The Norman Arts Council will host the 2nd Friday Norman Art Walk virtually on Friday as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
While restrictions are gradually lifted, the Norman Art Walk will be limited to a virtual experience in accordance with the city’s phased reopening guidelines, which limits group sizes to 50 people or less.
Throughout the evening, events such as gallery tours, performances and panel discussions will be shared on a continuous live stream. The evening will include a showing of MAINSITE Contemporary Art’s new exhibition “ONEderland,” a gallery tour of Resonator’s “Waiting Room,” a Pinot’s Palette painting party and more.
Segments will range from five to 20 minutes. A complete lineup of events can be found on Norman Art Walk’s website.
Associate Director of Norman Arts Council Joshua Boydston said the virtual aspect of Friday’s event provides more opportunities for new innovations.
“One of the artists is going to lead a panel discussion, which can be harder to do in the hubbub of people moving in and out during the actual art walk,” Boydston said.
While the Norman Arts Council coordinates the art walk, the council does not directly program individual events. According to Boydston, businesses and artists are responsible for planning their own events. The council took a similar approach in coordinating the virtual experience.
“We didn’t want to dictate, you need to do ‘x,’ you need to do ‘y,’” Boydston said. “... We like the independence that gives us and the kind of variety that allows for as well.”
Boydston also said transferring the in-person event to an online experience is challenging.
“All these businesses are very good at creating a fun atmosphere for people to come into in-person, and it’s harder to figure out exactly how to translate that into a more digital space,” Boydston said.
According to Boydston, the virtual event will only capture a portion of the Norman Art Walk experience.
“What I love about art walks and Norman Music Festival and all those downtown arts events is that it feels like this reunion space,” Boydston said. “It's really kind of heartbreaking not to be able to have that aspect.”
According to the website, there has been no decision regarding the status of future art walks, but Boydston said he hopes to return to an in-person experience.
“(The virtual art walk) is something to kind of tide people over as we're working toward being to that place where we can do it in person again,” Boydston said.