For immediate release
April 14, 2020
New Port Richey Florida — The West Pasco Art Guild (WPAG), a 501c3 nonprofit community of artists, has pivoted to online activities in the wake of the global pandemic. With shelter-in-place guidelines, we quickly transitioned to virtual events,” exclaims Stacey Selleck, WPAG Communications Director. “Our artists’ exhibit, “A Salute to Old Masters,” had been hung in the gallery but no one got to see it since the reception was cancelled and the Guild closed temporarily due to Coronavirus.” Because we wanted others to be able to enjoy the talents exhibited in the show, Selleck went to the Gallery and recorded an improptu virtual tour then posted it to social media”. You may also view a more polished tour with commentary from Darla Nolan here: SALUTE TO OLD MASTERS VIRTUAL TOUR.
Selleck added, “There’s an inherent peace in the creation and viewing of art that we felt important to share with the community during this difficult time.”
As Digital Director of U.S. Term Limits (termlimits.com), Selleck is familiar with working remotely in a distributed workspace. Since becoming a member of the Guild in October, she implemented an online payment processing functionality and electronic email subscriptions for a weekly email newsletter. She also set up the WPAG Board with a collaborative workspace to share important documents and calendars online instead of the old-fashioned hardcopy paper method that was the norm in a group composed primarily of senior citizen members. Selleck also set up and trained the Board to continue governing and planning using Google Hangouts for online meetings.
“It certainly is a transition that requires patience and understanding in order to help our members get online. With the help of Helen Hanley, our treasurer, we were able to train older members to successfully participate in the new virtual environment,” says Selleck.
Two Guild members, Marilyn Wescott and Tricia Commons also jumped into creating art training videos to encourage our members to keep on “arting.” Neither had ever created videos before yet both are cranking art lesson videos out and have made them available to the public on the new WPAG youtube channel. Selleck had recorded a feature workshop with nationally acclaimed watercolor artist, Joye Moon in February, and Moon generously allowed the Guild to post the training session online for viewers to watch free of charge.
Local watercolor artist Lionel Sanchez was in the middle of teaching a 6-week drawing course at the studio in New Port Richey when the virus struck. He and his wife started recording drawing lessons using his iPhone. These tutorials and practice assignments were made available to the registered members of his class. Selleck hosted a Zoom training session for his students and scheduled Sanchez’s first online class for registered students this Sunday, April 19th.
Member Christine Cooke, a resident who had to return to Canada before the border closed, is one of the administrators of the Guild’s new “members only” facebook group created so that members may stay in close contact and continue to be inspired by each other while social distancing. The group’s public facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/pascoartguild/.
Future plans include online membership meetings, an online store of member art, and more paid and free online courses. “We’re trying to ramp up as quickly as possible knowing that hosting more virtual events will be the ‘new norm’, for our Guild,” says Selleck. A former USF continuing education corporate graphic design and web trainer, Selleck also plans to create digital courses to teach artists how to bring their art and classes online.
Lastly, the Guild initiated a call to artists to participate in a virtual art show commemorating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd. Submissions are due by April 20th and may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for inclusion. The art may be any media but must relate to the environment in some way. You may find out more information on the West Pasco Art Guild web site here: https://westpascoartguildandgallery.org/call-to-artists-virtual-earth-day-art-show/.
The West Pasco Art Guild is a 501c3 nonprofit artist community located in New Port Richey Florida since 1963.