WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The News Channel 6 City Guide is a segment that shines a spotlight on local businesses, events, and nonprofits across Texoma. This episode, we’re taking a closer look at the work arts and culture organizations in our area are doing to keep the arts alive during this pandemic.
The Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts & Culture is an agency for the city. WFAAC administers grants for the city and also facilitates programming like summer camps or other activities. The WFAAC also does public art projects like the East Side Mural Project.
This year has been anything but normal. Local arts and culture organizations have been hit hard by this pandemic. Organizations like the Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra were in full swing when this all started.
“When the pandemic first struck, we had to shut down everything. We were having group rehearsals. We were working up for our big spring concert. And then we were planning to take the kids on a trip to a major university where they were going to get to have a fantastic educational experience,” Jean Hall, executive director for the Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra said. “We had to cancel all that. [...] We had to cancel our summer camp. So we’ve lost a lot of in-person time serving the kids.”
The arts and culture community quickly came together to figure out how to continue their missions in the middle of a pandemic.
“When this all first started I don’t think anybody knew exactly what to do,” Ann Arnold-Ogden, associate director of the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts & Culture said. “But we knew that we had to stay connected not just to our team but also to the other arts nonprofits in this community.”
Since we cannot gather in person, the WFAAC has shifted a number of activities and programs online.
“One of the first things we did was start arts virtual town halls with artists and arts organizations in this community to talk about what our struggles were, to talk about what issues we were facing. Another thing we’ve done is move camp programming online,” Arnold-Ogden said.
The WFAAC wanted to create arts education for children online that also lined up with the standards of the state. They teamed up with organizations like River Bend Nature Center and the Museum of North Texas History to create lessons based around a curriculum for the schools with some arts components added to them.
It’s a service these organizations love providing to this community and with your support, they hope to continue in the future.
“Arts and Culture, and our museums are so important in our community because the experiences that you have in them are formative. They help you understand yourself, know yourself. They help you create memories with your family and your friends or with yourself,” Tracee Roberston, director of the Wichita Falls Museum of Art said. “They invite us to slow down and contemplate. Those are restorative things, especially in our culture as it is and certainly now after a pandemic that’s been so confusing.”
“Together we make Wichita Falls a beautiful and fun and joyful place,” Hall said.
For more information on the, We’re Ready campaign and how you can support these local arts and culture organizations, click here.
If you would like your business, event, or nonprofit featured on the News Channel 6 City Guide, contact host & producer Samantha Forester at firstname.lastname@example.org or (940) 757-0691.