Responding to COVID-19 in the Arts Industry

Responding to COVID-19

I’m on Day 6 of quarantine in Italy. We have at least 3 more weeks left. The other day almost 400 people died from COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Although the country is doing everything they can, and I think the people are trying to stay in good spirits, the pandemic is very real. Hospitals are getting overwhelmed and there is no specific treatment. We are going to get through it — but we will here for awhile. So, here’s my advice for going into lockdown:

  • Stay Home. Wash Your Hands. 
    • Please don’t go out unless you are getting food or have medical needs or are walking your dog. Simple as that. Why? Because this is about the safety of you as well as the people around you that may be older, immunocompromised, or have diabetes. Don’t have symptoms? You can still be a carrier. So just stay in.
      • WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS. DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE. Because it’s the best way to stay healthy — and it’s hygienic anyway.
  • Stock Up but Don’t be Selfish
    • I can still go to my grocery store and get almost everything I need. I don’t see the mass panic that I’m seeing in the States. It’s called, “being civilized”. Eggs have been harder to get but we still get them. We can still get detergent and other basic necessities. Wine has gotten a little more expensive which is a bummer, but I guess it’s not essential and we can still get it. The point is, we all have needs but we’re in this together so let’s act like it. When the shit hits the fan you’re not going to need 54 rolls of toilet paper, you’re going to need community.
  • Learn From Us
    • Italy is about 1-2 weeks ahead of the USA. Some may think it’s drastic, but we underestimated it. Only last week did we get clear direction about what we can and cannot do. If you have no faith in your local or national politicians, then do not wait for them to tell you how to be safe. Learn from us here — aka stay inside now and help your neighbors. Have DJ parties from your window to your neighborhood. Put your flags up and support one another.
  • Use this Time Wisely
    • At first you’ll feel like you’re gonna go insane. There will be cycles of moods. It will get better and (hopefully) you’ll start to be grateful for the little things. And I’m saying now is the time to read that book, use those face masks, practice self-care, call your friends, take an online class, play guitar, make a small donation to your local arts center, catch up on shows you never got to…whatever it is, you’ll be inside a lot and it’s time to embrace it. Just make sure to put your face in the sun and carve out some time for at-home workouts.
  • This Too Shall Pass 
    • We will get through this. Try not to worry too much!

A Note to Artists and Freelance Workers

Cancelled shows are happening like wildfire. Yes, this industry will lose money and is getting hit really hard. Please keep in mind that if your show got cancelled there is a good chance it will get rescheduled. So, delayed money is better than no money right? Presenters want to show your work and they are just as heartbroken for having to close their doors as you are. Being gracious and putting community first will help us in the long run. Remember, we are a creative and resourceful group of people. We make magic happen with the smallest of budgets. We will get through this. Reach out to your local studios/theaters/arts organizations and see if they need remote help. I started out working remotely by helping large organizations with database projects. Booriiing (I know), but it got me to where I am now…working remotely in Italy during COVID-19. Ha. For real though, organizations usually have a handful of projects they need help on so it won’t hurt to ask. Or go create – create -create – then get online and share – share – share! This will be a period of unknowns, but it will also be a period of unusual creativeness. Let’s embrace that mentality as much as we can. My colleague wrote a wonderful article about all of the above and more – check it out here.

Resources for the Dance Community 

If you have any others you’d like to share, please leave a comment below!

Stay safe and keep movin’,
Sarah