Art in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Totino-Grace Art teachers weigh in

Art in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hannah Meehan, Student Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges for the art community to reach its audience. Globally, artists and their galleries have been shell shocked by the decrease of public viewings of art, causing them to lose business.

Due to art galleries and museums closing, established artists have been forced to debut new art online.

Although the internet can quickly put artwork into the public eye, it is neither embraced to the fullest nor can artists protect their identity.

Kate Clark, a multimedia sculptor and Art teacher at Totino-Grace High School, expressed “a lot of reasons we stopped making work is because we just make the work, post it on our website, and [ask] who is going to see that?”

“What we all thought was valuable is being able to make something, and show it to the people. [Then] spend some time looking at it and talking with them about it,” Clark said.

Furthermore, the closing of galleries and lack of exhibitions have resulted in a significant decline in the sale of the fine arts. The art now sold is transacted in an entirely different way as sales move strictly to online transactions. Fine art artists need their art purchased for them to receive their pay, so a decline in purchased art means they lose money.

A New York Times article about the reduction of fine art sales and the movement of transactions to online detailed last year’s sales. In 2019 there was only 10 percent of transactions online. However, within the first half of 2020, the percentage rose to 37.

Although online sales have skyrocketed, Steve Berger, an established fine arts artist and Art teacher at Totino-Grace High School, said established artists should not need to expand their social media presence during this time.

However, “for younger artists, I would definitely expand it. It’s like any other social media site. The more followers you get —the more work you get,” Berger stated.

For newer artists, festivals are the greatest opportunity they have to show their art. Officials have stated the COVID-19 vaccine may be released by the end of 2020. But as time goes by, many festivals all over the U.S.A. will be closed for the spring of 2021.

One college decided to take extra precaution by stating they had, “Decided to cancel the Spring Arts Festival, scheduled for April 10 through April 11, 2021, after considering the ‘health and safety of both the artists and attendees.’”

Many others have begun canceling and closing up events and festivals, although they are one of the main opportunities for budding artists to get recognition.

Especially in the United States, Fine arts will be disproportionately affected by the pandemic compared to other creative occupations. One article by Brookings stated out of all the creative occupations, there will be a 30 percent job loss, and within that 30 percent, a third will be just the fine arts.

Without the opportunities to showcase their art, artists have struggled throughout 2020. Fortunately for the Fine Art community, Art Museums have begun to reopen with new safety guidelines for tourists, providing a slight source of income for some artists.