Art in the Time of Corona

In a time of great stress and uncertainty, it is important to find outlets that serve not only as an escape but also as a form of expression. For many, art does both. 

Sophomore Annabel Williams described art’s value in her life during quarantine. “In this time of craziness, it’s nice to be able to sit down with my sketchbook and not have to stress about what’s going on in the outside world,” she said. “For me, art is just a very grounding thing.”

Since being stuck at home, Williams has found a lot more time to work on her art. “Quarantine has given me more time to think through some projects that I probably wouldn’t have thought of otherwise,” she said, “and then it’s given me the time to actually do those projects.” Over spring break, Williams worked on paintings and drew portraits in her sketchbook.

She characterized quarantine as an opportunity to grow as an artist. “I think this is a great creative time to develop my own artistic voice and discover some new techniques,” she said. Usually, Williams created more photographic still life drawings, but she had started experimenting with brighter colors and abstraction. She has also been making collages with magazines and newspapers. 

For Williams, it is easy to get lost in a project. “I often listen to podcasts or watch TV shows while I do my artwork, so I can just sit down sometimes and hours will go by without me even realizing it,” she said. 

Studio arts teacher Adrian Loving has found that he has had more time to further develop his long-term projects. He has been able to spend more time writing essays for the book he’s been developing about music from the eighties. Loving has also been working on music production for about six months, and quarantine has given him the opportunity to create dance music tracks and edits.

Loving also noted some setbacks that have occurred in the art community. “A lot of art exhibitions and access to supplies, networking and money have been put on hold,” he said. He hopes that despite this, COVID-19 will inspire creativity and give artists some free time to create.

According to Williams, the circumstances have allowed artists to think more deeply about their projects, and many are expressing the way the coronavirus outbreak is affecting their lives through their work. Loving commented, “it’s more important than ever that artists contribute something to the dialogue.” 

As stress levels rise, art acts as a calming means of expression; for many, that is exactly what is needed in these unprecedented times.

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