Amid pandemic, Arkansas Arts Center creates innovative online art classes

Museum School partners with local business to offer students curbside pickup for art supplies

A creative team of artists and instructors at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School have found new ways to offer art-making and learning opportunities online during this time of social distancing.

An imaginative schedule of classes will be held via video-conferencing platform Zoom. Class offerings include ceramics, painting, drawing, color theory and sculpture along with theatre classes for both youth and adults. The Museum School’s popular Business of Art Series will continue virtually, with opportunities to explore ethics, copyright, social media and more. Moving art-making experiences out of the studios and into students’ living rooms also offers new opportunities to explore the home environment through still life or sculpture. Theatre classes for youth will offer a structured environment for families to explore together without leaving their homes as well as opportunities for teens to explore plays, musical theatre and digital storytelling.

For classes that require specific supplies, the Museum School has partnered with local art supply store, Art Outfitters, to create supply kits that will be available for curbside pickup at the store’s downtown Little Rock location.

The Museum School’s spring quarter classes were canceled for the safety of students, faculty and AAC staff following guidance from public health officials. But the Arkansas Arts Center is committed to remaining connected to its community during this time.

“These are unprecedented times,” Executive Director Victoria Ramirez said, “but the Arts Center is an important piece of our community’s creative life. Amid uncertainty, we will always find a way to make space for art and creativity. Our connection to the arts is the very thing that reminds us of our humanity and resilience.”

Online class offerings are being introduced at a lower in price point and in a shorter time frame than standard Museum School offerings – making them perfect for those who are new to art-making or the Museum School.

“In uncertain times, the arts are vital – the artists and instructors in the Museum School are very conscious of that,” said Rana Edgar, Director of Education and Programs. “We knew it was essential for us to find a way to continue being a place for our community to come together – even virtually – to have new experiences or hone new skills.”

Registration for online classes is open now. Classes begin April 20 and will run for four weeks.

The Arkansas Arts Center is committed to offering engaging arts experiences online while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health authorities recommend social distancing.  The Arts Center has also launched a new Facebook group, Arkansas Arts Center Amplified, to feature artist demonstrations, highlights of artworks from the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, Children’s Theatre performances and episodes of “Our Work Continues,” an original web series developed by the center.

Following guidance from the City of Little Rock and public health officials, the Arkansas Arts Center’s Riverdale location is closed until further notice. The Arts Center will continue to provide updates about future programming in the coming weeks.

Arkansas Arts Center programs are supported in part by: Arkansas Arts Center Foundation; City of Little Rock; City of North Little Rock; Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau; and the Arkansas Arts Council, a division of Arkansas Heritage, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Museum School is supported by The Dorothea Lawrence Gilbert Fund for Art Enrichment and Outreach and LaRand Thomas.