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COVID & the Arts: RME Goes Online

Despite being closed through the end of March, Davenport’s River Music Experience is finding silver linings in the clouds of coronavirus.

Canceled shows at the Redstone Room are being rescheduled for later in the year, and RME is still serving its mission - like many, mostly online, says executive director Tyson Danner.

"So far that's taken the form of a daily, morning kids music time called Music Lab. Mr. Brett gets on Livestream and sings some songs, tells some stories, and talks about music."

Credit RME
Tyson Danner, Ex. Dir. River Music Experience

The half-hour episodes are available on the RME Facebook page.

They’re also planning to feature videos of local bands on Facebook and rivermusicexperience.org. Online donations will be split among the musicians.

"A lot of people have heard that musicians are some of the worst hit by this so far because those musicians who make their living doing gigs don't have as much access to things like standard unemployment. So a lot of those musicians are totally out of income, so one of things we're going to do is try to get some donations coming in, in the form of sort of an online tip jar." 
"On the whole of course, the support for the arts and culture scene is going to be really crucial. And as all of our revenue dries up in the form of events and ticket sales and education programs we're all going to be relying on donations and funders like the RDA and SCRA which have just re-designed their spring grant cycle."
It's also presenting the RME with opportunities they never thought of before.

"But now that we've had to learn how this works and do these recordings and get the musicians' okay to post them online, we're realizing there's a lot of value in it. And a lot of what we're learning right now, we're going to keep doing once things go back to "normal."

The RME encourages people to contribute to the non-profit at rivermusicexpereiencedotorg / donate. 

Formerly the arts and entertainment reporter for The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus and Quad-City Times, Jonathan Turner now writes freelance for WVIK and QuadCities.com. He has experience writing for daily newspapers for 32 years and has expertise across a wide range of subject areas, including government, politics, education, the arts, economic development, historic preservation, business, and tourism. He loves writing about music and the arts, as well as a multitude of other topics including features on interesting people, places, and organizations. He has a passion for accompanying musicals, singers, choirs, and instrumentalists. He even wrote his own musical based on The Book of Job, which premiered at Playcrafters in 2010. He wrote a 175-page history book about downtown Davenport, which was published by The History Press in 2016. Turner was honored in 2009 to be among 24 arts journalists nationwide to take part in a 10-day fellowship offered by the National Endowment for the Arts in New York City on classical music and opera, based at Columbia University’s journalism school.