Virtual event ideas for every art form
Updated: Jun 25
Despite the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, many art venues are reopening and productions are resuming modified operations. Since adhering to CDC guidelines can be costly and expensive, we expect to see more art venues pursuing virtual programming even as in-person events become increasingly viable.
Since March, In Full Color has hosted or been part of many virtual events including a weekly IG Live skillshare and chat series called Quarantine Cuties, Streamyard interviews, Facebook Live chats plus a myriad of Zoom events including classes, webinars, panels, performances and readings. And of course, we've attended so many more!
Using what we've learned, we've compiled a list of potential virtual models for artists in multiple art forms. Hopefully this gives you ideas for your next project! Got an idea or seen something brilliant in action? Share it here!
We've taken several Zoom dance classes through Classpass as well as Kennedy Dancers, a wonderful nonprofit based in Jersey City. This is a simple setup, with instructors on camera demonstrating while participants copy the moves at home. Dance with Samantha Joy's Zumba classes actually allow you to participate with your camera off -- which helps you get a workout in without feeling self-conscious!
Our partner Nimbus has also done weekly Zoom events which have included screenings of professionally shot dance videos (now is the time to utilize pre-recorded material and editing in all your programming!) as well as exclusive talks with artists.
We've also used Zoom as a choreographic tool (above). By logging into this meeting from both her laptop and cell phone, our founder/director Summer Dawn Reyes was able to better capture different angles of a dance piece she's working on alone. In this case, she's using the technique just to better capture floorwork, but you can get creative with side, top, close-up, full body and medium shots!
In Full Color partnered with Hudson Pride Center earlier this month to do an artist talk highlighting four queer artists--Noelle Lorraine Williams, Danielle Scott, Miguel Cardenas and Hiyasmine Queen Gaskins, seen here -- the genius behind the Kara Walker and Angela Davis portraits in our Girls Who Colored Outside the Lines coloring book. (Also, check out our Angela Davis enamel pin!)
We created a PowerPoint with their selected art works so we could include artist names, titles, dimensions, medium and other key information -- as well as payment info for anyone who wanted to tip our artists!
Because of latency (audio delay), collaborating with other musicians virtually has been challenging for many. Many of our friends have recommended using Acapella, an app that helps you overcome this challenge, and allows you to create new work with others playing simultaneously. Of course, if you are playing solo, you have many more virtual programming options. If you're using Zoom, here's a handy video on making your audio settings work for live performance!
This screenshot is actually from our skillshare and chat, Quarantine Cuties, which was tons of fun and featured some amazing how-tos from awesome ladies, but which in all honesty, turned out to be not the best fit for IG Live. IG Live has an audience and is easy for your followers to access, but it is difficult to frame correctly, especially if you're doing a demo of some sort.
We do, however, think this might be a great medium for comedians! In comedy, going virtual has been tough because most platforms will have you performing to dead air -- and comics need audience energy to amplify their work! With IG Live, you can have one person (who would normally be your host) going live with the talent on your lineup one-by-one. Comedians can then just talk or actually do a set with at least the host giving back live feedback and energy. They won't hear viewers but they can see them spamming the heart button or sending in crying-while-laughing emojis.
Very important! Make sure you are in a place with a stable Wifi connection and good signal. Boot anything inessential off your Wifi before you stream, and test with your co-star through an IG Direct video chat beforehand.
This is probably the easiest art form to move to a digital platform since people watch most of their movies on their devices anyhow. But you can still get creative! Host a watch party on Facebook Live or do a Zoom screening of your latest work. Or, inspire other creators to work together -- for example, use TikTok to string shots from different filmmakers together to tell a story!
For theatermakers, doing a reading via Zoom is the easiest way to share your work online. Play around and figure out how you can best utilize the platform! Get a tech operator to toggle people's cameras and mics for dramatic effect. Push your performers to use at-home lights, props and multiple camera devices to bring higher quality or more nuance into their work. Use green screens and virtual backgrounds to create "sets"- -- you can even use GIFs or short video clips, much in the way you might use projections in real life!
Other Fun Ideas for Any Field
Host a Panel: Get your artists, administrators and field experts together to discuss hot topics in your field. You can do this as a webinar or livestream.
Workshops: Share what you know! Many artists are using quarantine as an opportunity to learn new skills. This is also a great way of introducing your work to new audiences.
Write Together: Writers and poets, like filmmakers, are almost pre-positioned for success in a virtual art world. But there are still many ways for writers to use virtual platforms to stretch their artistic limits! Try using Padlet or even a simple Google Doc to co-write or co-create with others. (Padlet also comes in handy as a storyboarding, timeline or world building tool!)
Last but not least, if you're going digital, you have an opportunity to make your programming accessible for those with hearing or visual impairments. Here are tips on accessibility for the deaf and hearing-impaired, and a list of audio description services for the visually impaired. See more general information here.