Princeton art and music organizations turn to virtual interactions with community residents

The McCarter Theatre in Princeton during a sunny afternoon on March 26. ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF
The McCarter Theatre in Princeton during a sunny afternoon on March 26. ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF

Art and music organizations in Princeton are navigating the landscape of closed galleries and cancelled performances during the coronavirus outbreak.

Some of those organizations are the McCarter Theatre, Princeton Symphony Orchestra and Princeton University’s Art Museum and Concerts, which are now interacting with the community virtually.

McCarter Theatre has canceled events through June 30 with staff continuing to work remotely.

Even though the theater has canceled performances it is interacting with people virtually by celebrating art, artists and creative projects. The virtual interactions also include fun at-home activities and a look back on McCarter’s favorite productions.

According to the theater, 6,000 ticket buyers were affected by the cancellations and theater closure.

McCarter Theatre’s senior leadership said patrons have rallied around McCarter with kind words and ticket donations.

The theater is aided financially by the ticket donations from ticket holders and has already received several donations, according to Robert Caruso, board president, and McCarter’s senior leadership team.

The theater was also recently aided by a $25,000 emergency support grant from the Laurents Hatcher Foundation.

“I cannot overstate how important this generous grant is to the McCarter family,” McCarter Managing Director Michael Rosenberg said. “As is the case with arts institutions across the country, McCarter is dealing with the continuing financial fallout from the current health crisis. Critical support from our community will help McCarter weather this storm.

Princeton University’s Art Museum and Concerts have also moved to virtual interactions with residents.

According to James Steward, director of the Princeton Art Museum, the art museum has closed their retail stores, museum and gallery venue.

The museum is offering online lectures and highlights of current exhibitions on its website and is currently planning more virtual content for viewers.

Princeton University Concerts (PUC) has cancelled the remainder of its 2019-20 season and is focusing on remote initiatives moving forward.

“PUC has pledged financial support to artists affected by canceled work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an initiative supported by a large majority of ticket holders who have chosen to donate their ticket refunds to this cause,” said Dasha Koltunyuk, spokesperson for PUC. “As part of this initiative, musicians have continued to remotely engage with our audiences.”

Koltunyuk is referencing the Collaborative Listening Project. The project invites the community to listen to free playlists on Spotify curated both by the PUC team and by musicians who are part of the PUC family, who share their thoughts on their selections.

According to Koltunyuk, other remote initiatives are being developed for the community.

For more information about art lectures or music performances, visit McCarter Theatre, PSO and Princeton University websites.