By Submitted Article on April 9, 2020.
Submitted by the Allied Arts Council
On Tuesday, March 31 the Allied Arts Council held its Annual General Meeting as an online meeting with this extraordinary measure being precipitated by the current health crisis affecting all of us. AAC board president Margaret (Peggy) Mezei shared this message with the membership in attendance and to our membership in a recent e-newsletter:
“COVID-19 has disrupted all of our daily lives. Many facilities have been closed including the AAC 7 Street office and Casa. Arts organizations have been affected by the cancellation of numerous programs and events which are critical to their financial health.
Artists are extremely vulnerable as many work from project to project without a steady income to maintain a career and practice. Yet, in this time of uncertainty, artists have risen to the challenge streaming online concerts, dance workshops and art-a-longs in an effort to boost morale and keep us connected socially while physically apart.
We encourage our members to keep their spirits high during this time of isolation. Use this time and online tools to plan for the future. In the coming weeks, look to the AAC for programs and opportunities to engage with us over the internet. We will make it to the other side, our arts community will be stronger and even more vibrant than before – for the arts are what give us hope in these dark times.”
Artists have been creative in developing means to remain active and engaged in our community. Live music venues are hosting open mic nights on Zoom. Musicians are hosting daily concerts, live on their social media streams. Fibre artists are offering custom kits and instructions online. Visual artists are holding paint-alongs. Many organizations are posting daily activities for artists of all ages to engage with.
While we have lost the ability to gather in venues and locations to engage and support the arts, we can still come together to support our artists and the arts community. There are still many ways we can support our artists and arts community while maintaining physical distancing measures. Engage with your favourite artist on Instagram, like their Facebook post, share their art instruction video, purchase an original piece of art from their online store and tip your favourite musician or dancer after watching their live performance.
Artists can access a list of resources to assist them during COVID-19 on both artslethbridge.org and casalethbridge.ca. This list is ever-evolving and we encourage artists to reach out if you require assistance or have additional resources to share.
No one knows how long our new normal will last or the long-term impacts of large gatherings, but we do know we can continue to support artists in a time when their existence and livelihood are providing the rest of society a sense of semblance, security and hope.”