With everything happening in our world right now, there aren’t a lot of options going on outside of our homes. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t explore while safely in your homes self-isolating. The spring season normally blooms with a ton of artistic expression, and the global pandemic isn’t going to put a stop to that.
For many Philadelphia-area galleries, museums and stand-alone exhibits, this is a time to get creative and utilize technology and other tools to help Philadelphians still be entertained and wowed by everything the City of Sisterly Love has to offer.
Take Queens Village hotspot Paradigm for instance. The gallery recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary with their unique exhibit, “TEN” featuring works from 125 different artists who have presented at Paradigm over the years. With the recent pandemic in the midst however, the doors of this hotspot venue unfortunately had to close temporarily, but that doesn’t mean Philadelphians can’t enjoy everything Paradigm has to offer.
“We had to quickly figure out what to do within a digital space that could continue to provide visibility to the exhibition and its artists,” says Sara McCorriston Co-Owner of Paradigm Gallery + Studio. “Almost immediately we increased the number of detailed artwork images on our website and have launched a new blog initiative to stay connected to our audience as well [through] paradigmarts.org/blogs/news/until-further-notice.”
Paradigm is also utilizing social media through this uncertain time. “Stay tuned to our website and social channels for special and never-before-seen content, collaboratively created with our artists,” adds McCorriston. “Over the next few weeks, you’ll be able to find live artist Q&As, studio walkthroughs, artist-led creative tutorials and more. First up is an Instagram live tour and curator-led walkthrough of our TEN exhibition, planned for this Saturday at noon (@ParadigmGS). I feel especially lucky right now to live almost directly above the gallery, so I can still personally be there to share our exhibitions with our audience online, directly from the gallery.”
Those who follow Paradigm’s social media will also have a daily treat of artistic pleasure as well as other ways to utilize local businesses while social distancing.
“Each day, I post on the gallery’s social media to spotlight a particular small business or independent artist and how we can continue to support them,” says McCorriston. “I’ve also been posting a lot about self-care and usually these two initiatives are combined, like registering for and live-streaming a yoga class at Three Queens Yoga, one of the local studios in Queen’s Village. Years ago, I started a @Fabric_Row Instagram account for all of the businesses on our wonderful retail-filled street and having that has been especially helpful right now. Each day I repost how businesses in the area are doing and how people following along can help them survive this.”
This time is tumultuous, but it’s also an opportunity to showcase empathy and the strength of the human spirit by giving back, and being neighborly. Being the City of Sisterly Love, it is in our DNA.
“If you’re able to, please browse our collections online and add a piece that will bring you comfort at home to your collection,” says McCorriston. “Since I’m still able to be at the gallery, our shipments and deliveries are still right on schedule. Every purchase helps ensure that we can pay our artists, our staff and our rent while we’re closed. Like so many other people, artists saw months of projects fall through within a few days’ time, losing almost entire incomes that they were depending on. Purchasing their artwork is more important now than ever. We are also offering gift certificates online if you’d like to support the gallery financially now, but would like to choose a piece in person in the future.”
McCorriston also notes that there are other ways to help if you are not financially able at this time. Leaving positive feedback on Yelp or other online platforms or even by giving them a shoutout on social media can go a long way.
Paradigm is not the only venue in Philly offering virtual experiences:
The Clay Studio
Right before COVID-19, The Clay Studio opened up their exhibit Small Favors XV. The exhibit was only open for about a week before social distancing went into effect, but Philadelphians can still experience the exhibit online and even purchase some of the pieces from Small Favors XV, or check out items from their Shop Gallery, which span from mugs to vases and even t-shirts. Gift cards are also available for purchase and as an extra bonus, The Clay Studio will also be offering free shipping on any item until they reopen.
Da Vinci Art Alliance
To help #flattenthecurve Da Vinci recently announced that they will be launching their #DaVinciAtADistance Visual Program. According to the release, the program will share in-progress or recently completed works of art by DVAA Members to maintain a sense of social bonds outside of the gallery setting. By sharing all new member artwork on Instagram and Facebook, members will be able to enjoy unique works of art and share their own new works with members and the public. But there’s more—DVAA also will be offering 30% discounts for all new members now through July 1. Those interested can receive the discount by using the special code FIRSTTIME at checkout.
Philadelphia Magic Gardens
The Magic Gardens are beautiful in person, but there is now also a way to experience the magic of the Gardens virtually. Philadelphians can take an online tour to experience the wonders of the exhibit and make their day inside that much more special, or they can also take it a step further by downloading coloring pages and activity sheets to help get the creative juices flowing.