It’s summertime in South Florida. However, things are a bit different than usual. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every industry across the country, and the art industry is no exception. Art museums have closed, organizers have canceled exhibitions, and artists are navigating how to adjust to this new reality.
At MuseoVault, a fine-art storage facility, we have our hand on the pulse of the South Florida and Miami art scene. We have seen the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic upfront, and the pandemic has certainly affected us, too. In this article, we highlight how museums, artists, and art districts are dealing with the pandemic. Also, we share how the public can still enjoy Miami art museums and support Florida artists, all while respecting social distancing guidelines and staying healthy.
Florida fine-art museums, exhibitions, and art districts during COVID-19
Artists are hurting during the COVID-19 pandemic. This reality is particularly the case for performance art and theater, where social gathering is almost a part of the medium itself. For example, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County canceled its summer showing of Jesus Christ Superstar. In a CBS Miami interview, the Arsht Center’s CEO stated, “As for formal ticketed shows, there will be no shows through summer.” Many people involved in theater are unsure when the public will feel comfortable again with sitting in a theater to watch a live performance.
Similarly, the famous Bakehouse Art Complex has closed temporarily due to virus-related risks. However, artists who formerly worked in Bakehouse have come up with creative solutions to stay productive in their new environments. Ceramist Lauren Shapiro is now using a tent in her front lawn as an art studio. Instead of working on new ceramics, she now works on the programming and preparations for her upcoming exhibitions. Similarly, Miami sculptor and painter Rafael Rangel Serrano is focusing on the necessary tasks of archiving his work and applying for grants from home.
The famous Miami Wynwood Art District also has experienced many disruptions from COVID-19. However, even amid many closures, art in Florida must go on. An anonymous Wynwood resident by the alias “Scotty” took to the streets in May to install a large missile statue with “COVID-19” and a biohazard symbol painted on the side. Scotty partially embedded the sculpture in a broken sidewalk, and it truly looks like a recent attack on the heart of Miami’s art district. In a Miami New Times interview, Scotty remarks, “It was hard for me not to interpret [COVID-19] as a bomb that fell on the neighborhood.” Scotty did not receive permits for his public art installation, and unfortunately, he expects the city to remove his installation soon.
How to enjoy art & support artists safely
While the above stories may paint a gloomy picture, south Florida artists are still active, and in some cases, they are now working with heightened creativity. In an interview with the Miami Herald, Danish-born installation artist Mette Tommerup noted, “I am seeing a new intensity in my work and lots of contrast and gesture developing.” Sometimes, an artist’s best work can come out of periods of isolation and difficulty.
Importantly, the public can still enjoy and experience art, even while respecting social distancing guidelines. Several Miami art exhibitions have adapted to pandemic-era norms by launching virtual museum tours. The Bazz Museum of Art offers a free virtual museum tour, and people can view art displays in virtual reality with Google Cardboard VR glasses. Likewise, the famous Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is offering video-based tours of contemporary art exhibits on YouTube. The PAMM has also launched an active “Live Virtual Local Views at PAMM” series, where leading local artists, such as Lorie Ofir and Darwin Rodriguez, discuss their current work and creative process. The ICA Miami is another south Florida fine-art museums offering a virtual art exhibit experience. The ICA Miami allows visitors to “walk” through a computer-generated building and view interactive art pieces on each wall.
While a few smaller museums and exhibitions have opened, many have limited access, reduced capacity, or shortened hours. Also, as the extent of COVID-19 changes in the Miami area, schedules for closures and reopenings are continually changing. If you are planning to attend a local exhibition, be sure to call the facility and get the most up-to-date opening hours. Also, know that you can take easy steps to help protect yourself and loved ones from COVID-19. Be sure to wear a mask and stand six feet apart from other art enthusiasts. If a large crowd is in a particular room at the exhibition, make the safe choice, and come back later.
MuseoVault’s operations during COVID-19
MuseoVault is a fine-art storage facility and art logistics provider serving Miami and the greater South Florida area. While we have certainly noticed fewer art exhibitions and installations since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we are open for business. Right now, we are coordinating art storage and services for hurricane season with many clients.
Our team wears protective face masks, and we have launched enhanced sanitation protocols to keep our staff and customers safe. If you are looking for art storage in Miami and South Florida or transport services for your collection, do not hesitate to contact us online or reach out at (305) 751-1175.