As our community navigates the challenges of living with COVID-19, one of the few joys has been the proliferation of online arts experiences that are available to anyone, anywhere, any time with just the click of a button.
Engaging in the arts is good for our mental health and our sense of belonging, and with the surge in online content, these experiences are becoming accessible to more of us during a time when we most need them.
Thanks to the support of a community of wonderful Canberra patrons, Belconnen Arts Centre’s Going the Distance program has embraced this leap into the digital world. Since May this year, the program has commissioned 10 local artists to create new digital projects which are available to view online for free.
Projects already available online include the cautionary tale of Tiddalik the Frog, a Wiradjuri story brought to life by Larry Brandy Aboriginal Storyteller. For kids and families, Lucky Jim has created six episodes of delightful musical fun in the form of Lucky Jim Live.
For visual art lovers, Alex Asch’s online exhibition, City State, invites viewers into a visceral experience of the isolation of COVID-19 lockdown through sculpture, animation and photo collage. Robbie Karmel invites audiences to expand their idea of what drawing can be through his series of playful sculptural experiments, Drawing Furniture.
For those with musical sensibilities or a love of history, Bec Taylor from the Bec Taylor School of Music takes audiences on a musical journey through the ages with her delightful piano sounds.
In light of the success of the first round of Going the Distance programming, and with continued support from the program’s patrons, five new projects have just been commissioned and will be released online between September and November this year.
“We’re so grateful to our community for coming on this creative journey with us,” says Belco Arts artistic director and co-CEO Monika McInerney. “Reimagining our programs for an online space has been challenging, but with the backing of our patrons, we’ve been able to support our community of artists to push their artistic boundaries, create new work and offer uplifting experiences to our local community at a time when it couldn’t be more important.”
Audiences looking to extend their online art fill will be treated to a virtual exhibition of sculptural works and animation from visual artist Mariana del Castillo, and a series of dance poetry podcast experiences to get the body moving from dancer and choreographer Eliza Sanders.
For anyone who needs a laugh as we continue to navigate these troubled times, comedy-folk darlings Sparrow-Folk will host an online karaoke singalong of all their greatest and most hilarious hits.
The people’s wine guru, Grace De Morgan, will present a series of videos for wine lovers of all stripes, adapted from her book and podcast, Everything Happens for a Riesling.
Finally, Canberra street icon Byrd will create a digital sketchbook documenting the process of mural painting from sketch to final artwork. It’s a must-see for anyone who wants to develop their own street art practice.