Artwork hanging in Studio B emphasizes community in these uncertain times.

Virtual Art Communities Thrive during COVID-19 Pandemic

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BOYERTOWN, Pa  — On dreary March days, people swarm to galleries and museums in the Philadelphia region to marvel at paintings and sculptures. Today, however, exhibits are shuttered in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Art continues to flourish in galleries like Studio B, who have quickly formed tight-knit, virtual communities to share their artists creations.

“We are slowly going digital anyway – it’s time. This may have slowly pushed us forward into doing it,” said Susan Biebuyck, Studio B Gallery Director.

She is dedicated to supporting local artists and views the necessary change to an online-focused business as an opportunity to help artists promote themselves, which is something the gallery does not typically prioritize as high as creating a dedicated space for artists of all abilities to publicly exhibit their masterpieces.

Abstract Artwork hanging at Studio B. (Photo by Paige Miller)

“We get calls all the time from people who have seen something on our web page or maybe got in the paper or was seen on Berks Community Television and we sell those works,” said Biebuyck.

The focus of Studio B is to showcase original work in themed exhibits, like their since postponed Climate Crisis show to celebrate Earth Day in collaboration with other galleries like Goggleworks Center for the Arts in Reading and Clay on Main in Oley.

Art from the exhibit “Uncommon Ground” at Studio B. Art from the exhibit (Photo by Paige Miller)

To compensate for the COVID-19 pandemic, each of these galleries have elected to host the Climate Crisis show virtually on Facebook and Instagram.

Studio B is hoping to reschedule other shows that were upcoming in March and April in the summer, or when restrictions have been lifted on businesses.

In the meantime, artists in isolation find themselves with an abundant amount of time to create and share their work. Many forward-thinking creatives, like Biebuyck, are hoping other aspects of the art industry will go digital.

“More things will go online, like art and music where everyday people can interact with actual talent just like you would a teacher at a university,” she said.

By making art accessible to wider audiences, the next generation who may not found a previous interest in art, may be inspired to create something during the COViD-19 pandemic.