Businesses and organizations, large and small, across the state have all been impacted by the coronavirus, but they aren’t alone. Events, festivals, tourism attractions also have been affected — many have had to cancel completely or reschedule. But one such festival has decided to go virtual instead.
The Panoply Arts Festival in Huntsville is North Alabama’s largest annual celebration of art, music and more. Typically held in March, the festival was put on hold earlier this year as COVID-19 made its way into Alabama. Organizers scrambled and came up with a plan.
April 24th and 25th will feature some of the artists originally planned to perform at the three-day event that would have been held in Big Spring Park. The difference is they will be on a live broadcast, starting at 6 p.m. on April 24th on Arts Huntsville’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/artshuntsville/.
The two-day virtual event will feature 15 local musical acts from Panoply 2020 and previous festivals. Hosts Judy Allison, of Purple 19, and Patrice Johnson, of Arts Huntsville, will highlight the juried artists, musicians, local food experiences, arts organizations, community groups, sponsors and volunteers that have made Panoply a signature arts festival for 38 years.
“While the three-day 2020 Panoply Arts Festival was cancelled last month, our local musicians, artist and arts organizations have continued to work each day to uplift North Alabama residents with virtual arts and entertainment experiences,” said Allison Dillon-Jauken, Arts Huntsville executive director. “We created #iPanoply to celebrate our local arts community and share a snapshot of the great entertainment they had planned for Panoply weekend.”
The event will host live performances April 24th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and April 25th from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
In addition, each year Arts Huntsville commissions a local artist to create a piece of art that captures the spirit of the Panoply Arts Festival and the community. The 2020 festival artist is John “Jahni” Moore and his work will be showcased throughout the #iPanoply event. In addition, his festival artwork titled “Reconstruction” will be available for purchase as a t-shirt and poster through May 11 at www.artshuntsville.org. Proceeds from the t-shirt and poster will support Arts Huntsville’s Individual Artist Emergency Relief Grant Fund, which was launched in March with $25,000 from Arts Huntsville’s reserve funds. Professional visual and performing artists in Madison County can apply for grants from the fund in the amounts of $250 to $500 to cover immediate expenses.