Claudia Kahl

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is hosting its first online exhibition of art, “Hindsight 2020: Art of This Moment,” which opened on Oct. 3.

 The exhibition is a curation of artwork produced by members from all over the Central Florida area. Each piece of artwork is inspired by the artists’ personal experiences and stories during the quarantine period.

 Each piece brings something different to the table, with some being composed prior to COVID-19, and others being composed in August toward the end of the quarantine period. 

 In the effort of creating a safe, socially-distanced way to appreciate art, the Polk Museum of Art needed to find a way to continue to engage and interact with its community. Creating an online exhibit has allowed them to continue to interact with their audiences.

 By making the exhibition completely virtual, the museum has opened a new door for allowing a wider variety of artists to submit their works. One of the only obstacles that they faced was deciding which artists to feature, which was difficult because a total of 232 submitted works.

 “I proposed the concept of this type of “Art of This Moment” exhibition to my team back in April, and we all loved the idea of opening a call to artists of all ages and talents, who could submit works of art that documented in real-time their diverse creative reactions to the five months between March and August of this year,” Dr. Rich said. “We put the call out in July, and the submission process was open to art of all media and to artists of all age ranges and all talents; the only limitation we set was the number of works each artist could submit (no more than six) and that they reside in Central Florida.”

 Another benefit with “Hindsight 2020” being virtual is that a wider audience is able to view the works of art. Previously, people would have to travel to the museum to view the works. Now, the online collection is easily accessible from a laptop, tablet or smartphone. 

  “An online exhibition may be seen as more successful in its ability to be more inclusive, to address and collect art made in the present moment, and to be accessible by a much wider audience,” Dr. Rich said. “Fewer people are able to come to the Museum right now, of course, so an online exhibition finds greater success in its wider engagement; it also reaches a public audience that may never otherwise make their way to Lakeland to visit us in person.” 

Since its first online exhibition has proven to be quite a success, the Polk Museum of Art plans to continue with the online format in the future. Students, staff and the public can expect to be able to view more art pieces in this virtual format, as well as in-person. 

As a student in the Art History and Museum Studies program, I think virtual exhibitions like ‘Hindsight 2020’ are a great example of how the arts continually adapt and change through each moment in history,” art history major Rachel DiPofi said. “In my opinion, virtual exhibitions are a wonderful tool to bring people together when physically meeting is not possible. While I don’t think virtual exhibitions are always an exact replica of the experience you may have in a physical art museum, ‘Hindsight 2020’ and other exhibitions like it are and will be a great tool (no matter the circumstances) for those who might not always be able to visit a museum in person.”

The exhibit is available to view at https://polkmuseumofart.org/hindsight2020.

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