HRAC takes initiative with new online projects


Courtesy of HRAC

The Hammond Regional Arts Center has instituted several projects to keep people creative at home, including #ChalktheWalkTangi. Locals can submit photo chalk art to HRAC to be featured on their social media.

With a pandemic that has caused several businesses to close their doors, many people have been deprived of their chance to enjoy the arts.

Businesses might be closed, but that has not stopped the Hammond Regional Arts Center from sharing art and providing entertainment for the community. The HRAC is utilizing its Virtual Art Gallery to display the latest artwork, and online art classes are just a click away through its website.

Tara Bennett, media coordinator for HRAC, shared that the transition has motivated staff members to get creative.

“We’ve had to put our creative thinking caps on for sure in terms of how we will function as an organization, but it’s overall been a positive experience,” shared Bennett. “Each of us has been very self-motivated to help the arts center steer the course in this uncertain time.”

Because the pandemic has impacted the livelihoods of artists everywhere, the arts center is dedicated to supporting artists via the Virtual Art Gallery.

Bennett discussed the importance of spreading awareness and giving support to local artists.

“Artists are a group of people who have been affected by this pandemic a lot, as members of our community have been unable to go to galleries or art shows,” mentioned Bennett. “So, we’re showcasing art from area artists on our social media to spread awareness of the importance of art and also to provide a channel for artists to continue selling their work.”

Bennett also explained how the HRAC’s services are extending further than displaying artwork.

“While we are still showcasing art, we realize people will want to do more than look at art on a screen,” said Bennett. “One of those ways we wanted to continue being connected was to offer free online classes. The only cost is your time.”

The online working experience has encouraged HRAC staff members to establish weekly projects for people to enjoy at home.

Bennett shared how people can create art from common household items through the arts center.

“HRAC has also instituted a #TutorialTuesday where we take an item that our followers may have in abundance at home – wine corks, buttons, CDs, et cetera – and we offer different online tutorials of projects that use said item,” shared Bennett. “It’s a fun way to occupy one’s time, get creative, and show off something new without spending a lot of money.”

Along with #TutorialTuesday, the HRAC has also launched #ChalktheWalkTangi, an initiative that encourages locals to decorate sidewalks and driveways with chalk art. Participants have the chance to be featured on the Arts Center’s social media.

Bennett explained why people should unwind with creative activities during this unprecedented time.

“Creating art is an important emotional outlet, which allows us to let out our emotions in a healthy way,” said Bennett. “Right now, it is a very emotional time for us all. When you’re stuck at home with nothing to do, you may as well get creative with the things around you. I’ve found that adult coloring has relieved a lot of my own anxiety and has focused my mind. It’s a very meditative practice.”

Bennett shared how supporting the arts center is an investment in the community.

“Supporting the HRAC helps ensure that we create a progressive center for arts and culture in our region,” explained Bennett. “One of the ways people can help support us is by becoming a member of the HRAC. Students can join for as low as $15 and receive the same amount of benefits as an individual membership. These details can be found on our website, and it’s just a click away to join.”

For Bennett, continuing to spread the mission of the Hammond Regional Arts Center is important work.

“We’ve always been connected with our community, and we wanted to continue enriching lives through the arts even if the gallery is currently closed.”