DUNWOODY, Ga. — Though shelter-in-place orders have been lifted, the Spruill Center for the Arts has announced that it will not offer in-person classes until later this summer.
CEO Alan Mothner said the difficult decision to postpone reopening was made because of the many unknowns about the COVID-19 pandemic and the logistical challenges of operating safely.
“Recommendations have been changing on a daily basis,” Mothner said. “One day no face masks are necessary; the next day everybody is wearing a face mask. The CDC still hasn’t come out with its guidelines for camps … As we had more and more questions and fewer and fewer answers, we felt we weren’t ready to open yet.”
For example, the center wants to make sure it has plenty of cleaning supplies stockpiled to ensure it will not run out if there are shortages at stores, he said. The center’s new target date is June 21, with plans to open a few classes at a time to test the new protocols and give the staff more time to clean between classes.
In the meantime, the Arts Center is doing a membership drive to drum up support. New or renewed memberships purchased during the drive will last for an additional two months, 14 months total, and may be eligible as a tax-deductible donation. Members receive discounts on classes and merchandise and access to exclusive events.
“We usually have folks join as members when they register for their classes,” Mothner said. “Since we’re not open, we haven’t really had registrations, but membership is still really important to keep us going.”
Since closing in mid-March, the center has not laid off any staff and is still partially paying its teachers, Mothner said.
“I think that says a lot about this organization, and that’s what the membership campaign helps us do,” he said. “I think Spruill is putting our money where our mouth is and showing the community that we’re all in this together. This is a family that is brought together by art, and we’re looking out for each other.”
The center has also begun offering free virtual programing through its YouTube channel. Instructors have created video demonstrations of pastels, ceramics, jewelry making and other media. Spruill is also featuring local artists through studio tours and gallery talks.
“Spruill is a home for the arts, but equally we’re a home for people who want to gather socially,” Mothner said. “With an inability to do that because of the pandemic, we wanted to keep the community connected. While we’re all separate, we can still share something together.”
Each weekday at 10 a.m. there is a “Coffee Break with Spruill,” and Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4 p.m. there is “High Tea at the Gallery.”
For the latest updates, visit SpruillArts.org.