Story by Julia Baca. Photos courtesy of Coppell Arts Center.
At a time when COVID-19 has kept us apart, Managing Director, Alex Hargis and his team at Coppell Arts Center are finding ways to bring people back together. After its long-anticipated October 13th grand “Hopening,” Coppell Arts Center is providing much-anticipated programming to the community in a safe and sanitized environment.
Coppell Arts Center was originally supposed to open in May. However, like many other arts organizations, it was held back by the pandemic. After months of construction delays and cancellations of many events, they are ready for action. Six months later, things look a little different, but people can still enjoy the arts.
During the summer, the Center launched its drive-in movie series with great success. Alex shared, “we had to get ultra creative because we wanted people to connect with the venue even if they couldn’t come inside.” Although they will continue to offer this great program, the “Hopening” promises exciting new programs for everyone to enjoy. The programs slated for this fall include the art exhibition, Locally Sourced, a touch-free digital game room called Digi Land, and the expanded “Try Something New” series that features art workshops taught by local painter and sculptor, Anita Robbins. Locally Sourced, specifically celebrates the passion and creativity of Coppell artists. Each piece in the exhibition is created by local talent. Coming in November, Digi Land Coppell’s truly innovative program. The Center has transformed its black box space into a touch-free digital game room. Using gesture-tracking projectors, the space allows anyone to come in enjoy playing a game without picking up a controller.
In the future, Coppell Arts Center is looking forward to bringing out-of-town artists to the community, but right now, they are proud to emphasize the work of local artists. Alex mentions that although some of those larger acts are far off, there is an incredible opportunity to work with its resident art groups to create content that doesn’t even exist yet. They are also collaborating with other Dallas area organizations like Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Black Theatre, and Theatre 3. Like anything, things are ever-changing, but Alex says, “we want our programs to be what people want. We want to entertain and inspire people.”
A critical component of Coppell Arts Center’s operation is safety and sanitation. Alex mentioned that the center is committed to the health and safety of all patrons. Visitors are required to wear masks, touch-free thermal checks are in place upon arrival, and socially distancing is a must. As things slowly open, we are all finding a new sense of normalcy. Alex shares, “we need to crawl, then walk, then run in this opening process.” The Center’s thoughtful planning and health protocols are communicated in their Welcome Video on their website.
Many arts organizations are struggling right now and Alex mentioned the most important way audiences can support arts organizations is by doing research and attending events in-person. Alex says, “when an organization does its due diligence, you will feel safe when you go and it will help build back confidence for the community and the artists.” There is a lot of uncertainty in our world right now with the pandemic. Organizations like Coppell Arts Center are working hard to bring people together in a safe way. Alex emphasized, “we all have to pitch in, one ticket at a time, to get this industry back and running.”
For more information about Coppell Arts Center and their unique events, visit their website here.