Virtual Arts Education Beyond the Pandemic


The pandemic required arts organizations to pivot swiftly from “in-person” arts education programming to “virtual.” Many discovered that even in a time of great social isolation, the arts are a conduit for meaningful connection and interaction. As schools reopen and virtual programming becomes less essential, what is the value in continuing virtual programs? How can arts organizations utilize virtual platforms to break down economic and distance barriers and broaden access to arts education? In this session, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts shares strategies for designing responsive, interactive virtual arts education programs by highlighting examples of its virtual programming. Additionally, participants can explore opportunities, challenges and potential solutions for continuing virtual programming beyond the pandemic through a visioning exercise. Presenters discuss assessment of demand, communication tactics, inclusive virtual learning experiences and teaching artist training and support.


Bryna Shindell, Assistant Director, National and Affiliate Services, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
Cate Bechtold, Director, Internships and Community Programs, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
Valerie Branch, Master Teaching Artist, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Access additional 2021 AEP Virtual Gathering resources here.

Author profile

Title: 2280 Pasos Bajo un Cielo Nublado | Artist: Hernán Jourdan | Medium: Film

When I was asked to create a work of art exploring literacy, I wanted to create a dance but I had no dancers or a studio, so I chose to use my own body in the space I had, my yard. Fluent Nature is video of micro-choreography that explores what cannot be expressed with words, how nature has its own language, and how placing the human body in nature changes the story.

Title: What Is Me and What Is Not Me | Artist: Alex Chadwell | Medium: Music

My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

Title: A Curious Honeybee | Artist: Gideon Young | Medium: Film

Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

Title: Tercera Llamada | Artist: Karilú Forshee | Medium: Audio

La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

Title: Literaseas | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite and ink on paper with digital edits

Title: A Riddle | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits

Title: False Binaries | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits