Art Without Boundaries: Streaming Kit Program Offers New Platform to Downtown Artists and Arts Organizations

When the Arlington Museum of Art live-streamed the week-long installation process of the acclaimed 30 Americans exhibition, it was the first time the organization had ever provided that kind of behind-the-scenes access.

The free streaming event, which was presented in partnership with Downtown Arlington (and is still available in its entirety on the AMA Facebook page), showcases the work of professional installers as they handle original works by groundbreaking artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, and Kehinde Wiley. 

This online showcase isn’t the only livestream Downtown Arlington has produced in partnership with artists and arts organizations in the Arlington Cultural District. In the last few months, you may have tuned in to a bagpiper performing at J. Gilligan's Saint Patrick's Day party, Wheel Wars pottery throwing competition at Catalyst Creative Studios, a variety of artist demonstrations and live music at the West Main Arts Festival, this week's Take Out Tuesday concert, and a live broadcast from the Arlington Independence Day Parade.

Thanks in part to a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, artists and arts organizations located or collaborating in Downtown Arlington are reaching a much broader audience through a new road streaming kit program.

The concept for the road stream kit, which has been bouyed by the recently-released arts economic impact study, came directly from stakeholder feedback collected during Downtown Arlington's comprehensive shared arts feasibility study last year.

From musicians and visual artists to actors and dancers, the study emphasized, the Arlington Cultural District is full of talent. Separated by a world of social distancing, the missing pieces were simply a lack of streaming production expertise and access to equipment. A grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts to Downtown Arlington provided the funding for all the necessary equipment and training.

“During the peak months of the pandemic, we learned a lot about the value of and technical requirements for producing good streaming content,” said Maggie Campbell, President and CEO of Downtown Arlington. “The Live at the Levitt series in particular showed us that the shelf life of quality content is measured in months and years, not minutes and hours. Great video also allows artists and arts organizations to reach beyond geographic boundaries to new patrons and fans.”

Currently the Downtown Arlington road stream kit, training, and production support are available for free on a first come, first served basis to artists and arts organizations who work or exhibit/perform in the Arlington Cultural District. The resulting programming may be offered for free or as pay per view. At the conclusion of the TCA grant cycle, which is on August 31, the Downtown Arlington Cultural Arts Committee will evaluate the results of the road streaming program and make recommendations for its continuation.

Two different streaming kits – a “Studio Kit” and a “Road Kit” – provide maximum flexibility. The Studio Kit contains Sony prosumer cameras, PTZ remote control cameras, podcasting, vocal and instrument microphones, a teleprompter, and much more. The Road Kit pairs a DSLR with any camera phone to provide a quicker setup and an easier stream. Both kits come with access to Premium Vimeo streaming services which can be used to host On Demand content, private streams, and sell tickets to digital events.

Qualifying individuals and organizations in Downtown Arlington who are interested in taking advantage of the free streaming kits should contact Garrett Martin at garret@downtownarlington.org.

“The great thing about this equipment is that it’s really easy to learn how to use,” said Garret. “Streaming video has the innate ability to amplify even the simplest event. Lectures, concerts, art demonstrations, workshops and other live performances can reach a much broader audience over time when they are offered both in person and online.”

ABOUT DOWNTOWN ARLINGTON   

Designated by the State of Texas as the Arlington Cultural District, Downtown Arlington is where creativity, authenticity, and hometown pride thrive and drive what's next. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to a top tier public research university, prolific visual and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Stay in the know by subscribing to our e-newsletter and by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.