How’s the social distancing thing going?
With a few exceptions, artists probably have the least problem dealing with it since we are usually in our studios regularly, often for hours at a time, all by our lonesome. Still, something has been missing, at least for me. It took a panel discussion for me to put my finger on it.
Thursday night was the Creative Pinellas Conversation with the 2020 Emerging Artists. Social distancing requirements and the inevitable shutdown of non-essential workplaces, has forced art related organizations to do some creative thinking. How to keep the art community engaged?
For all its faults, the internet is saving us, both personally and professionally. With the use of social media, we continue to engage with each other and are able to have our work regularly showcased through virtual galleries. Consequently, our Emerging Artist grant projects are still on the original timeline, which included the aforementioned panel discussion. The discussion, on Zoom, had the added benefit of being available to the general public by live-streaming it through Creative Pinellas’s Facebook page.
It was wonderful to finally meet the other eight participating artists, if only virtually, and to put a face to the name. And there were remarkably few glitches in the presentation due to the diligent and skilled prep work and facilitating of the Creative Pinellas team.
Not surprisingly, one of the topic threads throughout the discussion dealt with how the current environment s affecting the way we work and the work we make. We talked about the need to be able to experience art physically to really “see” it, though the virtual options offered at this time are a life saver.
But the significant loss at this time is, I feel, our inability to directly engage with each other to talk about our work and art in general. As helpful as social media is, it is just not the same when there is a computer screen in the middle of the conversation. We are inherently social creatures and we gain significant emotional energy when we come together (I can say that even as an introvert!). It is that energy that I am missing. It is that particular energy which helps pump me up and keeps me moving forward.
When I left the panel discussion, I not only feltgood about it but, also, felt some of that wonderful energy. It didn’t last very long, but it was enough for me to realize that that is what has been missing and how important it is to my wellbeing. Is it so for you?
Thanks for reading!