Arts Center adjusts to 'new normal'

Virtual classes have attracted new audiences.

Arts Center classes
Students are separated by clear partitions while participating in classes at the Arts Center. The protocol is part of safety measures implemented since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy / The Arts Center

By Bill Kennedy, For The Sun

Officials at The Arts Center in Jamestown say its patrons have helped the organization through challenging times.

“We have adjusted to the new normal,” said Mindi Schmitz, executive director. “Arts Center members have been really supportive during this difficult period.”

The pandemic affected The Arts Center early in 2020.

“Inevitably, class numbers in the gallery were down 25 to 30% in February and early March,” she said.


The Arts Center temporarily closed from mid-March through May. Despite that, it still found new audiences for its programming.

“Virtual art classes were offered beginning in April,” Schmitz said.

Artist in Residence Linda Roesch provided adult art classes and led the Arts After School Program for students in grades 3-6 via Zoom.

“Due to these changes in presentation methods, online and Zoom presentations, new people are taking advantage of the programs,” Schmitz said. “Attendees from California and across the country have participated.”

She said it's been positive for The Arts Center.

“We now know the way to reach new audiences,” Schmitz said. “Making our programming more accessible reaches folks not reached by The Arts Center before.”

The Arts Center is currently open to the public and has art exhibits on display.

“We are continuing to serve our community as safely as possible,” Schmitz said. “Changes have been made to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Central Valley Health District and Jamestown Public Schools."


Students are required to wear a mask during class in the Arts After School Program and the classroom space looks a bit different with plastic glass partitions separating them. Surfaces are regularly sanitized, hand sanitizer is provided throughout the building and social distancing is encouraged.

One of the first in-person adult classes to be offered in recent months will be Sourdough Bread Baking with Sue Balcom on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Capacity is limited, masks are required, and social distancing is expected.

Schmitz said The Arts Center continues to look for new messaging systems.

“The message does not change,” she said. “We have adjusted to the new normal. We are excited about new possibilities for our community, a new future, a blend of in-person events and the virtual.”

For more information and a schedule of events, visit The Arts Center’s website.

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