University arts adapt to virtual environment

Calahan Steed, Journalist

On March 12 Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency for the state of Wisconsin. Subsequently, on March 18, UW-Whitewater announced that the rest of the semester would be online.

But that’s not stopping the arts on campus from sharing their wonders with the world. If people still want to look at art exhibits while at home, the Crossman Gallery Facebook page has them covered. The gallery has posted links for virtual tours of several art museums from around the globe, including the Overture Center of the Arts in Madison.

“The Crossman Gallery will open in the fall when classes resume,” says Associate Director of Marketing and Events Leslie LaMuro.
Also from Whitewater, Roberta’s Art Gallery is offering virtual exhibits broadcast over Facebook. A live Paint and Sip Workshop will take place April 22 at 7 p.m. A live T-Shirt Coaster Workshop will also be held May 6 at 7 p.m.

Still, the transition online can be challenging for some courses – especially those that require more hands-on applications like those in the arts.

“Music, theater and dance have all been facing the same challenges in regard to finding a way to provide materials and effective instruction through virtual learning,” says Jasymn Rose. “As a music major we also have a number of graduation requirements tied to attending and giving performances as soloists, in ensembles and more.”

The coronavirus has caused many events at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to be cancelled, postponed or broadcasted online.
“We are missing out on all of our ensembles and collaborative learning experiences such as working with an accompanist for solo playing,” says senior music education major Nathan Roley. “Lessons can be extra difficult because singing/playing an instrument is hard to hear over a speaker.”

With the rest of the semester being online, some seniors are changing their final projects to meet their graduation requirements. Flexibility is important for them to meet their timeline for completion.

“I was cast in the last show of our season as Miss Lulu Bett. That role was supposed to be my senior project, but the show was cancelled… I need to complete my senior project to graduate and creating a senior project that does not involve performing in a live show has been very strange,” says Kathleen Grace Martin.

Despite the changes in curriculum, the loss of personal contact is missed the most by some students whose passion is interacting with others. They are hopeful for the future.

“There are many people that I would normally see that I don’t see anymore because I don’t have classes with them. I miss seeing everyone in person and being able to hug people. Seeing people through a screen is not the same and I really miss everyone,” Roley says. “This situation is just awful, but we are doing the best we can to get through it. I hope everyone is finding ways to stay physically and mentally healthy.”