In response to the pandemic, state regulations, and in the best interests of the community, the Garfield Center for the Arts created GCTV – The Garfield Streams the Arts. This program has given home audiences weekly streamed live content to enjoy in the comfort and safety of their own homes. The program began streaming live on The Garfield’s Facebook page on March 25 and has continued to stream new content each week. The Garfield Center’s Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/garfieldcenterforthearts and the live stream begins at 7:30 p.m. each Wednesday.
“It’s been a real challenge,” said Steven Arnold, Executive Director for The Garfield Center, “but we began in a very community-minded place. We wanted the power of the arts, and specifically the Garfield Center and the efforts of our staff, to help support and maintain a sense of community and participation even as the circumstances of COVID-19 were keeping us apart.”
“None of our staff had television or broadcasting experience,” he continued. “Our goal for each GCTV episode is between 30 and 60 minutes in performance length. Although GCTV is probably nowhere near as complicated as creating a weekly sitcom or television drama, it is still a lot of work and we are all new to this. We’ve learned a lot and gotten better at it each week, and community feedback has been overwhelmingly supportive. We are proud of what we have achieved and pleased to be able to serve our community during these strange and difficult times.”
GCTV presents a variety of content showcasing local and regional talent each week. Past programs featured music performances from Eastern Shore performers Bob and Pam Ortiz, Nevin Dawson, Fredy Granillo, Philip Dutton and Brad Chaires, among others. Other performances by a variety of stage and musical theatre performers have also occurred, as both a part of planned episodes and via contributions to GCTV Public Access, a regular GCTV program that premieres audience-submitted content. Videos of past GCTV presentations can be found on the GCA’s Facebook page and have been uploaded to their YouTube page at www.youtube.com/PrinceTheatreCtown.
GCTV’s schedule also included GCTV Public Access – Kids Edition, which featured audience-submitted youth performances on Wednesday, June 24. Also upcoming is GCTV ENCORE – An ANNIE Orphan Reunion! scheduled for Wednesday, July 1. This presentation reunites the kids who played the orphans in the Garfield Center’s hugely successful production of “ANNIE The Musical” last year. Moderated by Melissa McGlynn, who played Miss Hannigan in the production, and produced by Jennifer Kafka Smith, the Director of “ANNIE,” the program will not only give the young actors an opportunity to reunite, via Zoom, and reflect on their experience with the production, it will also premiere music video performances by the group as they perform self-isolated, cabaret versions of a song or two from the show.
Other GCTV ideas currently in development include the recreation of classic television game shows using local celebrities, movie nights, more music performances, additional Public Access programs and the conversion of our annual Short Attention Span Theatre 10-minute play festival into an online event.
“We are thrilled with the community participation and response we have received with GCTV,” Steven said, “and The Garfield Center is committed to continuing it for as long as social distancing is necessary and until we can safely reopen our facility. While we hope for a return to normalcy sooner rather than later, we know that we will continue to entertain and nurture the cultural identity of our community through arts entertainment and participation in whatever way is available to us. Join us on Wednesday nights to see what we’re up to and prepare to be entertained!”