How to support the arts in isolation

Photo courtesy of Audrey Davenport. 

AUDREY DAVENPORT | OPINION COLUMNIST | amdavenp@butler.edu

Like all of you, I have been trying to find ways to spend my days in isolation without just staring blankly at the wall or my phone screen.

For a moment, I considered painting my room the exact same color, just so I could watch it dry. Or maybe sending Gordon Ramsay an email after watching clips of “Hell’s Kitchen” on YouTube for five hours to say that he was “just too mean” to the contestants.

After ixnaying these two options, I turned to the creative part of my brain for some isolation inspo.

Creating art has always been a way for me to find my zen and make something I’m proud of. I’ve tried lots of different kinds — embroidering, painting, sculpting, you name it — all of which come with their unique benefits.

But since I seem to have a distinct lack of clay and kiln lying around my house during quarantine, I have taken to the simpler ones — painting, embroidering and drawing.

I would encourage trying to find your inner Da Vinci during this time. When else are you going to have this much time to hone your craft? Later when your drawing is hanging on your fridge, you can look back and say, “Wow, I made that during isolation.”

However, I can acknowledge that not all of us are going to want to take time to draw or just don’t have the patience for it. Fear not! While you’re staring at your phone, developing carpal tunnel, you have the chance to support the arts via social media and internet stores.

Artists and artistic spaces have been hit by the coronavirus much more than a lot of us have. Museums are temporarily shutting their doors and artists aren’t able to promote their hard work in galleries, shops and theatres.

One of Butler students’ favorite instagrammable places, Newfields at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, has gone mobile! Newfields has always been a place of peace, a place where you can take your homework or visit the gardens, making it an ideal escape from the chaotic campus vibe.

And if you’re craving a little bit of home and a little bit of normal, you should start following them. They’ve done gallery tours and Instagram live sessions, both of which allow us to support their artistic efforts from wherever we are.

Another indirect way to support artists on Instagram during isolation is to share their work on your stories. I am a huge fan of Instagram stories because it enables users’ creativity and allows for an interactive experience. People also love flaunting their favorite “underground” artists as it adds to your aesthetic and clout, so go get you some!

I make it a habit to follow artists on Instagram and try to share their work for everyone to see. My hope is that more and more people will recognize their work and they’ll become even bigger. Supporting these artists financially is also important. They frequently have online stores where you can buy your favorite prints and merch.

Supporting art during isolation doesn’t stop at paintings or physical art. The Met is also offering free online streaming of their Operas. Maybe you’ve never watched an opera before, but now’s your chance to try it out! How many people can say they’ve watched a Met Opera in their pajamas? Not many, I can tell you that.

And let’s not forget about the literary arts. A lot of libraries are making online versions of books free to the public as well. Take this opportunity to read books that you haven’t before but have been intending to — and just think of all the literary references you’ll be able to make later! Really a win win.

You can also support artists from your couch by hopping on Etsy and finding some really unique pieces.

Indianapolis has started many local Indy initiatives to support local businesses and artists as well. It is important to stand up together and for each other. Support your community wherever you are; you will never regret it.

Art is a way for us to connect to ourselves and others. Find art that speaks to you and love it. You might even discover something new about yourself in the process.

So, take a breather before you hit send on that Gordon Ramsay email. There are better ways you can channel your energy.

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