Long arm of the virus: Summer Arts 2020 at Fresno State is canceled

Summer Arts 2020, get ready for a makeover: You’re going to become Summer Arts 2021.

The group The Bossy Flyer performed and taught at Summer Arts 2019.

The California State University Summer Arts program, which was scheduled to begin June 29 at Fresno State and run through July 25, has been suspended because of the COVID-19 crisis, the CSU Chancellor’s Office announced. Most of the courses will be offered again in summer 2021, depending on whether individual instructors want that to happen.

At this time, the Summer Arts international program, which offers classes this year in Spain, Ireland and Germany, is still on the books, but the CSU Chancellor’s Office will make a decision by May 15.

My take: I’m not surprised, although it’s particularly sobering to learn that an event that’s still nearly three months away is another victim of the virus. This is  yet another blow both for the Fresno arts community and the region’s economy. It’s great to have an influx of hundreds of students, faculty members and guest artists for a month during the slower summer season. But, we’re absorbing a lot of blows in in today’s turbulent world.

Update (3 p.m. April 2): I reached out to the Summer Arts administration for reaction to this disappointing news.


“We will miss our wonderful students, faculty and artists more than you can imagine,” said Joanne Sharp, assistant director for CSU Summer Arts. “Seeing the summer program come to life is our reason for doing everything we do all year. Our only consolation is the hope that everyone remains safe as we look forward to next summer.”

The Fresno arts community has long been a strong supporter of Summer Arts, with a dedicated group that raises money for scholarships and promotes the festival.

“I know the Fresno community understands this very difficult decision,” said Jim Spalding, interim director of CSU Summer Arts. “As always, the friends of Summer Arts and the Fresno community will work together to make the next summer even more exciting and dynamic.”

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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