Editor’s Note: Atlanta’s artists face uncertainty in this age of coronavirus. To help us all connect, we offer this new series: “In Our Own Words.” In each post, an artist will share their experience, strength and hope as they navigate a new normal.
On March 7, somewhere in the afternoon, a low feeling of worry grew in my body. By night, my team had reached out to our community via newsletter. We were one of the first (artistic organizations) in the city to send out a letter. As artists, we have spent our entire lives creating from ideas that can’t be seen. This virus cannot be seen. We will stand right now and have the courage to do the work and face those fears.
I was finishing a new work, Inescapable Involvements. It’s about when two living things are as close as they can be without touching. That distance when you can hear each other breathe. Then 48 hours later this new vocabulary, “social distancing,” came into my life. I don’t know if I was floating or without a grounding. The distance between [before and after] feels huge, perhaps almost too great a distance to ride out. But then the idea occurred — perhaps this is an offering and an opportunity. So I am creating new choreography. All the glo artists are getting paid. The moving artists and I are working from our homes, five to seven spaces around Atlanta depending on the day. I don’t know how to work Zoom very well, but rather than worrying about my Zoom skills I put all effort into the creative process, what we hold onto, what we let go, how we remember others and care for ourselves. We are deepening the social nature of this platform. I am so grateful to learn about these digital ways of communicating. This is day six of not sleeping! It is change.
I got a letter from a funder today. It said, “We will all weather this together.” Society assumes we are supposed to be stable but as an artist I didn’t think the world was stable to begin with. Around the world there is great kinship happening. I think about people’s need for nature, for healing, and one thing has become very clear: we need to take care of each other as artists. And extend that care and empathy. I’m being a nuisance to my parents right now. They are 76 years old and I can’t get them not to be free and not do things they are not supposed to do.
In times like these, when we are separated by necessity, ArtsATL is needed more than ever. Please consider a donation so we can continue to highlight Atlanta’s creative community during this unprecedented period.