An Anchorage gallery’s innovative approach to exhibition during a global pandemic
March kicked off with the opening of the annual member’s exhibit at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art (IGCA) in downtown Anchorage, it ended with a full-blown pandemic.
First Fridays bring people downtown to shuffle about their favorite venues, pop into galleries to view new art exhibits and IGCA is always a top spot. The annual member’s exhibit is no doubt one of the most anticipated events of the year and not one to miss, it’s the one you’ve probably been invited to by that artist friend or relative of yours and they probably told you if you can’t make it on opening night, you’ve got all month – Not this year. By the middle of March, IGCA was closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I was traveling the week of the reception and was unable to make it to the gallery before the closure, which was disappointing, to say the least – I have two pieces on display there.
They say necessity is the mother of invention; The staff and volunteers that run IGCA could have easily just closed the doors and waited for this to blow over but they instead they chose to innovate and serve their members and the community in a new way – Indirectly.
First, with the help of Anchorage Museum, display racks were installed in the gallery’s windows and a series of curated rotations allowed IGCA to display the member’s artwork to patrons and passers-by. Then, as offices and schools around the world turned to virtual solutions, so too did IGCA.
First, an online shop was set up so patrons may view the individual pieces, read about the artists and make a purchase. This alone would have been impressive as a substantial amount of work was put into photographing the work and writing the bios but what is most impressive is the 3D panoramic tour available now on the IGCA homepage.
The virtual member’s show will be online through the end of April and since you don’t even need to leave the house to see it, there’s really no excuse to miss it.
IGCA depends on support from the sale of art to patrons and memberships. You don’t need to be an artist to be a member and it’s a great way to show your support for the arts and an institution that enriches the culture of our community by giving artists at all stages of their career an opportunity to exhibit their work in a true gallery setting. I hope you’ll consider supporting IGCA by making a purchase in the online gallery or annual membership.