We’re closing in on a year since the governor the state where I live told people to stay home in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Like many of you, I’m grateful for the science and technology that made it easier to stay home and still (kind of) do most things I was doing before. But, surprising no one, I don’t want this to be one more place where we forget to also be grateful for art.
Even in the before times, I thought a lot about the art we took for granted. And a lot of what I read about how people were coping with the pandemic times made it clear how much more crucial art was for better lives. So, here’s to all the art, the creative endeavours, that make life better. Like…
All the books and poetry and stories and music and TV and movies that are filling your hours, hopefully making things at least easier to tolerate.
All the opera, ballet, plays, concerts of assorted kinds, livestreaming club DJs, and other “live” performance, even when it’s just streamed online.
All the architecture and interior design that make the places we’re in (or that we see on our walks and drives) nicer to look at and better fits for us.
All the clothing design (yes, a designer was behind even that cheap t-shirt you love) that means I’m not doing all this whilst wearing, I don’t know, a burlap sack or something.
All the photos and paintings and sculpture and other such art, whether it’s on my walls or online.
All the makeup—and some of you are wildly creative and talented—that proves a face can be a great canvas.
The TikTok videos and comedy shows and Tumblr “cooperative storytelling” posts that keep the laughs coming.
And also the creativity poured into well-decorated desserts. Or the simple art that is encouraging quotes put on top of a drawing and posted online.
And the fan stuff…the fanfic and fanvids and fan art. I am definitely not one of those snobs who say it has no value.
And the crayon-on-paper masterpieces lovingly made by inexpert hands. Things don’t have to be marketable to have value and to make life better, even for a moment.
And, yes, the creative endeavours we take part in—even if we totally suck at them and would never share with others or they seem super minor—to pass the time, to try a new thing, to get some enjoyment.
Etc etc etc.
Seriously, if something is aesthetically pleasing or evoking emotions or distracting you, it might count as art. (Not everything that meets one or more of those criteria is art, but a lot of things are the product of creative work, are art, that people don’t realise.)
So, yes, be grateful you can do video calls and stream things and get vaccinated and so forth (that stuff is awesome!), but don’t forget that science and technology aren’t the only things making life better. Art is also how we survive…and definitely how we thrive.