When the state of Florida ordered all nonessential businesses to close in March, arts organizations were hit hard. The closures included all of Winthrop Arts’ programming.
In addition to shutting down all in studio classes at the Art Factory and halting the free art classes given in the Mobile Art Factory, Winthrop Arts was forced to cancel the 12th annual Winthrop Arts Festival and Market.
“The Winthrop Arts Board of Visionaries moved swiftly to be in compliance with the state’s order,” said board member Paul Kaman. “Our actions in cancelling the art festival and even postponing summer camp were all intended to keep instructors, students and the community safe,” added Kaman.
During the closure, Winthrop Arts moved to innovate and adapt. Winthrop Arts established the Winthrop Arts Online Art Gallery. This allows artists of all mediums to showcase their artwork to potential buyers. A portion of the sales are donated back to Winthrop Arts.
In addition, Winthrop Arts began offering virtual art classes featuring Lead Art Factory Instructor Bryant Martinez. The popular Teen Drawing Class was hosted virtually by instructor Mariel Bell on Discord.
Winthrop Arts was able to offer four weeks of summer camp. This was made possible because John Sullivan, founder and developer of the community of Winthrop, offered the use of the Pole Barn. “Because of its open nature, the Pole Barn was the perfect space for summer camp. We were able to offer summer camp to 20 campers per week for four weeks,” said Kaman.
Now, with the school year fast approaching, Winthrop Arts is planning to offer in-studio classes again at the Art Factory. “When we do reopen, it will be with CDC guidelines in mind,” said Kaman.
Winthrop Arts is also planning to rearrange the Art Factory so that each class will be able to adhere to social distancing rules. “We will still offer several classes each day, but there will only be one class held at any given time. Each class will be limited to 10 students,” explained Martinez.
Winthrop Arts will offer a wide array of classes for children, teens and adults. Mediums will include drawing/painting, mixed media, fabric art, ceramics and creative storytelling. Adult ceramics classes and Teen Drawing Classes will be offered in the evenings.
The Winthrop Arts Art Factory is located at 11267 Winthrop Main St. in Riverview. For more information on the schedule and to register for the fall, please visit www.winthroparts.org.