Panama City art scene starting to return

The pandemic has taken a toll on the local arts scene. We'll have an update on how artists plan...
The pandemic has taken a toll on the local arts scene. We'll have an update on how artists plan to pick up where they left off. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: May. 30, 2020 at 3:19 AM CDT
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The Panama City Center for the Arts will reopen its doors after closing for nearly two months due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“All this trouble we got going on you need art. Art brings self-expression, great emotion, happiness, joy. Even if it’s for a moment as you’re walking by it,” said local street photographer Chesarae Walley.

Many like Walley will tell you art is a major part of any community, including Panama City.

“It’s beautiful work and you get to express things and get things off your chest and make you feel good,” said Walley.

Local art lovers and artists haven’t felt much at all lately since several places like the Panama City Center for the Arts have been closed due to the coronavirus.

Dixie Clough with the Bay Art Alliance said the center has been closed for nearly two months and they’ve postponed some of their events, including the 57th Bay Annual Competition and Exhibition.

“We’re moving Bay Annual a month back. We’ve only had to cancel three shows and we’re kind of rescheduling things and thinking things through,” said Clough.

Clough said the Panama City Center for the Arts will reopen next Friday and they plan on holding several events while following social distancing guidelines.

“What we’re gonna do is we have a maximum of 40 people in the galleries. We aren’t gonna be doing any big event for a while. We’re gonna be doing deep cleaning several times a week. For high touch points like elevators buttons and banisters we’re gonna be cleaning those several times a day,” said Clough.

Clough said they’re also planning online events.

City officials say the Martin Theater, which was closed after Hurricane Michael hit, is making progress.

They say they’re working on designs for the interior of the building but the exterior should be completed by the end of the year.

Panama City officials say they’re working with FEMA, Hagerty Consulting and the city’s disaster specialists to evaluate damage assessments and engineering reports for the Panama City Marina Civic Center.

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