COVID-19 Update Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA)

COVID-19 Update from Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA’s Director Annette Cone-Skelton.

Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA)

Annette Cone-Skelton


After closing its doors March 13, the staff at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) began assessing how to continue making the art of Georgia artists more accessible in a virtual setting. Their experience mirrors the response of many gallery owners, museum curators, and facility programmers.

“In a very short time, the staff learned new skills including video editing, 360 stitching, and how to livestream Zoom meetings,” says MOCA GA director Anne Cone-Skelton.

The scheduled exhibition, “Celebrating Georgia Artists of Hispanic/Latinx Origin,” was transformed into an online format. All images, artist statements, and resumes were posted online along with artist-submitted studio videos. MOCA GA then beefed up its presence on Instagram with related content including entries by Working Artist Project (WAP) Fellows and artists from the Georgia Artists of Hispanic/Latinx Origin exhibition.

Raw video from Working Artist Project artist talks and MOCA GA retrospectives was pulled from the server, reformatted, and edited for upload to the MOCA GA YouTube channel. The channel now features an introduction video by Cone-Skelton and images from years of WAP exhibitions. New, curated pages feature artist talks and oral histories and videos. Newly created trivia games, puzzles, and word games help virtual visitors maneuver the website. Virtual tours made with 360 technology allow visitors to “walk through” MOCA GA galleries.

In the fall, the MOCA GA WAP Series continues with the first of three exhibitions. The first one, featuring 2019/20 WAP Fellow William Downs, opens in September, followed by Ariel Dannielle in November, and Courtney McLellan at the end of January. The call for artists, jurying, and studio visits were virtually handled using an online site and Zoom for all studio visits. WAP winners for 20/21 — Davion Alston, Kelly Taylor Mitchell, and Erin Jane Nelson — were recently announced via live streaming.

MOCA GA is planning on reopening its doors in September with required masks, timed ticketing, and separate entrance and exit points to ensure directional flow. Hands-free soap and hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed, and all surfaces of the facility will be scrupulously cleaned to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

The museum’s HVAC system has been equipped with HEPA 99.99 percent-rated filters. Many of the changes prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, such as flex-work for staff, virtual exhibitions, and streaming artist talks, will continue indefinitely.

Says Cone-Skelton, “MOCA GA is embracing the new normal for the future.”