A new YouTube series hosted by Jessie Hendricks called ‘Becoming Artsy’ has been announced by the Getty, the globally renowned arts organisation. Hendricks, who is a senior creative producer at the Getty, is a multimedia science writer and actor who boasts a Master of Science qualification gained from MIT during her time on the graduate program in science writing scheme there. According to a statement issued by the Getty, the YouTube videos will be released on a weekly basis, offering a range of different online experience for anyone who has an interest in art.
Referring to itself as being committed to the display, conservation and understanding of the artistic and cultural heritage of the world, the Getty works in a collaborative fashion with other arts-based institutions throughout the globe. Many of its partner organisations have similar roots to the oil fortune built up by John Paul Getty in the twentieth century. These include the Getty Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute and Getty Museum, to name but three. However, the departure into a popular media channel marks something of a change at the arts institution as it seeks to broaden its appeal.
The first episode in the online series is entitled ‘Connected’, perhaps setting out the Getty’s stall as it tries to establish a greater level of connection with the public through its video productions. The first video was released to coincide with the Getty’s announcement in the first week of October. It is available to stream both on YouTube as well as via the Getty’s own website. The initial video – and all of the first season, according to the art institution – was filmed at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa. Showcasing the art that is on display there, Hendricks takes viewers on what the Getty bills as ‘a dynamic ride’ through both of the museums’ collections. In addition, the video series is expected to highlight the art laboratories and other technical facilities in the possession of the Getty as well as its famous grounds.
During the first video, Hendricks can be seen posing some of the questions that many people who consider themselves to be curious about art might wonder about. For example, she demands answers to the question ‘what do art museums do?’ as well as thinking about the way ordinary people experience art. The conceit of the production style is that Hendricks is a relative newcomer to the art world and, consequently, can offer insights that others who do not consider themselves to be experts might offer. According to the Getty, she provides an entertaining and relatable perspective on the world of fine art as she ventures into new areas with viewers.
The Power of Art
“Art has the power to change the way people see the world,” Hendricks said. The host of Becoming Artsy went on to say that she was excited to share ‘this incredible and massive thing’ called art with people. “Plus, I get to play at dressing up!” she added.
Christopher Sprinkle, one of the Getty’s creative producers, said that he thought the chosen presenter embodied a humorous and warm presence on camera. “She makes the world of art feel more inclusive,” he said. Sprinkle went on to add that rather than being intended for a certain type of person, Hendricks’ hosting style meant that the viewer is not solely dependent on the voice of an expert to tell them about art. “This approach,” he argued, “means that s people of all backgrounds and ages can identify with her as she explores different subject matter.”
Vice president for communications at the Getty, Lisa Lapin, echoed many of Sprinkle’s sentiments. “Becoming Artsy was created to provide a fresh format for educational and engaging content,” she said. Lapin reckons the video series will hopefully introduce new audiences to both art and history. “We hope it sparks a newfound curiosity,” she said.
Watch the first episode, and subscribe.
About the author – Manuel Charr
Manuel Charr is a journalist working in the arts and cultural sectors. With a background in marketing, Manuel is drawn to arts organizations which are prepared to try inventive ways to reach new audiences.