In light of the impact of the pandemic on event programming, Artown is making the pivot needed to reach and engage audiences in new and creative ways. Though Artown has postponed its ticketed events and Monday Night Music Series at the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch until 2021, and postponed all of this year’s Wingfield Park programming until next year, the non-profit–which started in 1996–is planning a festival that will bring the entire community together. Artown Executive Director Beth Macmillan states, “Our community’s resilience and creativity will be on full display this year, restoring hope and reviving the spirits of so many.”

While many artists and organizations will have to make necessary adjustments to present their events safely, in strict adherence to the Governor’s Covid-19 Phase 1 protocols, the fact that Artown is happening at all, is welcome news to presenters who spend months planning, creating and fundraising for their Artown events each year. Presenters–artists and organization who plan, produce and present arts events, exhibits, installations, tours, performances and displays– make up 90% of Artown’s 500+ events each year, and are the both the mainstay and backbone of the festival, now in its 25th anniversary season.

On Wednesday, May 6, at the first of several weekly virtual presenters meetings scheduled during the runup to the festival, Artown hosted 81 artists and organizations on their Zoom conference, who were convened for the task of adapting their Artown events to the new Covid-19 realities and safety protocols. Many, like Christina Osloond, the Project Director for Extravaganza at the Plaza (July 25) expressed both joy and appreciation for the opportunity to hold their events. “As creative as artists are, Artown is finding was to comply [with safety protocols] and move forward, giving hope to an otherwise hopeless situation for artists.”

For those artists going virtual, Artown will support the events by providing links on its various social media platforms (like You Tube and Facebook) to streaming events this year. Artown’s Livestream Sessions (facilitated by, will capture scores of community events happening citywide and broadcast them via Facebook Live, to be later archived on Artown’s You Tube channel. Artown’s Opening Night on July 1 will be a virtual extravaganza, featuring our recently postponed national and international artists who are creating short performance videos specifically for Artown, each with a personal message to the Artown audiences. Sinclair Broadcast Group will air and stream the Opening Night spectacle on their various broadcast platforms. But perhaps the most exciting element of Artown 2020 is powered by the people. This year, in place of Artown’s large summer festival gatherings, the people are the headliners, as Artown becomes “Heartown,” a citywide campaign in celebration of the essential role art plays in our hearts, in our lives and in our communities.

“Artown is asking EVERYONE to ‘show us your heart through your art,’” beams Macmillan. In projects they do at home, at their businesses and with their coworkers–with whatever supplies they already have at home or at work. “Share your art with us, with your neighbors and with the world,” Macmillan states. Everything from drawings, paintings, yard art and sidewalk chalk, to ornamental displays on balconies, decorative signs, and garden designs. Any expression of art that comes from your heart is welcome. “Because now, more than ever, the power of art can inspire and uplift us all,” emphasizes Macmillan.

In addition, Artown is working to distribute art supplies to underserved communities, children’s programs, non-profits, and family-focused organizations to ensure multicultural participation in the campaign.

Once underway, Artown is asking participants to send in short videos and photo stills of their art to where we’ll display these community creations on social media, on our website and through our media partners.

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