Cultural Center goes virtual to adapt to COVID

Staff Written News

By Trinity Martin

Staff Writer

Months ago, when the world began to seemingly stop in the face of a pandemic, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center was forced to close its doors after the virus hit. But they took this hit and ran with it. After taking appropriate safety precautions and closing down March 15, the institution made it its mission to serve the community digitally.

“The arts are positive and healing and that’s what we need right now,” said Kim Brown, executive director.

With the help of a grant from the Community Foundation of Atlanta, the center will soon able to launch a $16,000 website redesign to meet the new challenges the virus has created. Elizabeth Moore, a marketing specialist and graphic designer at the center, said the website will  be more user-friendly and include perks such as a “gallery guide.” 

The redesign gives the center the ability to establish its “Performing Arts at Home” in an efficient way. After hosting a virtual tea party via Zoom, the staff of the institution knew they had the abilities to keep virtual entertainment running. 

“So many people have been sheltering in place,” said Moore. “We needed to create a way to have a greater exposure to the arts.”

 The new site will give users that opportunity with features such as virtual galleries and videos of performances and museum tours. The center isn’t wasting any time jumping in. There will be a new gallery posted to the website just nine days after its release. The virtual display will highlight Cynthia Perryman’s oil paintings. Perryman attended art school at Agnes Scott before furthering her education at Georgia State. She now travels the world, painting in France and the south. Her featured gallery is titled “Lambs to Lilies” and will launch July 10.

 Although the paintings can’t be viewed in person, the center’s staff believes the virtual experience will still be something moving and beautiful. Brown said the main goal for this gallery is to create a greater awareness about the arts. The gallery is not only going to be pulling in the typical visitors of the cultural center, but new people as well, because of the ease of online viewing. The gallery tour will start with an interview between Perryman and Mitzi Prochnow, a committee member. From there, the artwork will be shown and up for sale. 

The Cultural Center plans to have a “soft” reopening in August with appropriate guidelines and safety precautions, but said the virtual programs are there to stay. Ideas for other virtual galleries are already starting to come about, and staff members at the Cultural Center are excited for the physical and virtual galleries to coincide. For now, the center is “erring on the side of caution.” Brown said, but assures they are “staying on top of things.” She emphasized concern for the public. “We want people to know how much we miss doing what we do,” she said. 

Through the combination of these virtual displays and future in-person exhibitions, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center will continue to encourage the arts within the community and will be equipped to weather the current trials presented by the current pandemic and any future challenges. 

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