There have been so many changes to our lives recently. All of us are finding ourselves needing to
adapt to new ways of living, working, and communicating. We are also searching for ways to
unwind, de-stress, and find a bit of peace as a way to combat the levels of stress that have
become our new normal. While there is currently a lot of uncertainty and fear in our world there
is also a lot of goodness and hope to be found. People all over the world are coming together to
support and take care of each other in ways that are just as unique as the times we find ourselves
living in. People in Italy are coming out nightly onto their balconies to sing together in a
beautiful voice of unity. Others step out to applaud their healthcare workers who are bravely and
selflessly caring for the sick. And people in the art world are creating beautiful, useful, and funny
ways to help us cope with what we are all experiencing together. Now, more than ever, art is
important in so many ways.

They say that music and poetry flourish during the darkest times and we can see that happening
now. Musicians are producing new songs and sharing them with the world remotely. Poets are
writing in ways that give words to the feelings many of us have but cannot find a way to express.
All aspects of the art world are important right now however and, as artists ourselves, it is
important for us to continue to create and here’s why:

Art brings us joy! Whether we create it ourselves or experience what someone else has made,
art provides happiness. Viewing and creating art can release some of our happy brain chemicals
and can help combat the stress chemicals we have in abundance during times of crisis. Sharing
art with others helps spread joy and allows us to have shared experiences even while we are
physically apart.

Art helps us to process tough emotions. Producing and experiencing art can help us work
through heightened emotions such as frustration, sadness, anxiety, and anger. Suppressing these
sensations can exacerbate them but allowing ourselves to feel and express them in a healthy way
can help us to process and handle the situation. Art can remind us how strong and resilient we
really are!

Art offers distraction. How many of us have been working on a project and looked up to find
that hours have flown by? For many people staying at home has meant a surplus of time they are
struggling to fill. Some of us are home alone, some of us have children we are trying to keep off
screens and occupied, and most of us are going a little stir crazy. Now is the perfect time to get
out the supplies and get creative! Having limited access to supplies provides a chance to stretch
our creativity to new levels by using what we already have on hand.

Creativity exercises the brain! While catching up on Netflix and social media can be fun, and
we all need a chance to just veg out and escape, too much of that isn’t good for our mental health
or overall wellbeing. When we shut off the tube and get into art we get a chance to work out our
brains and keep them healthy and productive. Trying out a new form of art can really get those
brain juices flowing too. When we try new things we increase our sense of accomplishment.
And, if it doesn’t work out so well the first time, we can always use the experience to practice
laughing at ourselves!

Art brings us together! What is art except an opportunity to describe and express the human
experience? We are all experiencing this time is different ways but we are all going through it
together. The art created during this time allows us to connect with each other and remember that
we have had a shared experience. It will also serve to document that experience for those who
come after us. Not only that but people from all corners of the globe can find common ground in
the types of art they love to create and observe. While we are practicing social distancing we can
still reach out virtually to share our passions. There are online groups where you can chat with
people who share your artistic interests or you can stretch your comfort zone and use this time to
learn about a new area of the art world.

So, let’s embrace our arts to stay centered and joyful! Whether your artistic medium is music,
words, painting, food, sewing, crafting, decorating, building, designing, or a combination of
these, it is essential that we continue to create art and to share those creations with others. We
WILL get through this time of crisis, we will do it together, and we will do it with art!