Why is it important to keep art alive in quarantine ?

By Zoe Mathers

With the world in a pandemic and people going into quarantine, the importance of keeping art alive in quarantine for your mental well-being and sanity makes itself apparent. Around the world, museums are closed, concerts are canceled, and theatres have shut their doors for the safety of the public. The effect of this on locally run businesses and the performers, artists, and creatives who put in copious amounts of time and effort into sharing the art is felt by all. Not only are the repercussions financially devastating, but emotionally and mentally the impact is tragic.

image by : Deanna J

This rapid retreatment of art reminds us of its importance in our everyday lives, whether we create it or just enjoy it.

Right now, the prominent concern amid the coronavirus is your physical health, however, it is essential to not neglect your mental health. If you avoid the virus and remain healthy indoors, it is your right state of mind that will walk with you hand in hand to the finish line of this devastation. Its influence may seem minuscule but making a point to incorporate art into your everyday life, and not enabling it to fade into the background of the chaos, is crucial. Art is the hope we will cling to as the world struggles around us.

In art’s absence, we feel an increased amount of anxiety and panic as our coping mechanisms and stress relievers are sealed behind locked doors. Art acts as both of these things for many people. Not only the act of creating art but looking and admiring it brings comfort and ease. Its creation is expressive and thought-provoking, not only reacting to current affairs in our culture but also letting us reflect on our lives. That is why it is imperative for artists to produce art in these troubled times and use online platforms to share it in a safe manner with others.

While our days are filled with fear whether you are stuck inside self-isolating for the protection of yourself and others, or having to brave the outside world for work, art is one of the small ways to combat and conquer this fear. The process of creating art is referred to as a meditative-like state. It removes you from the world and transports you to a realm where the dark things do not seem so dark anymore. It also keeps you busy while stuck indoors, holding back the stir-crazy creature brewing inside of you. If you write, share it on a blog for others to steal away for several minutes and get absorbed into a world other than their own. If you paint, post a photo of it on Instagram for others to revel in. Sharing your art with others may seem unhelpful or pointless during this virus, but it is these small actions that will carry us out of this trying time. Especially when we cannot go around and physically help others because we must practice social distancing.

If you do not know what to sketch or write or perform, tap into how this crisis makes you feel. Art is about self-expression and reflecting on what is happening around you. It also allows you to let out everything you feel rather than bottling it all up which never ends well. Creatives often use the excuse of not having that spark of inspiration or that idea to send them on their way, but now there is a global crisis that can act as that spark or idea. It is something everyone on this planet is experiencing, which is not a common occurrence. Now, your art will reach everyone. Your art will speak to everyone. Your art will be relatable to everyone.

Which is entirely the goal of art in the first place.

“Art is the activity by which a person, having experienced an emotion, intentionally transmits it to others.”

This famous quote was said by Leo Tolstoy, the author of War and Peace who was known for writing stories heavily influenced by his own life experiences. This quote highlights art’s place in our world, whether society is battling something ferocious or not. It also succeeds in reminding us that while it is good to use art to battle the negative emotions and thoughts clouding you and your life, it is also necessary to be okay with feeling it all. It is okay to feel scared and helpless and panicked. These raw feelings are valid, but the important part is remembering you are not alone. Art will enable us to remember this.

Art is underestimated because its impact is invisible yet present inside each and every one of us. Art allows us to put our feelings and thoughts into beautifully written words, vibrant or dull colors, and into various other ways. These mediums touch people in forms that are incomprehensible to the naked eye and that is part of its magic. We may not be able to see it, but it will inspire, empower, and offer us the strength to overcome whatever lies ahead.