The Art League Reopening for Spring Term
As wintery February draws to a close and the evening light is starting to look like spring, there is reason to be hopeful that the long pandemic of 2020 might be coming to a close. At The Art League of Alexandria, Virginia, nine months of mostly shuttered doors is giving way to registration for a spring session that just might look normal. Last autumn we featured The Art League and its Ceramics Chair, Blair Meerfeld, in a story about the effects of closures on art communities. We spoke to him recently about the challenges of re-opening.
Blair Meerfeld says he has felt like the Maytag Repairman, waiting for the call, over the last months. “We managed to reopen briefly in October,” he says, but as the cases increased, we crossed our threshold of safely and we had to close down again.” Eager students returned, but at only about 30% of the usual numbers. The school was unable to complete a full session. Just in the last few weeks, those classes have resumed at the center, to finish the term. Meerfeld hopes to see greater enrollment for the spring term that begins in April. “The spring will be ‘normal enough,’” he says, “with all the social distancing and safety practices we have put into effect.” In spite of the need to use both studios for each class, the schedule is only three classes short of the usual offerings.
Meerfeld says he doesn’t have any “pearls of wisdom” about what art education will look like in the future. “Clearly with the vaccine and with society in general being in better shape, there is reason to be hopeful for the coming summer and fall,” he conjectures. He says he has seen a wide range of comfort levels among his students. “I think people are reevaluating how they feel about recreational activities in groups,” he says. “I am hoping for the best. All I can do is make sure my department is functional.” Though he doesn’t see things returning to the way they were in March of 2020 for one or two years, he says, “It looks like we’re going to survive.”
Read the original story about The Art League at https://standardceramic.com/blogs/featured-articles/blair-meerfeld-and-the-art-league-school-of-alexandria-community-of-inspiration
Learn more about The Art League at www.theartleague.org