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Council on Culture and Arts in Tallahassee moves to virtual lessons

Posted at 6:01 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 18:01:58-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A few weeks ago, they were at risk of being de-funded, but now the Council on Culture and Arts has changed their entire structure to meet the demands of coronavirus social distancing and sheltering in place.

There's no need to remind you that many places and events are now canceled and closed.

In the first week of March, COCA's Director Kathleen Spehar knew some changes needed to happen to make sure they could still reach the public.

"We're getting thousands and thousands of posts on our Facebook page," said Spehar, "and one of our posts actually got a hundred thousand likes."

As schools, programs and centers were announcing suspensions of service, websites gained even more importance.

"Now, how we engage with the arts and we understand that that's so important," Sephar said. "So for us, it's like what does the community need, that's what our challenges are now."

Their website, which is used as a resource for artists and a community calendar for the public saw pages of listings filled with events and classes being canceled day after day.

COCA started looking for ways to help keep people busy.

"The digital pieces we're creating, new spaces to stay," said Spehar, "we think for our artists and our community this means more opportunities to engage in a variety of ways."

For Kira Derryberry it meant shifting her photography business online .

"It's hard when I need to be in front of people to work," Derryberry said.

That meant coming up with a virtual way to stay relevant.

Derryberry established a virtual online photography class that's posted on COCA'S website.

"I love how COCA has been so connected to the community during this time," said Derryberry. "They are constantly sending out emails with things to do things that other people can do."

"When this whole thing is over, we don't know how live performances are gonna be," Spehar said. "We don't know what gathering together as a community will mean. But we know in our hearts what we want, so we're going to continue to use digital and live performances and platforms in order to keep giving the community what they want."

With the demand of folks looking for virtual options of things to do, COCA has added a new category on their website where you select online streaming and classes.

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