Sidewalk Film joins panel with special guest Dr. Fauci on the best solutions for reopening art venues

We’ve missed so many things over the past year and grabbing popcorn before a movie with friends is definitely on the list. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now taken pre-pandemic

For over a year, everyone eagerly awaited the return of live concerts, in-person performances and the simple joy of having your ticket ripped at a movie theater. Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema’s Executive Director Chloe Cook will discuss the reopening of venues like the theater and others during a panel led by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) on Tuesday, March 23. It features Dr. Fauci and several leaders in the arts industry—register here.

How will arts organizations reopen their venues in 2021?

Alabama Theatre
We can’t wait to be back at the Alabama Theatre with our friends watching a movie or concert. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now, taken pre-pandemic

Earlier in the year, Sidewalk Film participated in an in-depth study conducted by the NEA. It surveyed nine national arts organizations representing various artistic disciplines, budget sizes and geographic regions.

The study conducted interviews with these organizations on how they resumed in-person programming in 2020, during the pandemic. From the research, the NEA pulled recommendations for promising tactics and insights about how arts venues should reopen.

The free event on Tuesday, March 23 will discuss these findings and new future challenges for 2021 with Chloe Cook and other panelists who participated in the study. It will also feature special guest Dr. Fauci, who currently serves on the White House COVID-19 Response Team.

“One thing I know for sure is that each organization and each community is unique; there is no one right way to have navigated the past year or to navigate the year ahead. 

I’m proud to be on a panel with such a distinguished group of arts professionals, and of course, the incomparable Dr. Fauci!

Chloe Cook, Executive Director, Sidewalk Film Center
  • What: The Art of Reopening—A Virtual Conversation on Reengaging Arts Audiences in Physical Spaces presented by the National Endowment for the Arts
  • When: Tuesday, March 23 from 3-4PM ET
  • Register

Sidewalk Film + more lead by example for other arts venues

Sidewalk Film pivoted on several different fronts to still bring entertainment to Birmingham. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

We can understand why the NEA chose to ask Sidewalk Film about how they continued to serve Birmingham and beyond during the pandemic. The theatre provided resources like home movies, curbside cocktails and concessions and virtual discussions while under lockdown.

Then, as the country began to re-open, the film center found COVID-safe ways for patrons to enjoy the theatre in person. We saw this through the drive-in movies hosted at The Summit in the summer of 2020.

The team at Sidewalk Film also defied the odds and brought back their iconic, and much-anticipated, Sidewalk Film Festival while adhering to strict safety precautions at the Grand River Drive-In.

We’re looking forward to watching Chloe next Tuesday and seeing Birmingham represented positively on a national scale.

“As always, I want to represent myself and Sidewalk from a place of openness, candor and authenticity, in the hopes that someone listening will connect with our experience, and perhaps not feel alone in their uncertainties or struggles.

The past twelve months have been tough for most every industry, especially the arts and live event sectors, and I believe that connecting with, and learning from, our peers is more important now than ever before—we all have so much to share with one another.”

Chloe Cook, Executive Director, Sidewalk Film Center

Check out how other local arts organizations are serving Birmingham during the pandemic:

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