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Art galleries are closing their doors – so look online instead

Jerico Gallery

Social distancing health measures are becoming stricter. This week, it was announced that the Federal Government was asking all non-essential businesses to close.

This means big changes for many industries, especially in creative spaces. Many of the most prominent art galleries across the country have been required to close their doors temporarily. This includes well-loved spaces like The Art Gallery of South Australia, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the National Gallery of Victoria.

But this does not mean the end to our affiliation and appreciation for art. We will just have to be more creative in the way we experience and absorb sensory creation.

Rhana Devenport of the Art Gallery of South Australia had a message for those despairing an end to creative contact. She explained that her space will be refocusing into the online sphere.

“We are channelling energy into the online space, especially in relation to digital experiences and virtual tours of the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres exhibitions and our collection. Also available through our website are extensive activities for children and families to create art at home to engage and inspire families and broader audiences.”

Likewise the MCA has connected with its audience on Instagram, promising that their creative team will be working to bring art, ideas and creativity to us online. A message shared on the gallery’s Instagram offers reassurance. “We are developing new digital art experiences to link you to artists, social impact programs and exhibitions.”

Jerico Contemporary is another gallery expanding into an online experience. All artworks from the latest Caroline Walls exhibition will be presented online, with additional experiential and editorial responses to the artists’ work. Gallery director Jerico Tracy said that the new gallery experience will "include a virtual walkthrough of the exhibition, an intimate artist talk with Caroline explaining both her process and practice, as well as curator-led tour of the exhibition."

In these uncertain times, art and creativity is a refuge. And these spaces can still be a pivotal point of solace for our community. We will just need to reframe the way we connect and engage.

The Australian Centre for Photography shared its own words of hope, “these are strange and sometimes stressful times. But they don’t have to be lonely or uncreative ones.” Even though this space has had to adapt its daily routine, photographic practice can remain a constant. The centre has encouraged creators to keep making art - but how you share it might change.

Another art institution shutting its doors is the National Art School of Australia. But, the announcement was hopeful, rather than weary. Director and CEO of the National Art School shared a heart-felt message to students. He expressed that there is still the means to “provide the rich art education” the school always does. His final sign off was a particularly important message for the community. A universal message that creativity won't be halted - “it will just take different forms.”