Art and citizenship in the time of COVID-19

Long time since I added anything here. Most of my interactions are on Facebook and Instagram anymore.

As I sit here in my oasis of a backyard under Covid 19 shelter-in-place, I understand that I have it pretty easy in the midst of tough times. As an artist I am seldom at a loss for something to do to fill my time. As an introvert, it doesn’t bother me at all to stay home and not see folks for long periods of time. As a middle class person still employed during this time, I’m not too, too worried about money. As an empty nester I don’t have the task of homeschooling or tending any kiddos. Lucky me. It’s tempting to have some form of survivor’s guilt, but that’s not constructive, and we are not through this yet. We don’t know yet who will survive medically, financially, maritally, politically, socially.

So many unknowns. What I do know is that as a compassionate human, I will do all I can, get out my sewing machine to make masks, clear the way for others to have resources by not hoarding more than our share of tissues and chicken broth. Make music videos and read to my grandkids, text friends to check in. Make use of what I already have on hand. I will also accept help from loved ones, from loving neighbors (thanks, Tom!). What I won’t do? I won’t go out unless necessary — the reasons have been recounted by many others. I will not spread rumors or disinformation, we are swimming in it. Cooperation, compassion and hope are our greatest assets right now as humans, and our leaders that point toward a plan, truth and hope are the ones I am counting on these days.

My job as a human is to respond quickly to true leadership, the science community, our governors and mayors who are in touch with the scientific community and who are acting decisively and with compassion. My job is to encourage others to do the same with a spirit of citizenship and community. It’s also my job to reflect back encouragement to these leaders and my fellow citizens.

My job as an artist right now is to communicate hope, humor, compassion and joy, and find the whimsy in places unique to me. Art helps to remind me that we are all part of this world wide community. In my experience, it brings folks together. So that’s my current weekend focus. That and clearing out the attic.


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