Last week seems like a lifetime ago, right? We were making travel plans, taking our kids to school, eating in restaurants and touching our faces. Maybe some of us are still touching our faces. I get it, it’s hard to stop.
As a person who has devoted myself to a life in art and to gathering people in live spaces, my entire world just collapsed. Every email I get from a performing arts organization about a cancellation is another punch in the gut. I’m most worried about freelance artists who rely not only on getting paid for performances, but make a living from the gig economy which has largely dried up.
Everything feels uncertain right now. But here’s what I do know. In this time of anxiety, art is going to be what saves us. It’s already creeping up in unexpected corners as performing artists move on-line, Italians sing to each other from balconies, and museums are offering virtual tours.
For those of us who need to gather in live spaces, perhaps at future performances we’ll wear social distancing hoop skirts, hazmat suits, or Alexander McQueen designed plague masks. Until then, keep your sense of humor. Stay creative. Be resilient, but be gentle with yourself.
Here’s my list of a few suggested ways to stay connected to art, which, while this nightmare continues, will be there for us:
Social Distancing Presents
An on-line concert series
The Era Footwork Crew
Chicago footwork artists with short videos on their website
Puppet Quarantine! Nasty, Brutish & Short: A Puppet Cabaret
Short puppet shows by Chicago artists
Cabinet of Curiosity: The Farewell Fables
Streaming performance by Seth Bockley (2018 Pivot Arts’ Gilgamesh and Enkidu)
National Sawdust’s Spotify Playlist
A contemporary classical music organization in Brooklyn’s suggested list
Museum of Modern Art: What to Watch When You’re Stuck at Home
Film recommendations from the Museum of Modern Art
The Wooster Group
Short videos of one of the most celebrated experimental theater companies in the United States
Want to help artists? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Please don’t ask arts orgs to refund your tickets for cancelled events, donate them.
2. Donate to any not-for-profit arts organization — especially small to mid-size orgs that have paid staff
3. Donate to the Chicago Artist’s relief fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/chicago-artists-relief-fund