Tarble to host more virtual events

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Staff Reporter

On Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 5:00 p.m. via Zoom, Eastern’s Tarble Arts Center was planning to host part two of their series of virtual events for their Tarble-to-Go initiative.

Tarble-to-Go is a new at-home educational series the Tarble Arts Center is hosting that helps foster curiosity, creativity and community care.

Tarble-to-Go began with an event called “Make-a-Mask #1” that allowed people in the Eastern community to learn how to make their own mask, beginning with rudimentary no-sew processes. Part two was supposed to allow people to learn simple hand-sewing techniques to reinforce the masks made at the first event.

The “Make-a-Mask #2” event had to be cancelled due to low turnout at the first virtual event Tarble hosted. Imagining people were tired of being on Zoom and in other online classroom portals, the event coordinators decided to instead produce video tutorials that will be uploaded to the Tarble Arts Center’s website so that people can easily access them. The event is still being run as normal, with that as the only change.

People can still go on the Tarble Arts Center website and sign up for a mask-making kit that will be sent directly to their address. The kit will include everything they need with instructions and materials to make the perfect mask.

Jennifer Baker, the Tarble’s director and chief curator, was one of the people who organized the “Tarble-to-Go” initiative.

The Tarble has always offered programs and classes that provide people with the opportunity to learn. They started “Tarble-to-Go” as a way to imagine new ways those programs could still be provided to the community, with the mask-making events only being one of them.

The Tarble Arts Center, as well as many other art museums across the world, have been hit hard by the spreading of COVID. Art museums all around the world have had to become creative to ensure they can still provide their services to the public in a way that still promotes social distancing, mask-wearing, and good hygiene.

The Tarble Arts Center has also had to make many changes to ensure they are doing their part in protecting their community from the spread of COVID, including closing the indoor galleries until 2021 and introducing virtual events like the ones mentioned above.

Baker is new to the Tarble Arts Center, this being her first year working here. Her being new, along with the pandemic, have brought some serious challenges in the way things get done. Despite that, it has also provided some opportunities that are really interesting.

“Being new here and being closed for the summer really afforded me the time to get to know the staff, the building, and our history in a way that I may not have been able to if we had been busy right away hosting events and programs,” Baker said.

The issues this pandemic has brought along, however, have not just made it difficult to take the arts to the people. This year has given the Tarble Arts Center the opportunity to try new and interesting methods to showcase art. The staff took their time to look at what other art institutions were doing to respond to the pandemic, to think about what they have been doing throughout their history, and what they feel they could do to keep the community safe.

They decided to start by making plans to give the Tarble Arts Center some much needed renovations and organizing that would help prepare the museum for next fall semester.

“We have three new lab spaces that we are working on. We have had a classroom, which now we are calling the education lab, available to the community for a long time. Now we have a new design lab, which is really exciting. We are creating the design lab in order for the public to learn a little bit more about the really incredible graphic design work that happens here. We’re also starting a new collections lab in order to make a space where scholars and students can engage in a more hands-on way with objects that are in our collection here at the Tarble,” Baker said.

The Tarble has also been focusing on working with the beautiful green space outside the museum. They have mounted an outdoor, self-guided exhibition called “Press Play,” with artwork by various artists, poets, writers, and healers.

The exhibition showcases eleven different signs throughout the grounds that have a QR code and a phone number. Attendees can use those to watch audio or video content that has been contributed by those artists. There is also a component of the exhibition that includes a projection playing from dusk until 10:00 pm with sound and video. The exhibition also features a meditation section, which could be helpful for students who are feeling stressed out.

The staff at the Tarble knows that “Press Play” will be up for a long time, giving people plenty of time to watch all of the content provided. It will also give them the opportunity to introduce new artworks throughout the school year, in addition to the ones available right now.

These times have also provided the Tarble the opportunity to bring artists to the community through new, interesting formats.

“Even though we cannot bring artists to town right now because of travel restrictions, because we have different online formats, there will be opportunities for people to interact with artists through different upcoming online workshops. We are planning an ecologically-focused workshop to talk about the land and our relationship to it. We are planning a movement workshop from one of the choreographers that is in the exhibition. There will be ways to engage at a deeper level with the artwork that is on view through some of these programs that we will have throughout the fall semester into the spring semester,” Baker said.

The Tarble is also working on plans to help students showcase their art at the yearly spring student art show. Unfortunately, because of timing, people were not able to come see the student art show in person last spring, so they had viewing rooms online for those exhibitions. This time around, they are excited to come up with new ways for the art show to still happen.

“We’re getting ready to release the catalogs we produced for those exhibitions. As soon as those catalogs come out, we will have to start talking about how we want to plan for the spring and making sure that students have the space to realize their projects and that we have a way to share it with audiences. We are excited to do some creative thinking around that,” Baker said.

With all the restrictions the pandemic has created, it has been difficult for everyone to interact with one another like normal. This includes the ways the Tarble interacts with their audiences. At the moment, they are really dependent on their online interactions, so they encourage people to follow them on social media and use their website. They also hope to see people stopping by to see the exhibition throughout the school year.

“I have a big window in my office, and it makes me really happy when I see people come by and experience ‘Press Play.’ I invite everyone to use our outdoor spaces the way that they might use our indoor spaces. Even if we can’t come say hello or offer snacks like we would normally, we may be watching from our offices feeling a lot of joy at people visiting us,” Baker said.


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]