Since it's become clear that we won't be having in-person events at our library this summer, I wanted to find a way for the library to uplift community spirit from a distance.
The Spring 2020 Art Show is a digital display of art presentening works by Boyertown community members, open to all ages and media, inclusive of all ages and abilities. The art show can serve as a reminder to the community that, even under challenging conditions, we are capable of creativity, a hopeful spirit and uplifting one another.
There's not a ton of advance planning needed for this program. The most important thing is to make sure the community knows about it so you can get submissions.
I immediately got the word out through social media and the local school networks. Once the word was out, I began receiving submissions in my email inbox.
I used Canva  to edit and put together the presentation. I have been using Canva during the stay at home time, and find the layout and style features very easy to use. I required a free option that would easily upload to Youtube, where we have a newly-launched channel. For our library's website, Youtube provides the easiest format for embedding video, and this increased our sharing options.
There were no expenses for this program beyond staff time to plan.
All images were presented in a video that was shared online and shown on our Instagram page throughout the day on May 30. After the first weekend, the video had nearly 200 views!
We had 21 artists contribute, representing all age groups (preschool to adult) and a variety of media (pencil, oil, acrylic, ink, watercolor, mixed media, oil pastels, photography).
As of this writing, I have received a dozen submissions. All participants are thankful for the opportunity and have invited friends to participate. I am very enthusiastic about this project and look forward to presenting the show to our community.
Be prepared with a vision for your show. You can make it so all of the works submitted reflect on that vision. The vision/goal of our show is "to show the power of art to lift our spirits and renew hope."
We do not have a library art policy because exhibits are new for us. Having a vision statement meant my director did not worry about submissions that would be deemed inappropriate for sharing publicly.
One minor challenge I had in creating the video was that the first soundtrack I chose was too short, and the loop was awkward. I attempted to edit, but I have not edited music before. For the sake of time, I ended up choosing another song, and I actually liked the second song choice better. My only complaint with Canva might be that I wanted the last slides, where I provide a vision statement and thank the artists, to appear for a longer time. In Canva, I had to set all the slides to show for the same amount of time. (It might technically be possible, but I was unable to receive help to troubleshoot this challenge). To have more time to read, if needed, viewers can pause the slideshow. I only regret that I spent too much time exploring other options for preparing the slide show. Many options that appear to be free actually are not, or have very limited features, or require software supports.
Further advice on the video, especially when working limited hours, is to stick with what you know in terms of platforms. Keep it simple. Remember your reason for the program, your vision, your goal. Is it to demo all the tech? That was not my mission.
About This Library
Boyertown Community Library serves several small towns in rural southeastern Pennsylvania. During this time of library closures, our director works from home and two staff members are working half-time hours, while our circulation team is furloughed. For many people in our service area, our library is the primary source of internet/wifi service.