by Judi Johnson, CCA Marketing Coordinator
Having worked at Chandler Center for the Arts for twenty-five years, I can say that 2020 has been unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. Almost overnight, the way we do things at the Center was completely turned upside down and perhaps forever changed.
We were only two weeks out from our annual member mixer, preparing to announce our new season, while being in the midst of our most successful season yet. Buddy Guy was en route (to perform to a sold out audience) and his band had already loaded in when we got word that we would need to close our venue. Artists were contacted, concerts were rescheduled and contingency plans were created to be prepared for when we were going to reopen.
This led to many discussions on the technical infrastructure we currently had in place and what we were going to need in order to continue delivering the arts to the community, at a time when people needed to feel connected even more.
We created partnerships with arts organizations and artists to bring online concerts into homes and educational programing to schools. To date, there have been 37 free performances that have been watched more than 20,000 times and we have reached more than 220,000 people on social media in conjunction with the virtual concert series. That is a lot of people who got to experience music, but also 37 artists who were able to work.
During the month of November, more than 3,000 students had the opportunity to attend a virtual field trip with Black Violin; nearly all participants were from Title I schools or nonprofit organizations and participated at no charge.
Not bad considering we are “closed.”
The Vision Gallery also delivered its professionally taught art classes at no charge using Zoom. The Vision Gallery has been able to expand its capacity twice its normal numbers because it wasn’t confined to the walls of a classroom.
To continue the successful and safe delivery of programs in 2021, I am happy to say that the City of Chandler and Chandler Unified School District will join forces to make miracles happen for our community. To meet the rapidly evolving nature of live performance, the Center will be installing a new video system to improve live streaming capabilities for select events presented on our stages. It will give us many more ways to deliver arts programming and expand our reach into the community and beyond.
The arts are full of personal stories—big and small, always meaningful. The arts create community, connection, inspiration and hope. Consider making a gift to help us continue to create.