National Arts Drive postponed to June 20
The Sebastopol Center for the Arts had to cancel both Art Trails and Art at the Source this year due to the pandemic, but art lovers looking for their open studio fix can participate in the National Arts Drive on June 20.
What’s the National Arts Drive? Just what it sounds like: On Saturday, June 6, between 1 and 4 p.m., artists will set themselves up close to the street, and art lovers will drive by, stopping (but not getting out of their cars) to look at works that catch their eye.
And not just visual artists; musicians, performance artists, actors — all creatives are welcome to participate.
“We’re inviting all artists and creatives to showcase or perform from windows, balconies, driveways, front yards, workspaces or even borrowed commercial spaces —essentially blanketing the country in creative expression,” said Sebastopol artist Gen Zorich, who is helping to organize the event locally.
The National Arts Drive will happen in 10 U.S. cities simultaneously. It is being sponsored by RAW Artists, the world’s largest independent arts organization.
“RAW Artists have hosted art showcase events in 70 cities around the globe for the last 11 years. As you might have guessed COVID-19 has put the organization on hold for the foreseeable future,” Zorich said. “I’ve joined forces with RAW as a community ambassador to help produce this community experience.”
“It’s completely free,” she said, but noted that drivers can use the event app to donate to artists whose work they like. Or they can go directly to the artist’s websites and purchase their work.
“We’re inviting community supporters to take a drive down their city blocks and suburban streets to see and hear local artists, performers, musicians and designers living in their community,” Zorich said.
“The driving experience will be paired with a mobile website that will mark the performance and/or installation location on a map and allow for drivers to donate directly to the artist from their car via Venmo or PayPal from a safe and healthy distance,” she said.
“One of the rules of the event is that any money that changes hands has to be done electronically,” Zorich said.
Sebastopol Center for the Arts hosts young artists exhibit during the event
Zorich and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts (SCA) coordinated a system to allow 15 young artists display their work in the center’s parking lot. She is looking to involve young artists, in their late teens and early twenties, including current art students.
“What we're going to do is we're going to chalk off exhibit spaces for them six feet apart,” Zorich said.
Drivers will be able to drive through the SCA’s circular parking lot and see the different kinds of work that young artists are creating.
“SCA is always talking about doing something with young artists, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity,” she said.
Support for local artists
Zorich said the National Arts Drive was conceived as a way to support artists during the pandemic.
“This project is in response to the fact that 64% of artists and creative workers are currently unemployed due to the crisis,” she said. “Opportunities for artists to be seen, heard and supported through events, tours, or showcases have been made impossible, almost overnight. Artists are really feeling the impact from all angles.”
To participate in the event, both artists and drivers must sign up at NationalArtsDrive.com and agree to comply with the event’s safety rules. (Find them on the website under FAQs.) You’re also allowed to walk, bike or scooter through the event as long as you adhere to social distancing rules.
Once they sign up on the site, artists will be added to the map on the mobile app and drivers will get a link that shows them where to find local exhibits and performances.
Zorich herself, a frequent Art Trails participant, will be exhibiting her paintings in the front yard of her home on Woodland Avenue.
“I’m so excited about this event,” she said. “I think it’ll be a really fun thing, and I think it will give people hope after this lockdown and remind them of the beauty in this world. Plus it emphasizes that being an artist is still valuable.”