaning procedures. All staff will wear masks when interacting with the public, and visitors are asked to wear a mask whenever they are inside the building.
Although the building has been closed since March, the Art Center’s programming barely slowed down during the closure – it just changed format. “Artists are innovators,” says Kinkade, “and I think that has been particularly evident as our team has adapted to the new realities of art during social distancing.” From video tutorials for rock painting and drawing cats to free art projects distributed via the Art Box to online classes in drawing, painting, and mosaics, the Art Center has continued to meet its mission of connecting people to art, culture, and creativity.
Even as the building re-opens, the Art Center plans to continue offering online programming through the summer. “We recognize that many people may be hesitant to resume in-person classes and we want to be sure that we are following best practices regarding small gatherings,” says Kinkade. All kids programs will remain online or in take-home format for the summer, including art camps, themed art crates, and classes. Lisi’s Art Lab – the children’s art studio located on the 2nd floor of the building – will remain closed through the summer. The Art Center plans to use the Art Box as its primary vehicle for free kids programming, with literacy-themed art kits taking the place of the projects and activities typically available in Lisi’s Art Lab.
Kinkade says that the organization will consider offering a few in-person classes for adults later in the summer, but will also continue to offer online classes, including colored pencil drawing, pen and ink drawing, mosaics, and arts appreciation.