DUNWOODY, Ga. — The Spruill Center for the Arts recently announced its plan to reopen classes and camps beginning June 22.

The Spruill Gallery will reopen on June 9. The public will be able to visit the gallery Tuesday through Thursday and by appointment.

“We can’t wait to reopen,” Spruill Center CEO Alan Mothner said. “It’s strange being in the building without the sounds of laughter, creativity and community.”

Mothner said the arts center is prepared to meet or exceed every guideline from the Centers for Disease Control, Georgia Department of Health and the Governor’s Office.

“We know the campers and the families of those campers are excited to get out of the house and be creative in a safe environment,” he said. “That’s what we’re 100 percent committed to providing.”

The special changes being implemented include reducing class sizes, sanitizing classrooms between each lesson, limiting shared equipment and maintaining distance in the classrooms and hallways.

In preparation for the reopening, the center has stockpiled cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer, installed a plexiglass barrier in the registration office and put up signage to remind students and staff of the new distancing practices.

“We’re ready,” Mothner said. “It’s been challenging being out of the building for the last two months. We’ve missed our students, our instructors. The arts center is like a family, and we’re really excited to see our family again, even if it is with masks on.”

The facilityr is also preparing for the gallery’s next show, the student and faculty “Artists in Residence” juried exhibition. The show will begin virtually June 11 and transition to the gallery on a limited basis later in the summer.

The impact the COVID-19 pandemic has been catastrophic for the arts sector. Employment in the sector is down 54.5 percent nationwide, and 62 percent of artists are fully unemployed. There has been a cumulative loss of $5.5 billion to arts and culture organizations.

Despite this gloomy forecast, the Spruill Center for the Arts has maintained its entire staff during the shutdown and also financially supported nearly 50 independent contractor instructors who primarily depend on the center for their livelihood. During the same time, every refund request made by students and campers was fully honored.

Mothner said even as the arts center returns to a new normal, the financial impact of this time will be felt for years. To drum up support for the center as it is forced to cut its programming revenue, Spruill has launched a new membership drive with added features and benefits for both new and renewing supporters.

Plans to build new a new hallway of classrooms have been put on hold. Savings for capital improvements have been redirected to supporting staff and teachers, Mothner said.  

“An expansion project right now is just not on the table,” he said. “There’s really no reason for us to expand beyond our current footprint until there’s a clearer picture of what the future holds.”

For more information on the Spruill Center for the Arts, visit spruillarts.org.

Carson Cook is an Editor with Appen Media Group and covers Johns Creek, Dunwoody and Fulton County.

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