It’s clear to people in our industry that sheltering-in-place has resulted in an uptick in various creative pursuits: art is a balm for stress, boredom and the endless, very human need to express ourselves. While we have been able to connect our customers with the tools to access these creative practices, the communal aspects of art continue to be deeply missed by many. Luckily a lot of the people who keep the art world running are just as ingenious and creative as the artists, artwork and concepts they represent.
In case you haven’t noticed from previous articles, I like the concept of three happy thoughts and I’m a silver linings kind of person. Three good things to close out a rough day, a long week or, in the case of this post, a complicated year. Here are some observations about resilience and creativity in the art world, with a focus on museums.
Increased Accessibility of Collections, Openings & Art History
Museums all over the world have held virtual openings, published high-quality digital catalogs of their collections and made audio tours available online. This not only makes collections more accessible to people who are sheltering in place, it allows people who may not have been able to visit before the pandemic to do so (the elderly, folks living with illness or disability and folks who may have not been able to afford the visit or transportation). Check out this amazing collection of virtual museums, compiled by Google!
A Museum Supports Local Artists: The de Young Open
Museums have been aligning with their values more this year. They have taken a look at the nature of their collections, who they are representing, how those collections were obtained and how they can support artists in the here and now. The de Young’s exhibit in October of 2019 did just that. The museum saw the need to function as a massive gallery, with better ventilation and more resources than smaller establishments, they chose to utilize their space for the greater good of the creative community in the Bay Area.
The de Young Open is a juried community art exhibition of submissions by artists local to the San Francisco Bay Area. Curators filled the 12,000-square-foot Herbst Exhibition Galleries with over 850 artworks featuring 762 Bay Area artists. I actually had the opportunity to go see the art in person which, after not having been in a gallery or museum since February, was a trip. Masked up, I visited the de Young with my ticket at a certain time, maintaining social distance from other museum goers and feeling very strange but grateful. From floor to ceiling, the walls were covered with a mosaic of artwork. Fitting right in with 2020, the collection was emotional, intense, calming, devastating, inspiring and heartfelt. They cataloged the work online and each piece was available for sale, with the proceeds going directly to the artists. It was thrilling to see the work of a few of my friends and acquaintances, a reminder of how tightly knit our various creative communities truly are.
Artsy Audio Storytelling on The Rise
Podcasts are another way that the creative world has reached out to connect with one another. While many of us in this industry are visual thinkers and creators, the intimacy of audio has bridged the social distance gap for many of us.
Art podcasts range from shows that focus on art history and education, to shows that feature interviews with local artists, to shows that unpack trends in the art world, or even focus on our beloved niche, art supplies! It’s a great way to safely connect with a creative world, and since many of us are already visual thinkers, we can tune in, get absorbed in the story and fill in the rest with our imaginations.
Not used to listening to podcasts? You can stream podcasts on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play or Stitcher, or you can download a free app like AntennaPod to your phone and subscribe to shows that resonate with you.
If you are looking to listen or to share with your customers here are some great shows:
The Lonely Palette, a decidedly un-snobby exploration of art history with fabulous host Tamir Avishavi. Accessible, fun and in depth. An essential listen for anyone who loves museums and the stories behind individual works of art!
The de Young’s new podcast Local Voices. A great way to connect with a museum or a particular collection you miss (in this case, Season 1 focuses on Frida Kahlo).
Raw Material from SFMOMA, guest hosted by a different podcaster each season! Each season has a theme and delves into a specific concept, featuring different makers and mediums.
Art Bound by The Artist’s Network. Candid conversations with artists, great for listening while you make art, run errands or stock shelves!
The Savvy Painter with Antrese Wood. Interviews with artists from all over the world, a great listen for artists at work in their studios as well as various creatives and entrepreneurs looking for community .
Paint Stories with Mark Golden of GOLDEN! Another great listen for painters, art history buffs and art supply lovers.
Material Feels! Hosted by…me, haha. A show about the intimate relationship between creative people and the materials they choose to work with. A calming, soothing listen.
Art is essential for the human spirit. It’s a tool for problem-solving, for expression, and connection. The Art Dog Team is so grateful that the art world is responding resiliently and creatively to the struggles this year. Be safe, keep creating, keep connecting. Email us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com with additional gems you’d like us to cover in 2021!