Community is everything at BAYarts
BAYarts' initial (optimistic) response to the COVID-19 news was to remain open – a request by many students and families – even if local schools closed, providing a sanctuary for the community to gather. But of course, as the information about the virus became more grim and restrictions were rolled out, the doors were closed and financial cuts had to be made with the hope that the organization will reopen on solid footing in time for the usual summer “Stay-cation” that locals have come to love.
This is where the true meaning of community shines: everyone, including (unpaid) staff members, faculty, board and volunteers have been devising ways to engage students and keep the community intact.
Projects such as Art to Go kits, connecting to through videos and chat groups, writing positive chalk messages around the campus and more – are keeping us connected in new ways. The annual juried show opening, traditionally attended by hundreds of artists and their guests each year, was cancelled, but can be seen virtually on BAYarts' social media and will remain open for an extended period (other shows have been rescheduled for later in the year). Students send photos of what they are working on, stay in touch with their teachers and drop notes of support and encouragement to the staff every day.
For now, the future is uncertain, but BAYarts has been around since 1948, the phoenix that keeps rising from the ashes and will be around for years to come. In times like these, community is everything.