On March 12th, Morris Arts was planning to open its exciting new exhibit at their office space gallery, The Gallery at 14 Maple in Morristown. But they say timing is everything. So, as luck would have it, they decided to postpone the opening due to concerns around Covid-19. On March 13th, the office sadly closed its doors temporarily - as did the gallery. With a deeply disappointed group of artists and fans to address, the organization quickly set about trying to find an alternative way to meet the needs of the community!

That was when they realized they would have to adopt a virtual approach, not only to the exhibit, but to everything within the entire organization.

From board meetings via Zoom to signature events like their Arts in Education Showcase, Morris Arts was prepared to adapt in order to their fulfill mission of “building community though the arts.” 

They started the process with their virtual art exhibit. https://www.morrisarts.org/2020/03/27/vanishing-worlds-virtual-gallery/

While the original “live” version was intended to launch on March 12th, they were miraculously able to get a virtual exhibit up and running within just seven to ten days! Fortunately the show’s curator had taken professional quality photos of every item. As a result, they were able to create a platform that offered functionality and design, displaying the art and adding information regarding the artists themselves. Visitors can view the entire exhibit at their leisure, sorting by artist or by item, and can download the full exhibit catalogue.    

Recognizing that this same type of approach would be effective across the organization, they began to quickly plan for other virtual events in response to the challenges of COVID-19.

Their Arts in Education Showcase was next on the list.

The teaching artists who participate in this highly regarded series agreed to provide links to video so that each of them could be featured rather than in the typical live theater setting. This platform was also accomplished quickly, taking about two weeks to develop and launch in order to keep the momentum going. https://www.morrisarts.org/2020/04/04/morris-arts-aie-programs-online/

With a commitment to provide unique artistic experiences and uphold their mission, Morris Arts’ leadership embraced the concept of combining online opportunities with social media to feature the performances of local artists. Acknowledging the importance of linking to past performances, they also wanted to be sure to offer current activities. Tapping into their vast network of performing artists, they are able to leverage their connections they had previously nurtured through signature programs like Music Beyond Borders and Meet Me in Morristown to identify artists who are performing virtually. Some, like a terrific singer/song writer in the area, are going live right from their own living room!  

As the challenge of social distancing continues, Morris Arts will reinforce their commitment to building communities through the arts – doing whatever it takes to serve the community and to deliver a beautiful experience to all.