While COVID-19 will go down in the history books as a global pandemic that caused chaos, frenzy, and tension between nations, it will also undoubtedly carve a deep mark in the American economy. But one sector that's often overlooked in the times, is what will happen to the art industry?
Independent artists thrive on community events, such as festivals, showcases, concerts, and galleries, where they can proudly display their work, build their brand name, and most importantly, make some money. However, with quarantine at it's height, and social isolation quickly becoming a modern normality, independent artists are struggling. Sure, it has allowed them much more time to create and invent new pieces of artwork, but they simply can't make a living.
Street-side artists that create caricatures have no more way to drive income, they have no customers! Popular destinations such as Disney World, Six Flags, Busch Gardens, and many more have been shut down due to the pandemic, leaving these artists struggling. And no amount of creative time can buffer these artists for the economic adversities they will face up ahead in the next few months. And it's not just because there are no tourists flocking the streets and catching up on latest paintings and photos that have been created
The stock market has crashed, much harder than what had been predicted just a few months prior. But what's even more devastating about this to artists is that due to the slowing economy and growing unemployment rate, the general population won't want to buy art. They can't afford amenities at such a time, and have much more important aspects to focus on in their life, which creates another problem for artists, no buyers. And with no buyers, they can't sell, and they can't survive.
On top of that, museums ranging from local to nationally recognized have also been hit hard from the financial repercussions of COVID-19. Thousands of museum workers have filed for unemployment due to museums having to lay off workers. Thousands of lives will be impacted from this, and art itself has taken a step back. No one is there to appreciate it, and no one has to financial capabilities to own it.
The sudden evaporation of venues to display and sell art has also evaporated any economic channels artists had, and there may be a generation of talent that will be effected, as artists begin to pursue more stable and temporary jobs, fearing an economic recession like the one seen in 2020.
We can only keep our fingers crossed that art will take a major step forward in 2021. Perhaps with venues opening back up, those who can purchase art will, and those who also see this problem will support their local, struggling but still talented artists.
Photo Courtesy of The Washington Post