COVID-19 Anniversary: Voices in the Arts

The show goes on.
Photograph by Joesan Diche

Amy Behrens
Casa Romantica executive director

“I don’t think it would be smart to go back to the way things always were. People are so used to having so many modalities. … We were one of the first cultural organizations in Southern California to launch comprehensive virtual programming. We had a brand-new sub website up by March 22. In 2021, we’re planning to livestream a lot more. I think we have a greater understanding of how to bring in audiences. We’ll have more take-home kits and on-demand videos, for performances or arts education. We’ve always used a cellphone audio tour, and that helps because people are already sanitizing their own devices. We have a new tour, and we’ll continue to enhance that with more interactive exhibits.”

Farrell Hirsch
Muckenthaler executive director

“Aside from the bravery it takes to volunteer at one of the few live events in the state this year, our staff had to learn new skill sets concerning COVID-19 safety. Every single aspect of our routine was upended, from the way we sold tickets to the way audiences were placed to the way the restrooms were cared for. It was like relearning how to play baseball with a square ball. We take great pride in knowing we were able to do that safely, and legally, when it was most needed and most scarce. The 2021 season starts soon, and it’s a spectacular thank-you to our community for supporting what we have done this year.”

Casey Reitz
Segerstrom Center for the Arts president

“I was really proud that we were able to reopen and play by the rules. We reopened the Argyros Plaza in the fall, and we got eight performances in. We didn’t have any problems with people feeling unsafe. When there’s something we’re allowed to do, we do it. This staff has done an amazing job at taking the pandemic seriously and keeping people safe (while) staying good-humored. We’ve had to do it kind of on our own. The state hasn’t given us any guidelines about reopening. I think we’ve learned to be flexible. … We learned a lot about our value to the community. People reach out all the time telling us how much they can’t wait for the Center to reopen. That was validating to be reminded that what we do impacts people.”

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