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Arts and culture could look different once coronavirus pandemic ends

Arts organizations in the DC area are preparing for what art and culture may look like after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

WASHINGTON — Arts organizations in the D.C. area are preparing for what art and culture may look like after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

“Arts has always been for us the thing that brings communities together,” Kristi Maiselman said. “I think that’s what we need now more than ever.”

The coronavirus pandemic has brought traditional arts to a screeching halt as exhibitions are closed and shows are postponed or canceled.

Maiselman is the Executive Director at Cultural D.C. She believes when the COVID-19 crisis is over, the arts will likely look different.

“I think the visual and performing arts will see differences,” she said.

Maiselman explained visual art shows and exhibits might move toward ticketed and timed entry to limit the size of crowds. She said some artists are already beginning to create work that reflects what is happening in the world during the pandemic.

“The performance art is different because we don’t yet know what that will look like. You can see we’re only going to use the theater at half capacity, but you have to think about the patron experience,” she added. “I don’t know that people are going to feel comfortable going back to the theater anytime soon.”

“A lot of times when you hear about funding the arts and the humanities, sometimes you hear it is the first thing to go,” Andrea Carroll-McNeil said. “It is also the thing that gets us through these times.”

Carroll-McNeil oversees the grant program at Humanities D.C.

She said the organization is funding multiple documentaries to capture the human experience in D.C. even during the pandemic.

“It’s our history, what’s going on psychologically – all of those things,” Carroll-McNeil explained.

Both organizations said one of the biggest changes to arts and culture post-pandemic will be more digital projects and virtual experiences.

“We’ll now be able to showcase video in a different way,” Carroll-McNeil said.

“There have certainly been people who have been working in the virtual world for some time, but I think we’re going to see more of that,” Maiselman said.

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