Gathering is at the core of most art making and art sharing practices. As the public health crisis prevents most types of convening, the livelihood of many local artists and arts workers is in jeopardy. Over the months of April and May 2020, the Kingston Arts Council hosted a series of online discussions with the arts community. The YGK Arts Roundtables served as a space dedicated to the artists and arts workers of Kingston and area. These roundtables offered an opportunity to gather as a community, provide and seek support, and dream up new ways of making and sharing art.
I. Discipline-specific roundtables
The first series of YGK Roundtables was a series of 4 discipline-specific roundtables and 1 arts admin roundtable. Our conversations focused on these central questions:
1. What are the greatest challenges you and/or your organization are facing as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis?
2. How are you continuing to create and/or connect with your audiences and peers?
3. What resources have you found or created that you wish to share with others?
4. What further support do you need in order to manage through this challenging time?
1. YGK Arts Roundtable: Music community – Tuesday 7 April, 2:30-3:30pm with Megan Hamilton.
We invited the Kingston music community to join us for an online discussion, co-facilitated by local musician and public speaker Megan Hamilton.
2. YGK Arts Roundtable: Performance arts – Thursday 9 April, 2:30-3:30pm with Tracey Guptill.
We invited the Kingston performing arts community to join us for an online discussion, co-facilitated by local movement-based actor and multi-disciplinary collaborative creator Tracey Guptill.
3. YGK Arts Roundtable: Visual arts – Tuesday 14 April, 2:30-3:30pm with Danielle Folkerts.
We invited the Kingston visual arts community to join us for an online discussion, co-facilitated by local visual artist, art educator and arts coordinator Danielle Folkerts.
4. YGK Arts Roundtable: Literary arts – Thursday 16 April, 2:30-3:30pm with Sadiqa de Meijer.
We invited the Kingston literary arts community to join us for an online discussion, co-facilitated by local poet Sadiqa de Meijer.
II. COVID & the Arts
In May 2020, the Kingston Arts Council (KAC) facilitated three online roundtables with its arts community in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. These followed well-received roundtables offered in April with disciplinary groups (arts administrators, music, performing arts, visual arts, and literary arts). The goals of the YGK Arts Roundtables initiative were to:
– Reconnect with the arts community as a support organization and granting body;
– Reconnect artists and arts workers to their professional network;
– Gather information around what the arts community needs from the Kingston Arts Council;
– Encourage support and partnerships for existing/new projects;
– Create a space of honesty, warmth and creativity; and
– Provide an opportunity to affirm and strengthen peer support.
1. COVID & the Arts: Planning in Uncertain Times – Wednesday 13 May, 2-3pm
As the social distancing timeline remains blurry and we are forced to take things day by day, how do we deal with upcoming projects and programming? How do we decide when, and what to cancel or postpone? This roundtable was an opportunity to gather as a community and share our experiences with and strategies for planning in uncertain times.
2. COVID & the Arts: Financial Strategy – Wednesday 20 May, 2-3pm
As a result of social distancing measures, the way we plan for arts events and organizational operations has greatly evolved, as well as the way we build budgets for them. Now that ticket sales and fundraising proceeds are not guaranteed revenue lines, how do we budget for our arts operations, projects and programming? This roundtable was an opportunity to gather as a community and share our experiences with and strategies for reframing financial plans in response to the COVID crisis.
3. COVID & the Arts: Arts Apart – Wednesday 27 May, 2-3pm
Artists and arts workers around the world are faced with a whole new set of constraints and are having to adapt quickly to online platforms and distanced programming. In what ways has the public health crisis impacted the way art is created and shared? How can we adjust our practices for remote consumption? This roundtable was an opportunity to gather as a community and share our experiences with and strategies for navigating the online transition, and creating remote or distanced arts initiatives.