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Fort Worth arts groups are accustomed to reinvention. Before COVID-19 derailed Spring Gallery Night and assorted show openings, venerable museums like the Amon Carter Museum of American Art were reimagining what an established museum could do outside of its walls through robust outreach programs. 

In not-so-past years, the Fort Worth Community Arts Center was booked with vanity shows that were geared more toward private groups than the public writ large. This year’s FWCAC resident arts group, House of Iconoclasts, is staffed with unapologetically progressive artists whose mantra — Fuck Your Art Degree — says it all. Fort Worth’s arts scene is on the ascendency, and a slew of creative online ventures has shown that not even a pandemic is going to slow that wave. 

Fort Works Art: No Commission

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Fort Worth owes a cultural debt to gallery stalwarts William Campbell Contemporary Art and Artspace 111, and enough can’t be said about their online efforts to place thought-provoking art into local homes. A comparatively newer gallery, Fort Works Art, is putting commissions largely on hold with the stated goal of funneling cash into the pockets of bootstrapped artists.

The first $1,600 of all online art sales via Fortworksart.com/shop through May 31 will go directly to the artist, commission-free. The offerings include, among many others, selections from sculptor Austin Fields’ Touch Series at $600 apiece. The elegantly bulbous centerpieces come in his and hers blue and pinkish hues that will softly blend in or stand out in what probably feels like an ever-shrinking abode.  

Other works include dripping sculptures by Dan Lam, brash paintings of woodland scenes by Erika Duque, nocturnal photographs of Near Southside haunts by Walt Burns, and pop-culture-critiquing graphs by Shasta Haubrich, among others. Many of us are collectively spending more time in our home environment. A new work of art can go a long way in making quarantine a bit more tolerable. 

The Kimbell and Modern Go Online

Fort Worth’s art museums have pivoted to online learning courses that are a great resource for stuck-at-home kiddos and lifelong learners. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth has created a new website (Themodern.org/online-learning-programs) that includes an online gallery, YouTube chats with artists, lectures, podcasts, and art assignments. A cursory glance at the art assignments shows educational videos, quizzes, and activities that can be easily printed out at home.

The Kimbell from Home (Kimbellart.org/kimbell-from-home) offers family art activities, audio tours, videos, and collection highlights. The educational programs include guided drawing exercises. It’s not every day that you see cute doodles of rabbits and frogs next to Michelangelo’s “The Torment of Saint Anthony.”

Blind Alley

Longtime Modern educational director Terri Thornton, with the help of sculptor Cam Schoepp, is moving ahead with the launch of a new multipurpose space for artworks and installations called Blind Alley. New works by Francisco Josué Alvarado Araujo and other artists will be available for streetside viewing (preferably from inside cars and not in groups) at 3317 W 4th St beginning Saturday. 

Cliburn at Home

If you follow the Van Cliburn Foundation on Instagram (@thecliburn), you may have caught a grinning and affable Shields-Collins Bray leading a kid-friendly video that teaches musical concepts. It’s part of a new venture called Cliburn at Home, and, like the Cliburn’s more traditional programming, it’s masterfully done. 

New online programs like Cliburn Watch Party, Cliburn Kids, and Cliburn Amateur Spotlight are accessible via Cliburn.org/cliburn-at-home.

“Music is providing an invaluable respite to a world in quarantine,” one Cliburn statement read. “We join our classical music community worldwide in providing new opportunities to connect through the artform we love in a safe and joyful space for us all, no matter what your age, culture, or physical location.”

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