While the spread of COVID-19 has forced the space to temporarily close its doors, IX Art Park — a non-profit immersive art space located in Downtown Charlottesville — is continuing to share art and inspire creativity with a slew of virtual programs. Featuring an outdoor art park adorned with colorful murals and two whimsical indoor interactive art spaces, the magic of IX Art Park brings the Charlottesville community together to celebrate and engage directly with art of all kinds. During the year, IX Art Park offers a number of events for Charlottesville residents such as art and nature camps, free concerts, Winter farmer’s markets, weekly salsa dancing and silent discos.
One of their spring online programs will include a daily arts education series called “The Daily Creature,” led by teaching artist and IX Art Park Education Director Joe Vena. The series will consist of 30-minute episodes, each centering around a particular animal. The episodes will share exciting art project tutorials, fascinating facts and stories. The aim of this program is to provide families with resources so that children can continue to enjoy arts education while schools are closed. The first episode of “The Daily Creature” was released Monday at 2 p.m., ton the IX Art Park Facebook page. While “The Daily Creature” is tailored for children ages six through 12, IX Art Park is working on other arts education programs for all ages.
In addition to art, IX Art Park recently collaborated with Kendall Street Company on a concert livestream which aired March 21. This livestream, which is now available to view on YouTube, is the first installment of Kendall Street Company’s “Containment Entertainment” series. The concert was live from IX Art Park’s indoor immersive art museum called The Looking Glass. The rock band played their music in The Looking Glass’s “enchanted forest,” a captivating space that resembles a playful wonderland, complete with murals of tropical leaves spotted with ladybugs and suspended plants cascading around the musicians. Violet, red, green and blue colored lights accompanied the music and created a dreamy atmosphere.
Although the Kendall Street Company concert live from The Looking Glass was a great success, whether or not IX Art Park will host another concert depends on funding, according to Danielle Bricker, the marketing manager of IX Art Park.
“Part of our mission is to provide fair compensation to all the artists who work with us. In our normal operations, that typically takes the form of a large percentage of ticket sales going to the artists,” Bricker said. “For free live streams, we need to rely on public donations via the donate button on our website.”
It is no question that transitioning to online programming has been a challenge for IX Art Park.
Bricker expresses that funding is a significant obstacle, not just for hosting concert live streams but to run a smooth production in general. “We need to be able to secure the equipment necessary to produce high quality digital content and to pay our staff,” Bricker said.
While Charlottesville residents, like many people across the world, are facing difficult and uncertain situations, organizations like IX Art Park are working to provide even just a sliver of comfort and a spark of creativity and imagination until they can invite the community to their space again. Until then, one thing remains true — art has the power to inspire and connect people, no matter how far away they may be.