Text by Bernadette Gallagher

Can you think of a time in recent history when Hollywood was so quiet? When Broadway was shut down? When musicians ceased to put out new releases? When arts and music festivals around the world were cancelled simultaneously? It appeared at first glance the art world had gone dark. Fear not, as many artists, from musicians and DJs, to designers, models, actors, and actresses, as well as museums and galleries, have quickly adapted.

The world of art is coping and reacting in different ways with isolation and social distancing:

Philanthropy

Among the actors, actresses, musicians and models who have donated large sums to non-profit organizations in need are Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Justin Beiber, Ciara and Russell Wilson, Lady Gaga and Haus Laboratories, Kristen Bell, and possibly many more who have not shared their charitable acts. The notable thing about these celebrities sharing their efforts with the world is their encouragement for others who are also in a comfortable financial situation to do the same.

A second prominent action comes from major fashion and cosmetic lines, who have not only donated dollars, but also who have transformed their factories to now produce hospital gowns, face masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves: LVMH (owns Louis Vuitton, Dior, and more); Christian Siriano; Canada Goose; Prada; and Kering (owns Balenciaga, Gucci, and Saint Laurent), just to name a few.

Representatives for self-isolation and social distancing

And while many of these artists are sharing the message to give what you can in this important time, many are employing their fame in order to reach out to their millions of followers with messages of the WHO. Justin Trudeau kicked off a chain of celebrity video messages by nominating celebs such as Seth Rogen, Justin Long, Ryan Reynolds and Michael Bublé, to promote social distancing, hand washing and keeping the hands off the face.

But the most rapidly evolving response from the art world is in the form of “going digital” or “going virtual.”

Going virtual with their art

Three prominent ways in which we enjoy art together, as a society, is through live theatre, museum and gallery visits, and live musical performance. But as all of these are large social gatherings, they must halt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But not altogether: below is a list of different ways we can enjoy the arts thanks to a number of efforts put in place to open up digital and virtual content to be accessed all around the world!

What are some ways we can take in the arts?

  • Music: many artists are performing live on the daily through their Instagram stories, and are doing so in a much different format than we are accustomed to: with less production, but with more raw creativity. Another handful of artists are taking to the “living room concert” format. From folk and jazz, to EDM, rock, or pop, these performances are showing up daily and have already inspired millions of living room dance parties for all ages.
  • Streaming of all kinds: TV, Movies, Live Theatre, and documentaries can all be found online.
  • Virtual touring: many museums and art galleries, from the Smithsonian to the Guggenheim, have historically offered digital tours and virtual experiences. But as many close their doors, many are seeing a massive jump in digital users, prompting them to solely focus on their digital content and experiences.

I encourage you to start looking for your favorite artists and genres (from all media) to see how they have responded- there may be new digital content from your favourite artists coming out every day.

The arts help us see the world through the eyes and voices of many, and with social media and global streaming, we turn that many into millions upon millions. It is beyond interesting to witness the arts world adapt and evolve so they may bring us the arts and their perspectives of the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in today.