It all happened so quickly. It was looming, but I think the majority of us thought, “no, it won’t actually come to THAT”. But it did. It happened. And with a snap, the arts sector came to a screeching halt.
Yet ironically the one thing that hasn’t actually changed is the over-arching question we’ve always asked: Will people care? As as artist and arts manager I have had moments of doubt. Moments where I’ve stepped back from my work and asked myself why anyone would care about what I’m doing. I’ve asked it a lot, almost with every project I’ve been a part of, and I think it’s essential, as an artist, to keep that in the back of your mind. It keeps you digging for purpose, keeps your art relevant, and keeps you from taking yourself too seriously. Only now this question seems a lot heavier.
I have new music coming out.
Will it be heard?
Will people care?
Is that photography exhibit we’ve been planning for the past year going to happen?
Will we have to launch the exhibit online?
How will that look? How would that work?
Will people care?
Oh, and those shows our band was going to play…
The play my theater company was going to produce…
When this is all over, will we have an audience? Will people care?
The answer is yes. People will care. And this is the fist time I have been able to convince myself of that with more clarity than ever. People will care because art will continue to hold the same value and weight that it always has, but will fill a much deeper void. People will need to come together, en masse, to experience dance, theater, and music. They will be so grateful for this basic human need to exist together, breath in a public space together, physically, and as a community. They will flock to the museums and the galleries, stand in front of a photograph or painting, and soak up the art with their eyes in a way they never have before. These happenings, these experiences, this ART we’ve all been making (and possibly taking for granted) will become ESSENTIAL. Just as it is now, stuck indoors, relying on art as entertainment to keep our heads above water, art will be NECESSARY to lift us up when this chaos is all over. So yeah, people will care.
At least that’s what I tell myself every night before bed.
Erin Nelson, EE.UU./United States
Viva a Erin y su banda Beauty Pill aquí / Catch Erin and her band Beauty Pill here