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The Value of Recent Movements to Revive the Arts the Pandemic Interrupted

By: Naveed Shah

When I decided to take a painting class last year as opposed to another biology class, I was truly humbled. We learned the contrast between light and dark and studied the nuances of each unique shade as one goes from white to black. My professor had tasked us with painting an object, while accentuating its shadows when presented under light.

We were presented with simple cans, vases, pots and more. I picked up the 20-pound sculpture of a head with intricate facial features and I brought it to my table. As I looked at the head and then back down at my empty canvas I gained a newfound appreciation for the arts.

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With the Covid-19 outbreak, many people have lost their jobs, especially those in the art industry. According to NPR, the pandemic has caused, “hundreds of millions of dollars in ticket-sales losses, billions in falling music-industry stock prices and generating an unprecedented level of financial anxiety for artists, event organizers and other behind-the-scenes workers who rely on live events to make their ends meet.”

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced his plans to revive the arts. According to the Governor, bringing back the arts is indispensable, not only to bring back jobs to struggling artists, but also to bring back the excitement and energy that is unique to New York state. Governor Cuomo said, “What is a city without social, cultural and creative synergies? New York City is not New York without Broadway.”

According to the “New York Times,” the state will offer pop-up concerts featuring artists such as Hugh Jackman, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer and Renée Fleming. New York state will partner the Mellon Foundation to provide grants to create work and resources to the struggling artist communities. In addition, a pilot program will be put in place to determine ways in which social-distance performances can be held in a safe way in these venues, where seating is dynamic.

Governor Cuomo also highlighted his plan to use pop-up sites to test individuals for Covid, so people could be tested before entering venues. In this way, we can continue to reduce the spread of Covid, while also returning to normalcy.

Aside from the work being done by government officials, there are many ways that we can all get involved to help artists. According to NPR, the quickest way to support artists is to buy their work or to donate to their channels. However, it was also noted to be cautious in buying physical merchandise, since the outbreak has caused disruptions for most supply chains in the United States.

Another way to help is to tune in to artist’s live virtual shows. Although artists will not be making nearly as much through these virtual shows, fans can tune in and donate through the payment options provided by the artists.

Money aside, these virtual shows allow artists to reconnect with their fans and allow these communities to remain intact. Streaming music is another great way to show your support to your favorite artists. Finally, emergency funds have been created for struggling artists and fans can donate through these ways as well.

Despite the hard times felt by all, especially by artists, I am hopeful that with increased testing and the distribution of the vaccine, New York will be able to revive its culture and the arts and normalcy will return.

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