Art focused organizations throughout RiverTown Multimedia’s coverage area are announcing cancellations and postponements for the coming weeks. The shuttering of art buildings and pausing of events obviously will affect employees and artists as well as community members who enjoy consuming local art.

While some will not feel the direct impact of the lack of accessibility to art, the entire economy will be hurt by the creative economy’s pause.

In 2017. Creative Minnesota did a study on a variety of communities throughout the state to find the connection between art and the economy.

In Red Wing arts and spending by visitors brought to the city because of creative events is about $2.2 million annually. Hastings’ creative economy is $2.4 million annually.

Numerous art-based organizations have shuttered for the upcoming weeks and many provided statements about this decision.

The Anderson Center, Red Wing

While the Anderson Center is closed the sculpture park and the grounds of Tower View will remain open. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.
While the Anderson Center is closed the sculpture park and the grounds of Tower View will remain open. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.


Director Stephanie Rogers:

The Anderson Center's galleries and offices will be closed to the public this week. On Friday, March 20, I will review guidance from public officials and make a decision about weeks to come. During the pandemic, our top priority is the safety of community members who are at risk. All studio artists will have access to their leased spaces. Our sculpture garden continues to be open to the public during daylight hours every day of the year.

At this point, the Anderson Center is not planning on canceling our residency program, which runs from May to October every year. We are in contact with the Alliance of Artist Communities and peer institutions across the country, and will continue to review the situation as it unfolds.

We need creativity and innovation more than ever now, and Anderson Center staff will be working remotely to advance our mission during this time

Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council

The Orange Dragon Art Gallery is one of the many pieces that comprise HPAAC. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.
The Orange Dragon Art Gallery is one of the many pieces that comprise HPAAC. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.


HPAAC President Kathy O’Keefe:

Our Gala scheduled for April 23 was postponed. We expect to reschedule when we are able to determine a date that works for all of our partners, auctioneer, venue and food provider.

We are impacted by the coronavirus in a number of ways. We rely on our Gala to provide the funding we need to provide scholarships for individuals accessing art lessons and to provide financial support to other organizations that bring in art opportunities for our community. We will need to be diligent in our commitments until such time that we can replenish our own funds. We are able to use this time though to work on looking at our internal processes as we find ourselves in a wonderful period of growth.

(lumin) theater lab, Hastings

A cast photo from Test Tube, a show staged by the (lumin) theater lab in 2018. Photo by Andrew Hill.
A cast photo from Test Tube, a show staged by the (lumin) theater lab in 2018. Photo by Andrew Hill.


We canceled our upcoming production of “Ice Shanty #3,” which was scheduled to open this Friday. This is an original script, which one of our company members wrote in 2017 with the help of some other company members. This has been a project that we had been working on for years and we are sad to not be able to present it to an audience this week. We are currently looking at ways to reschedule the production and we are constantly monitoring the guidelines and suggestions from the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health.

We also need to make decisions related to our next scheduled production, "Cymbeline," set to open in May. Currently, we remain hopeful that "Cymbeline" can happen as scheduled, yet we are aware that circumstances change frequently and we are complying with suggestions of how best to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep our actors, designers, volunteers, and audience safe. We haven't fully discussed the financial impact of postponing the entire run of a show.

We have been thinking about ways that we could engage with our audiences remotely, such as a livestream of our improv comedy show, ScripTease, possibly as soon as this weekend. If not improv this weekend, possibly something else similar and soon.

Merrill Arts Center, Woodbury

Lauren Omernik played Jo March in Merrill Arts Center's 2019 production of "Little Women." Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.
Lauren Omernik played Jo March in Merrill Arts Center's 2019 production of "Little Women." Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.


Executive Director Barbe Marshall Hansen:

The staff and board at Merrill Arts Center are committed to championing the arts, and to the health and safety of our community. We understand that COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving area with new information emerging on a daily basis, and are closely monitoring the recommendations of leading national and local health organizations to ensure the appropriate measures are taken to protect everyone’s safety and reduce risk of exposure.

Currently, we are following the government recommendation that requests all gatherings over 10 people or more be canceled or postponed through March 27. The next theater production, "Cyrano de Bergerac," continues to prepare remotely. We will continue to monitor the situation, and may (or may not) be able to offer public performances mid-April or later. We are also working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, who owns the rights, to see if we can add a streaming option for ticket holders. As with all theaters, most costs of putting on a production are expended weeks and months before opening, so the money has been spent for this production and for Matilda, which is scheduled to open in July.

The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson

Tara Schwictenberg played Kathy Selden in “Singin’ in the Rain” at The Phipps. Rebecca Mariscal / Rivertown Multimedia.
Tara Schwictenberg played Kathy Selden in “Singin’ in the Rain” at The Phipps. Rebecca Mariscal / Rivertown Multimedia.


Executive Director John Potter:

The safety and well-being of our patrons, artists, volunteers and staff is uppermost in our planning during this difficult time. We will follow the directives and guidelines of national and state public health officials regarding safeguards to mitigate the spread of this illness. As information and directives change rapidly, please check back regularly for updates.

Based on the guidelines and directives on March 16, The Phipps Center for the Arts will be canceling all classes and closing its doors to the general public from March 17 to April 5. Scheduled performances during that time have been postponed.

During this closure, we will still look for ways to fulfill our mission by using the arts to support our community and be a hopeful spirit during this difficult time. Thank you all for your continued support of The Phipps Center for the Arts. We look forward to returning to normal operations.

Red Wing Arts

Red Wing Arts is pausing all programming for the coming weeks. This will include closing the art gallery housed in the Red Wing Depot. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.
Red Wing Arts is pausing all programming for the coming weeks. This will include closing the art gallery housed in the Red Wing Depot. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.


Executive Director Emily Guida Foos:

This will have a huge impact on Red Wing Arts and the artists we support. The safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers, lovers of art and our community are a top priority. We have suspended operations through March and are assessing daily. Our gallery is run by volunteer docents who are in the high risk age group. Additionally, our staff has been allowed to work remotely.

We are taking this time to find other ways to support our regional artist and continue our mission to build a community fueled by the arts.

There will be long-term financial implications on the arts sector. During this time, we are looking at creative ways to continue to provide connection, shared experiences, inspiration, courage and vision. The arts community will need support now so that we can continue to strengthen our community now and into the future.

Sheldon Theatre, Red Wing

The Sheldon Theatre announced that it will close for the upcoming weeks due to COVID-19. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.
The Sheldon Theatre announced that it will close for the upcoming weeks due to COVID-19. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.


Jennifer Staley, development and community relationship coordinator:

After careful consideration and a desire to ensure the health and safety of everyone who engages with the Sheldon Theatre, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all March 20-April 4 performances, including Trinity Irish Dance, Strings Winds & Brass and The New Standards.

At this time, we plan on opening again for the circus/theater performance Air Play on April 17, but we will continue to reevaluate that decision as more information about COVID-19 develops. Our staff is monitoring the situation with care and will continue to follow the recommendations of local government and key health organizations.

Many local theaters and theater organizations are accepting ticket transfers and donations for canceled and postponed shows, including Merrill Arts and the Sheldon. Phipps staff plan to contact ticket holders.