In-person art returns to Garden City Arts

Meghan Flynn
Julia Pate, left, works on adding shadows and highlights to the clouds on her painting during past a Blushing Artiste class at Garden City Arts. A few in-person classes are returning to GCA, with smaller numbers of participants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a few trial runs, some of the adult, in-person classes resumed at Garden City Arts in August.

Katy Guthrie, executive director of Garden City Arts, said they didn’t announce that classes were reopening because they wanted to make sure they could be done in a safe manner.

“The first class we only had six participants, but that was absolutely fine, because it gave us a good sense of how many we could fit in the space comfortably and safely,” she said. “We had three in-person classes in August and both went very well.”

So far only two adult programs have resumed in-person — Blushing Artiste and Acrylic Pour, Guthrie said. They’re the programs they were confident could be restarted safely.

The classes look different now than they did pre-COVID-19, Guthrie said. Teachers and participants are required to wear masks and everyone is at their own desk 6 feet apart.

Classes sizes have also shrunk, Guthrie said. Prior to COVID-19, they had more seating and up to 20 people per class.

“We're down to a maximum of eight to 10, so we cut our class sizes in half, and we're really making sure that everyone feels comfortable,” she said.

Additionally, instructors are encouraged to check with participants before approaching or handling supplies, Guthrie said. They want to make sure no one feels like their space is being invaded and that they feel safe.

In particular to the reopened classes, Blushing Artiste, a paint class, looks different in that refreshments are no longer offered and it is only held once a month.

Guthrie said Arcylic Pour has changed little, as it’s a class that feels like it was made in response to COVID-19.

“Everyone kind of works at their own pace and at their own station and does their own thing after a very quick demo,” she said.

Cleaning has also been stepped up in the classrooms, Guthrie said.

“All brushes are sanitized in between classes, that's why we don't have back-to-back classes anymore, to ensure that supplies are not being handled by the same person,” she said. “We're making sure that everyone has their own supplies. We also thoroughly clean surfaces that are heavy traffic areas, just to ensure everyone's safety.”

One big change to in-person classes is that pre-enrollment is now required, Guthrie said. Walk-ins are accepted if there is room, but with a limited class size, it’s unlikely.

“Pre-enrollment is strongly encouraged, they can do that on our website by calling the gallery or stopping by in person,” she said.

First Fridays have also resumed, Guthrie said.

“We will be continuing to do those until — hopefully forever — but until we feel like it's not safe,” she said. “We're definitely evaluating the situation as we go and keeping a strong eye on the climate and the circumstances in our area.”

Children’s and family art classes won’t resume until 2021, when Guthrie and the board of directors will a make a decision on whether to resume their normal programming or if they want to continue a balance of in-person and online programs.

Until then, the virtual classes and the art kits pick up events will continue, Guthrie said.

For fall, the special events for the Art Kit Pickups include pumpkin craft, which is replacing pumpkin painting, and a Dia de los Muertos celebration, which is usually a festival but this year will be online programming and a family box, which families have to sign up for in advance.

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