For an organization like the Sun Valley Museum of Art, which typically dominates the events calendar with any number of lectures, screenings, concerts, workshops and Company of Fools plays, the extended isolation order has put a damper on regular programming.
While large public gatherings are certainly off the table and programming has slowed a little, it has not stopped altogether, as SVMoA has been prioritizing digital offerings.
The day Gov. Brad Little issued his first isolation order for the state was the same day that SVMoA had planned to officially unveil a new Big Idea project, “Free Play,” which synthesized the power of playfulness to enrich, uplift, educate and console.
Though residents and visitors cannot currently visit the museum and enjoy the exhibition firsthand, its message is ringing through perhaps even clearer than it would have done previously.
“Play energizes us,” said Kristin Poole, artistic director of SVMoA. “It loosens up our physical muscles, our curiosity, our sense of exploration. All over the trails in Hailey and all over the bike path, people are doing art. Chalk pieces, painted rocks, messages in driveways—people are using art as a way to stay connected and stay positive. It’s not the same as getting a vital meal, but it’s nurturing in its own way.”
Dozens of programs had to get canceled, but SVMoA has been using its online presence to keep the arts a regular component of daily life for audiences of all ages.
On social media, SVMoA has been posting video tours of the exhibition space, regularly uploaded doodles to try at home, music videos specially recorded of past visiting musicians and much more, mixing new content with throwbacks.
Meanwhile, Company of Fools has hardly slowed down. The Hailey-based theater group was able to complete its 24th theatrical season, and is hopeful to begin its 25th this summer. In the meantime, the company has been keeping busy with its Foolish Voices podcast and by digitally implementing its annual Stages of Wonder educational outreach program.
Foolish Voices has been posting several episodes a week and featuring guests from all over the country.
“Company of Fools is cranking it out,” Poole said. “That’s a real demonstration of their theater network. So many great actors and directors from all over the country who’ve worked with us before are eager to participate.”
Stages of Wonder—an elementary school theater education program that Company of Fools has been doing for nearly 20 years—has also gone digital, bringing activities via video to children and families.
The future is uncertain, but the SVMoA and Company of Fools team is keeping on its toes and adapting to every scenario.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to safely reopen soon, but this online content has been a wonderful challenge and it’s been really rewarding,” Poole said. “We want to keep connected with our audience. We care so much about our community and this is a way for us to continue to serve.”
For more information about SVMoA and Company of Fools, or to enjoy their numerous online offerings, visit svmoa.org or check out each organization’s respective social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.