Emerging Artists, Art as Salvation

By Rose Weagant

Three months. For three months, we were more or less stuck in our houses, away from friends and family in order to keep each other safe. Jobs, plans and lives were put on hold. And then the walls closed in on us. 

The biggest task for many of us (at least those with the time to talk about it on the internet) was to remain sane in a very unsettling time. And, naturally, we got creative. Famed sculptor and contemporary artist Louise Bourgeois said it best: “Art is a guarantee to sanity.”

Housebound folks began dalliances with various crafts. Baking became the art du jour for those simple, early weeks of lockdown. Some picked up paintbrushes for the first time in years. And then, a miraculous thing occurred: the downtime made artists out of us. 

This time of quietude has allowed us to take stock in our assets, prioritizing mental health and connection to community and art. Many made shifts in their lives to focus on tasks that lowered the daily stress load, and at the top of the list was creating art in some form or another. 

It’s proven, too. Cortisol–the body’s stress indicator–has been found to reduce after only 45 minutes of artistic endeavor. Artists know this feeling. Some of us call it “the flow” and others know it as “getting in a groove.” The sensation of having the outside world melt away and you’re simply making art with your brain and whichever tools you want to use. 

Within the first few weeks of the lockdown, creativity was apparent. You couldn’t walk down a residential street without seeing drawings on posters or signs in house windows, a sort of quarantine art show. 

And the makers who were already making took time to pursue different avenues of their art. In having solitary time, we can experiment with new types of art. If you were under a rock, you probably missed the live art lessons online (but you’re not too late, so don’t worry. Just look up your favorite artist and see if they made some tutorials). 

Art is more accessible than ever before. Theatre is streaming digitally from the actor’s apartments to your screen at the touch of a button. Instagram is riddled with artists cultivating and promoting their work. Even the tiny Methow Valley is making big strides in its connectivity to local artists. 

We are emerging from a quarantine into an entirely new world, friends. Art is abundant and it’s waiting for you to find it. Or create it. Or be brought to tears by it. Whatever you do, make a strong statement to connect with the world again.