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story.lead_photo.caption Artist Phil Jones creates a dog sculpture for Porchfest 2020. Photo by Gerry Tritz / News Tribune.

Sunday's virtual Porchfest featured more than triple the number of performers/artists as the Porchfest in May, the first time the popular local event was forced by COVID-19 to go virtual.

"I think it went great," said Leann Porrello, cultural arts specialist with Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. "We had a lot this time around we had pretty much triple our acts. We had 10 last time and over 30 this time. Normally we publish one every 15 minutes; for this one we had one every five or 10 minutes. We felt like the content was really great."

In the past, performers of all types displayed their talents on porches, first along Capitol Avenue, then on a west-side neighborhood. However, in the interest of safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has transitioned to a "virtual" event. Artists submitted videos that were uploaded and made available for the public Sunday.

Porrello said there was something for everyone. In addition to artists and bands, this year's Porchfest had a comedian, photographer, magician and "scary stories in the dark," among other acts.

Photo artist Curtis Hendricks had an eight-minute video showing off some of his works. He starts with photographs, then uses Photoshop to add — in his words — "lighting effects, filters, blending options and transparencies to achieve 'abstract realism' — art derived from a real-life image that abstracts reality; it both interprets reality and warps it."

The retired state worker has been interested in photography for much of his life and had a renewed interest with his first digital camera in 1996. That, combined with digital photo editing, led him to the creative experimentation that, over the years, has brought about his artwork.

He sells some of his works but creates it mostly for the "creative spark" it provides. "For many of us, it's like breathing. If we're not creating, we're not really living," he said.

The virtual Porchfest, he said, is ideal for what he does, while his art wouldn't easily fit in with the traditional live Porchfest.

Porrello said each video was up to 15 minutes long and family-friendly, set on a porch or in a yard to keep the outdoorsy feeling the event has always had.

One benefit of going virtual is performers no longer have to perform acoustically. That was one requirement in the past to prevent some performers from drowning out others with amplifiers. Now, bands, for instance, can plug into amps and record their performances without disrupting other acts.

Wridacule and the Rapture is one band that, because they use an electric violin, couldn't perform at live Porchfests. However, they were able to perform at Sunday's virtual Porchfest.

Even Porrello, an artist, was a performer, recording several videos of craft demonstrations. A list of needed supplies was published on the Porchfest JCMO Facebook page nearly a week before the event, so people could get their supplies ahead of time and make their creations while watching along.

Performances were uploaded 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. They are now available on the Porchfest Facebook page, as well as on the Porchfest JCMO YouTube channel.

T-shirts of the event can also be bought for the first time, Porrello said.

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