First Friday events are among the most popular summer happenings for galleries and arts organizations all over the metro area. Which means that even though they were going to look different, Lakewood’s 40 West Arts district had to keep them going in some form during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s important to reach out to our community and provide an opportunity for artists to show their work while maintaining safety,” said Liz Black, 40 West executive director. “Our August First Friday is normally a big one for us, so we spent some time reflecting on the best way to utilize that opportunity.”
What the district came up with is a partnership with local artist Adrienne DeLoe, who recently launched her Pandemic Self Portraits project on Facebook to share stories during this unusual time.
“I wanted to create a space for people to share, through self-portraits, what they are going through as we navigate through this difficult time,” she explained in a statement. “I was thinking about what my experience through all of this would look like as depicted in a self-portrait. Although it’s complicated and can’t be summed up in one image, it has been interesting to explore experience through self-portrait.”
From 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7, DeLoe will be taking over 40 West’s social media to share some of her work, and participants are invited to submit their own work and share their stories, as well as reconnect with their artistic community.
“We knew Adrienne was doing this project, which we thought was really timely and really relevant, and we thought it would make for a really powerful event,” Black explained. “And if people aren’t able to log on during the event, they are available online after the fact.”
While this approach isn’t what 40 West had planned for the summer, they’ve still found ways to remain creative and active during the pandemic. And Black said its important to remember that artists are both entrepreneurs and small businesses, and they (and organizations that support them) need support now more than ever.
“We’ve been trying to figure out the new normal and what kind of activities are the best fit for the community, while also reflecting what the country and world are going through,” Black said. “We’ve realized there’s a potential avenue to do different kinds of virtual events indefinitely, even after the restrictions have lifted.”
To participate in the virtual First Friday, visit the events page on www.facebook.com/40WestArts.
Colorado Black Arts Festival celebrates in digital form
This year’s Colorado Black Arts Festival will be going virtual this year to be safe during the COVID pandemic. The event’s aim is to develop, promote and celebrate African arts and culture in Colorado.
The virtual event will be at held at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7 through Sunday, Aug. 9. Previous years have included everything from live music and community arts projects to film and youth activities, and organizers are working to capture that same excitement in digital form.
Visit www.colbaf.org for details on the festival and how to participate.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week - Björk live from Harpa Hall
Björk’s otherworldly vocal stylings and music are one of the best soundtracks I can think of for the absolutely mental times we’re all living through right now. She can be soothing, disturbing or both blended together if she wants to. So much about what she does is absolutely transcendent.
Now the artist is partnering with Icelandic Airwaves for a trilogy of livestreamed performances at Reykjavík’s Harpa Hall to raise money for domestic women’s charities worldwide. The performances will be at 11 a.m. on Aug. 9, 15 and 23.
In addition to raising money, the performances will be a celebration of the Icelandic musicians Björk has worked with over the years, including members of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, Flute Septet Viibra and Hamrahlíð Choir. Each concert will be unique and not to be missed.
Visit https://dice.fm/ for details.
Streaming style - Corporate
Sometimes if you lean into the darkness… like, really far into the darkness, you can find some serious laughs. That’s the idea behind Comedy Central’s “Corporate,” which mines the ridiculous depths of the corporate world for hilarious and harrowing gems.
Created by Pat Bishop, Matt Ingebretson, and Jake Weisman, the show takes viewers to fictional multinational corporation Hampton DeVille. As the characters endure their lives of mindless drudgery, they find fleeting glimpses of joy in antics, hobbies and time away from the office. The cast all bring their A-game, but special note should be made of Anne Dudek and the legendary Lance Reddick, both of whom knock it out of the park on the regular.
The series’ final season is currently airing, and you can also catch up with the previous two seasons on Comedy Central. Catch it while you can.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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