Like many art institutions and organizations in this time of COVID-19, the Cultural County for Palm Beach County has shifted its offerings online, with a summer lineup of free virtual programming, including art exhibitions and the performing arts.
Their six-performance music series began in June with “A Jazz Tribute to Musicals” featuring Yvette Norwood-Tiger and continues with Jill and Rich Switzer and Friends performing “A Latin Affair” on July 11, “The Man with the Horn” on August 1, and “Cheek to Cheek” on September 15.
On Aug. 15, West Palm Beach vocalist Meri Ziev performs “In Other Words,” a New York-style cabaret performance, followed Aug. 29 by “One Love: A Tribute to Bob Marley,” featuring Soda Pop and the Insiders.
Because it’s a virtual performance without a live audience, Keith “Soda Pop” Squire, whose ultimate goal is to play Bob Marley in a film, says it’s a chance to exercise extreme creativity and give it his all.
“I’m so honored to perform for the Cultural Council,” says Squire, a West Palm Beach native who began his career in school as a “positive rapper.”
“Bob Marley’s message of peace and bringing people together resonates today with the movement for social justice and Black Lives Matter,” he said.
During the quarantine, he’s been active caring for a new daughter and gardening, where he says he mines his creative inspiration.
On September 12, the focus shifts to dance with “Art Shift: An Evening of Dance,” featuring Demetrius Klein and his Demetrius Klein Dance Company; Donna Goffredo Murray; Anna Nunes, AGWA Dance Company; Ericka Squire, Natural Movers/Dance Project; and Elizabeth (Libby) Faber, Arise Dance Collective.
Faber, a Palm Beach Gardens native and recent Juilliard graduate who finished her final semester on Zoom thanks to COVID-19, will create an original 7-minute contemporary dance piece for the Cultural Council.
Inspired by her classmates (“my biggest inspiration and motivators”), Faber will collaborate with a jazz musician and utilize improvisation as a catalyst to generate her movement vocabulary.
“Performing online is a really great way to reach people who wouldn’t be able to attend a live performance,” says Faber. “It can reach more people and people have time now to watch. Nothing can replace live theater or live performance, but virtual performance is the best option and a good way to stay involved with the arts community.”
Exhibits range from Ken Davidoff’s photographs of the 1969 Palm Beach Pop Festival; Lake Worth photographer Philip Paritsky’s Kodachrome or iPhone?; Summer Abstraction, by Petrina Easton and Easton Art Galleries; to Delray Beach artist Sharon Koskoff’s Alone Together: A Coronavirus Crisis Collage — A Socially Distant Installation.
As soon as the stay-at-home orders were issued in mid-March, Koskoff put out a call for submissions to the local arts community and spent the next three months creating a 30-foot-by-5-foot art installation reflecting life in the time of quarantine.
”I was living inside this mural for three months – it took over my living space,” joked Koskoff from her home, where she has been working nonstop Photoshopping, cropping, printing, matting, collecting 139 relevant headlines from local newspapers and composing the installation.
Of this labor-intensive endeavor, she says her intent was to reflect the opposite of the chaos of the virus, creating an orderly, precise and mathematical work.
More than 100 artists submitted 164 images of animals, food and veggies, landscapes, sunsets and items with personal meaning. Koskoff added her own keepsakes to the piece, including photos of Jell-O reminding her of her mother and images from family photos.
She took four days to compose the larger installation, juxtaposing images to balance color, size and shapes.
Gratified with the results, Koskoff says, “I love every single square.”
Coincidentally, the show opened June 13, a symbolic day for Koskoff and the anniversary of her mother’s passing.
“It doesn’t get more personal than this,” said Koskoff.
Making the comparison to viewing the Statue of Liberty in person or exclusively as an image, Koskoff says seeing her installation in person is “spiritually overwhelming.”
“It brings you right back to this moment in time, with all the pain, sadness and joy,” she says. “It tells the story of what it is to be alone, disconnected and trying desperately to stay connected.”
If you view
To access the exhibitions, including artist interviews, special content and more, follow the Council at @palmbeachculture or visit palmbeachculture.com/exhibitions. For more information about each performance, visit palmbeachculture.com/summer.
Performances will be streamed for free on YouTube and the Council’s website. All performances start at 7 p.m. While there is no charge to participate, donations to the Council and directly to the creative professionals are encouraged.