Do you really want the world to go back to normal?
If there is anything I have learned in my lifetime, it is that change is the only thing we can count on, and COVID-19 has been the perfect catalyst for our current shift in all things we once knew.
It was February of 2020, and the media had begun to make COVID-19 headline news. The world officially began to take notice of the sudden rise of this microscopic virus that started the contagion of a flu-like illness that so mysteriously killed a percentage of those infected. The New York Stock Exchange Market was at an all-time high with a record-breaking bull run, but it was commencing its decline, and this was just the beginning.
March came around, and more cases of “Corona” were coming up in metropolitan cities country-wide. The government implemented a “Shelter in Place” order, which meant that if you were not leaving your home for an essential task, then you had to stay home. And just like that, one day, galleries, museums, and all public spaces closed. Businesses all over were deemed nonessential, and a once mega connected society had to distance themselves from friends, family, and neighbors. Our economy began to plummet, local businesses took a big hit, and people chose to quarantine as their contribution to society.
Eerie, it was, at least at first. The streets were quieter. The roads were nearly empty, and the grocery stores were out of stock of almost everything. It was almost movie-like. And it was proof of just how genuinely fragile our ecosystem can be.
Anyway, this write-up is not to give you a play by play, but rather to share a dose of history in the making from Los Angeles, California in an art world perspective.
So here it goes:
For as long as humanity has walked this planet, it has utilized art as a tool to express, educate, and provide perspective. Today we still use artistic expressions as a timestamp to culture. Although it has been deemed nonessential amongst businesses, art always finds a way to shed that beam of light and joy that is still going to be essential to being human.
Today, we notice that there seems to be a sense of comradery amongst creators and those in creative careers. Many have pivoted their messages and found ways to provide value in alternate forms. I have seen talented artists create works of art in support of the healthcare workers at the forefront of the pandemic while selling or auctioning their works to donate towards helping those in need. I notice artists are loving spending time indoors and finishing old projects and revamping their online stores and profiles to promote more sales. Curators, gallerists, and collectors are taking on new opportunities to nurture clients and get creative when it comes to virtual art shows. Some organizations, like Beautify Earth, are even seeking artists and brand partnerships to promote public art!
Zoom and Instagram have become a significant player in engagement and making connections. In a recent conversation with an Artsy consultant, she briefly mentioned that their sales are at an all-time high, with more transactions taking place for smaller, more affordable works. Designers, I speak to, say something similar. Their clients are taking the time to finish old projects, and are implementing more functional art into their decor.
So what does this mean for a post-COVID world? Will the social distancing and virtual experience be a new part of how we enjoy and experience culture? If so, how?
I believe that due to this outbreak, many will still be a little concerned with social gatherings, therefore becoming less of a norm, along with in-person consultations. This may lead us to take advantage of technological advancements already available to us to host virtual, augmented reality experiences from the comfort and safety of our home. It may even make public art projects more popular as they sit in the open and can be admired at a safe distance. I am no psychic, but if my generation has been fusing to do something right, it is that we have almost become a cyborg. We rely on the use of our technology for just about everything, from communication, shopping to learning. So why not creative experiences?
Read more from Estefania Ochoa, on LA-based Soyyomag.com!