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Virtual format keeps Ogden Arts Stroll alive, social distancing measures in place or not

By Mitch Shaw, Standard-Examiner - | Mar 30, 2020
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Artist Jane Font stops by her studio to pick up supplies on Monday, March 30, 2020, at The Monarch. Font is one of many local artists that participate in the First Friday Art Stroll, which has been moved online due to the social distancing restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local art can still be seen this Friday by following the hashtag #ogdensharesart on social media.

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Artist Jane Font stops by her studio to pick up supplies on Monday, March 30, 2020, at The Monarch. Font is one of many local artists that participate in the First Friday Art Stroll, which has been moved online due to the social distancing restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local art can still be seen this Friday by following the hashtag #ogdensharesart on social media.

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Spray painted murals by Ogden area artists line the walls outside of Wasatch Roasting Company in Downtown Ogden in 2018. 

OGDEN — Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll will go on this week, in a fashion, despite ever expanding social distancing measures being implemented across the state. 

The city’s arts department announced the popular art stroll would be held virtually, at least through April, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Ogden-area artists can be featured in the event by taking a photo or video of their art and posting it to social media using the hashtag #OgdenSharesArt.

“Due to the social distancing and the changes happening around the world, we decided on involving everyone in this art stroll,” said Regina Esparza, marketing and communications coordinator for Ogden City Arts, Culture & Events. “We look forward to seeing all the creative things that people are doing to pass time.

“One thing that doesn’t change is art. It is all around us and we sometimes don’t realize it. Have you made a painting, a drawing, or a craft or two at home? If you are a local business such as a coffee shop, show us your coffee art. Did you make a food dish, cake or cupcakes? Show us.”

Esparza said art submitted under the hashtag will be featured on the arts department’s Instagram (Ogden_Arts) and Facebook (@OgdenCityArts & @OgdensFirstFridayArtStroll) pages from 6-9 p.m. Friday, April 3.

Until further notice, the virtual stroll will be the way the city carries out the event, but Ogden City’s Arts Coordinator Lori Buckley said she hopes the health crisis won’t stop anyone from enjoying or making art. 

“Show your community pride and your creativity with this new way of enjoying art together,” Buckley said.

Ogden artist Jane Font is working on a watercolor piece for the virtual stroll and said she was pleased that the event would continue, despite some uncertain times. Font, who once ran the popular Pandemonium Art Gallery on Historic 25th Street and now works out of The Monarch building on 25th Street, just east of Washington Boulevard, said news of the virtual stroll came as a much needed pleasant surprise.

“I think a lot of people thought, ‘Well, I guess the art stroll is just going to be canceled,” she said. “So the fact that the city has found a way to keep it going during this time is pretty refreshing. It’s something people can still look forward to.”

Font said she believes art is playing an important role as the pandemic continues to unfold. She said many people are looking for distractions, for joy and to have their minds challenged as uncertainty reigns supreme. Art can do all of those things, she said.

“I’ve noticed a bigger interest and appreciation in art during the past few weeks,” Font said. “I think people are still looking for entertainment, and maybe more than anything right now, a morale boost.” 

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