‘The show must go on’ for two Gold Coast Arts Center events despite coronavirus pandemic

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The Gold Coast Arts Center will hold their 25th anniversary gala on a virtual platform Sept. 14. The center's 10th film festival, which has featured entertainers such as Robert Wagner, will occur on a hybrid platform from Oct. 13-20. (Photo courtesy of the Gold Coast Arts Center)

The Gold Coast Arts Center had abided by the old adage of “the show must go on,” transferring its programs and events online due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, in the center’s 25th year, two of its major events will also be held in nontraditional manners.

Gold Coast’s founder and executive director, Regina Gil, confirmed that the center’s 25th Anniversary Gala will be held virtually on the evening of Sept. 14.  Gil said those in charge of organizing the gala agreed that holding the event on a virtual platform was the safest way to ensure it would happen without any risks of the virus spreading.

“Even if things are opening, it will be gradually,” Gil said. “Our supporters and parents of students have a certain level of anxiety [regarding the pandemic], and we did not want to risk anything.”

Gil said planning the event even under the most ideal circumstances can be strenuous, and the added pressure of having everyone in attendance abide by state-mandated health measures would only make matters more difficult.

“Staging a full party with 2-300 people is very expensive and difficult to coordinate under good circumstances,” she said. “There was just no way this could happen in person this year. We hoped for a bigger and in-person celebration, but we will still find a way to properly and safely celebrate 25 great years.”

Despite the changing of the platform, Gil said, those in attendance can still expect guest appearances, silent auctions, raffles and other surprises that will keep everyone entertained from the confines of their homes. Gil expressed her gratitude to the Gold Coast staff and supporters and said donations were needed to keep the arts center in business.

“Our center is based on support from the public, grants, foundations and individuals,” Gil said. “Even buying a book from one of our book talk events goes a long way. We depend so much on the public and we’re asking and hoping that people find that level of support to donate anything.”

One of the center’s most prominent public events is the international film festival, which is entering its 10th year. The festival, according to the center’s associate director and film festival director, Caroline Sorokoff, will be adopting a “hybrid model” featuring virtual and drive-in screenings.

“The one thing I can assure people that will not change about the festival is the quality of films that will be shown,” Sorokoff said. “The only thing that will really be changing are the medians in which the films and events will be held.”

Sorokoff said the film festival will run from Oct. 13-20 and the locations of the drive-in film screenings and Q&A events are still to be finalized.

Ahead of last year’s film festival, Sorokoff spoke on the importance of experiencing a movie with others in the audience.  Though people who attend the events will not get that same experience, Sorokoff said, the virtual platform offers a new and different experience people should look forward to.

“As we’ve seen, people are comfortable watching films at home,” Sorokoff said. “People have to look at the experience in a different way. One of the silver linings of going to a virtual platform has been reaching people and new virtual audiences that may not have participated before due to geographical or time limitations.”

Sorokoff echoed Gil’s remarks about depending on the public’s support and the effort that the Gold Coast staff has put in to ensure programs ranging from painting classes to an international film festival happen safely and seamlessly.

“We’ve all been working tirelessly to ensure we continue to provide what people expect from us,” Sorokoff said.

“Just like our name, we want to provide people with the gold standard for all of our events,” Gil said.

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