Looking for a silver lining in this coronavirus catastrophe? Look at the Baton Rouge Gallery.

No, you can't go there. But you can become one of its artists.

With a bit of a wink, the BREC facility has created a Flat Curve Gallery.

You can view it online and, better yet, contribute to it.

"Who knows?" said Jason Andreasen, the gallery's executive director. "It might lead to our discovery of new artists through this project. I'd be lying if I said we hadn't thought about it."

Almost immediately after local and state governments began shutting down various enterprises, Baton Rouge Gallery put the Flat Curve Gallery online. The name comes from the goal of "flattening the curve" of the virus' infection rate to lessen the stress on the health care system.

"We started talking about it when we came to the realization that we needed to close the gallery like other arts organizations and public places were having to do," Andreasen said. "But we just didn't want to throw our hands up and say, 'We're closed,' and not continue to engage the community and promote the value of art."

With everyone hunkering down in isolation mode, Andreasen said he knew people, especially those with youngsters at home, would need something to do.

"And we still wanted to promote creativity," he said, "even when we're far away from each other."

Artists of all ages and experience levels can post their artistic endeavors created after March 13 at the gallery's website (look under programs for Flat Curve Gallery). It's free.

"We look at all the artwork first to make sure there is nothing offensive," Andreasen said. "But anyone can post here. Whether you’re 5 or 55, we want our community to grab a crayon, a paintbrush, a handful of clay or whatever helps them create and allow us to share."

The new gallery is a "fun way to bring everyone together through art at a time when we can't get together," he added. "And once it's on the website, we'll also share it on our social media platforms so others can see what you're doing."

Pieces can be inspired by the pandemic or have nothing to do with it, Andreasen said, adding the art can be anything from abstract to photorealistic. "We're open to everything." 

Artists must submit their name, media, the title of their work and a small artist's statement about the work. 

Other arts organizations reaching out to audiences online include:

  • The LSU Museum of Art is offering a virtual glimpse of its 6,500-piece permanent collection of art objects, ranging from a world-class collection of Chinese jade to one of the most comprehensive public collections of Louisiana art at lsumoa.org/permanent-collection.
  • The Louisiana Art & Science Museum is offering videos of its regular programming and a virtual tour of its exhibits at lasm.org/play-learn/virtual-exploration.
  • Knock Knock Children's Museum has a parents' resource guide filled with videos and links to fun activities for children at knockknockmuseum.org/parentguide.
  • In Lafayette, the Acadiana Center for the Arts has responded to school closures, by adapting one of its in-school programs, Primary Academic Creative Experience, or PACE, for remote learning. Kindergarten through second grade students can tune into arts-integrated learning activities led by the association's teaching artists at youtube.com/channel/UCnsSgVyITMY8EnhjcCUBx5g/playlists. New PACE lessons are added every weekday at 10 a.m. for each age group. You can also join the association's Arts-in-Education Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/artseducationacadiana.
  • The Louisiana State Museum system is offering virtual tours of all of its sites. Visit louisianastatemuseum.org, then scroll down to the list of museums and make a selection. You will receive a notice that the museum is closed, but if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you will see the virtual tour. Click on it and take the tour. The state museum system also is offering education resources for children at louisianastatemuseum.org/education.
  • Mud House Art and Literature, mudhouseart.com, in Baton Rouge is offering eight free, six-week online courses in writing, history, literature and philosophy, among other subjects, through the Classical College platform. Visit the-classical-college.teachable.com/courses to sign up.

Email Robin Miller at romiller@theadvocate.com