On April 9 at 7 p.m., the Paradise Center for the Arts in Faribault will hold its first Live auditorium event in 2021. In any other year, waiting until April to have the first show would have been suicide, and yet, this year, it’s a rebirth.

COVID-19 created a season of sadness for everyone. As an art center, we felt that emotion profoundly. We did what most of you did. We cried, we stressed, we cried a bit more, but then we got to work.

We used the time to get our house in order. We cleaned and organized, painted and organized some more. The time without the business of shows and in-person classes allowed us the time to take a fresh look at the way we provided art experiences to our community. It gave us time to learn how to pivot.

We learned that it really isn’t that difficult to teach an art class virtually or stream a performance, rather than have it happen live. Thinking creatively about the ways we serve our community has provided so many opportunities for collaborations with other organizations, and we are grateful for that.

One example is last summer when we held “Art in the Park” and used Central Park and the band shell as our classroom. Thanks to a grant from the Faribault Foundation, and help from Faribault Parks and Recreation, we were able to have a free art activity and story time for children. This was so much fun for all of us that we are going to do it again this summer (stay tuned for the dates).

Livestreaming or recording and streaming shows from the auditorium is something that we had never done before but will become the new normal in our future. As much as we are able, we will be offering a streaming option for our shows. Technology means being able to broaden our audience is a reality. How wonderful for us that now we can provide a way for patrons who are homebound to still enjoy the transformative power of the arts right from their own living room. I am so grateful to the team who helps us to do this.

We understand that coming together inside the auditorium is something that many people are nervous about. This is what we are doing to mitigate that fear. We have a clear ingress and egress system. We take temperatures at the door, and until the mandate changes, we require each patron to wear a mask. We do not have our concessions open for sale, but we are providing one free beverage. Each party will be escorted to their seats by an usher to make sure physical distancing guidelines are met, and the facility is routinely sanitized. We want your experience to be enjoyable and safe.

So join us on April 9 as we welcome The Rebel and the Stranger along with Faribault’s own, Old Country Boys, for our first show of 2021!

Heidi Nelson is the executive director of the Paradise Center for the Arts.

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