Editor’s note: Atlanta’s artists face uncertainty in the age of coronavirus. To help us all connect, we’re offering this series. In each “In Our Own Words” post, an artist will share their experience, strength and hope as we all navigate a new normal.
I grew up in New England. We are a hearty bunch. When it snows in Georgia, I’m definitely in the “What is everyone worried about?” camp. I admit that when news started percolating in January and February about Covid-19, I definitely thought anyone talking about this being something we had to worry about was being alarmist. The night of March 12, my seventh-grader had her first dance. The school was already slated to be off on Friday, for the long weekend. That afternoon we got the word that Georgia schools were closing. Thankfully, the school held tight and held the dance that night. By the end of the night, after some long talks with other parents, I felt pretty convinced that we would not be back at school (or up and running in public) before the end of the school year. I’m grateful for this shift. It allowed [Synchronicity] to work quickly to put together a sound/video team to capture a recording of Wayfinding [a world premiere that closed two weeks early]. I’m forever grateful for that.
The Atlanta theater community has once again come together with an inspiring collaboration. We have created an email list through which leaders can ask questions, share details about applying for government programs, talk about how to support artists and how we are making programming decisions. We are collectively approaching funders to ensure a cohesive community presence and shared resources. As an organization, we’re trying to give our staff as much “face time” as we can. We have a daily Hangout check-in. We jump on the phone or on Hangout to talk through things, rather than keeping everything on email. Personally, my family is trying to really embrace the joys and gifts of this time. We have learned how to make bread. We’re going for long walks in the woods. We make s’mores in the firepit. Midday we all stop working for a few minutes and go stand in the backyard in the sunshine with the dogs. Oh, and stocking up at Ansley Wine Merchants when all of this started was another great part of the coping plan.
My biggest hope is that we come out of this time renewed. My hope is that it serves as a reminder of all of the things that Covid-19 has laid bare. We are interconnected, and our similarities are more important than our differences. We are all vulnerable. And we have a powerful resilience and desire to serve one another, to reach out, to care and to support. Despite the incredible difficulties of keeping an organization (and all of the people attached) intact, employed, engaged — artists are making art. We are making art to encourage each other, to engage with our audience, with our community. We are making art because that is what we do. I hope for, and believe in, a future where we understand more deeply how the arts lift us up, inspire us and encourage us.
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 time.