The City West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts Division kicked off its #ArtfulDistancing exhibition for the month of October. Artists will perform, create, or install artworks in and around West Hollywood in relation to social distancing. Audiences are not invited to attend the live events to assure that groups do not gather at any given artwork in adherence to social distancing guidelines. All artwork is being video-recorded and/or photographed as part of an online presentation for viewers to experience safely from their own homes.
On Friday, October 2nd, “Drive By” kicked off the #artfuldistancing exhibits. Artistic contemporary dance performances by the Brockus Project Dance Company (BrockusRED) featured dancers Julienne Mackey and Raymond Egifor performing on the back of a pickup truck. There were six different pop-up performances that ran for 5-10 minutes. WeHo city landmarks were used as backdrops. The dancers kept their distance throughout their performances.
“Our two amazing dancers are responding with a site specific dance form to the locations and offering the people of West Hollywood a bit of joy and art in a time of crazy 2020 COVID,” BrockusRed Artistic Director Deborah Brockus, told WEHO TIMES. “The pieces that they’re doing is adapting to the specific location. They have been working with me for a number of years, so they are picking and pulling and choosing to make it work. They are amazing unique artist that can blend things to show their skills.”
“This is such wonderful treat,” said Julienne Mackey. “It’s been great to be able to dance for a live audience in a neighborhood with people. We haven’t had access to this for a while. It feels so great. The West Hollywood team has been absolutely amazing. It’s such a treat to be with Project Dance and to be performing. It’s a completely different world out there for performers right now, so it’s been wonderful to be able to show some humanity, which is what we need right now.”
“It feels great to be performing again,” Raymond Egifor added. “It’s live theater, live performance, the connection, spontaneity, and the universe affecting whatever happens. I’m just happy to be here performing. I can’t remember the last performance I had. It’s been a while.”
Founded in 1994, BrockusRED has been a strong advocate of social justice and inclusion for all. Their work focuses on engaging as many people as they can in the healing power of art and they dance anywhere for everyone. They are supporting local artists creativity and helping connect community to art. As an organization, BrockusRED coordinates the Los Angeles Dance Festival, supports other charities with funds from their annual Dance/Back production, and they teach across LA County working with underprivileged students to bring joy and power into their lives.
Other Pop-up performances in the #ArfulDistance exhibits include an acapella opera duet singing on the steps of the Library, a musical revue on the traffic median at Santa Monica Boulevard and Doheny Drive, a dance and spoken word performance at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard.
Temporary public art installations including masks on the trunks of trees on Santa Monica Boulevard (only October 4-12), a mural commemorating #ArtfulDistancing on the Sunset Strip, and an Augmented Reality face filter to use your own social media stories;
Virtual exhibitions and performances including documentary short films, photography, poetry readings, and a big band concert will stream on the City’s website weho.org.
Participating artists include: Caleb Alexander, Brockus Project Dance Company, RaeAnne Chanelle, Ari DeSano, Lisa Kenner Grissom, Minita Gandhi, Wesley Middleton, The LA OperaBabes, Andrew Putschoegl, Steven Rahbany, Linda Ravenswood, CK Reed, Wayne Smith and Paul Del Vecchio, Two Button Brass, Victor Yates, and Sarah Zucker.
Those who experience these art exhibits are encouraged to tag @wehoarts and #ArtfulDistancing. Search for the special @wehoarts and #artfuldistancing stickers to include in your Instagram stories.