Creativity is their thing; so creative solutions are standard fare.

Despite the many pandemic-related challenges, Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture found ways to continue bringing art-related programming to the community. 

“We are busier than ever, even though our big events like Harvest the Arts and Art & Oysters have been postponed until next year,” said David Read, executive director of Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture.

Read said the organization had just hosted their “Luck o’ the Irish” fundraiser dinner at Justin’s Kitchen on March 15 and had a student art show scheduled at Yuba City High School just days later when everything was shut down due to the pandemic. 

“It broke our hearts, not to mention how devastating it was to the students, their families and the teachers,” said Read about having to cancel the student art show.

In an effort to make up for the canceled event, Read said they put together a video that showcased each piece of art in the show and shared it online. 

“Not the same, that’s for sure, but we learned that it could be done,” said Read. “Sometime after that experience, we knew we were all in this thing for the long run and it was ‘go virtual or be forgotten.’ We had come too far these past few years to let that happen.”

Not wanting to lose momentum, Read said the organization started looking for new virtual programming and ways to continue existing programs online.

Several programs, including Art Radio Today and a monthly open mic poetry event, have been “re-imagined” for online platforms in addition to the creation of several new programs like the weekly “Artist Alchemy” interviews, Poetry Square and the popular “Leadership Conversations” series. 

“In spite of all the hardships we have all faced, there is an upside,” said Read. “By making programming available on virtual social media platforms, we can engage with a much broader audience.”

Although most programming has been able to be reformatted to online format, Read said the organization’s Arts in Education programs have been cancelled this year but they have been working with the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento and the DeYoung Art Museum in San Francisco to create live virtual docent led tours of exhibits using grant funding that was originally supposed to be used to take these students on field trips to local art museums. 

“These will not be canned virtual tours, but actual live events,” said Read. 

And Read’s tip for success to other organizations looking to go virtual?

“Just do it! Don’t let your brand, your business, your non-profit or otherwise, die,” said Read. “You have worked hard to build your reputation for whatever it is that you do so don’t stop now. Figure it out, come up with a program idea and go for it.”


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