Since 2005, each summer and fall has been a flurry of activity for me with my artwork as I travel throughout the eastern United States to exhibit my paintings at outdoor art shows and festivals. But with the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in the United States, these events are now thrown into disarray as are so many other aspects of our everyday lives. The change has been swift and jarring, to say the least. As I write this, it's not clear to me whether there will be any outdoor art shows in 2020 given the severity of the threat facing us.
I am fortunate that my spouse has a stable income. So while this pandemic will definitely take a bite out of my livelihood, I am able to continue painting and working. Many of the artists with whom I've become friends over these past years while doing outdoor art shows are not so fortunate and my heart aches for them. This crisis is an existential threat to their livelihoods and work. Every artist who participates in these shows works extremely hard and routinely accepts a level of uncertainty concerning weather, national politics, consumer sentiment, and more. But this unforeseen circumstance is utterly devastating.
Without my usual schedule of shows to do, I'm treating this downtime as an opportunity to create some more ambitious works based on ideas that I've had in my mind for a while, sometimes years. When I get caught up in my show schedule, it's not always possible to tackle big ideas or to take the time to experiment, a true luxury. Perhaps one silver lining in all of this virus disruption is that I have the time now, and I intend to use it, much like a sabbatical semester for an academic. In addition, my hip surgery earlier this year kicked my ass with a longer-than-anticipated recovery, so the additional time to rehabilitate has come at a good time. It is hard to do art shows on a bum hip, that's for sure.
If you are reading this, then I hope that you and your loved ones are doing well and staying healthy throughout this challenging time. Let's all hope that we can get past this while keeping family and friends safe. After things return to normal, please remember to support your favorite small businesses, artists, and performers as best you can. This is an unprecedented time in the world, and your support will be needed.