The Coronavirulization of the art world

By F. Lennox Campello

The Coronavirulization of the art world

A few weeks ago, what could possibly be the last art fair of 2019 took place in New York City amidst all the angst and social changes caused by the virus in our society. The fair was essentially a disaster, and we lost a ton of money, and subsequently all planned art fairs for 2020 have either been cancelled or postponed.

The silver lining in the coronavirulization of America is that, for artists, it gives all of us – in spite of the scariness being gratuitously disseminated by the main stream media in a futile effort to boost ratings – the perfect excuse, as we are forced to hunker down and batten all hatches, to do some constructive things which in most cases will help your art footprint in years to come.

“But Lenster,” you cry in anguish, “how can we exhibit and sell work?…all galleries are closed, all fairs postponed… all this… all that.”

Ahhh… money worries – good point.

Even in the best of times, artists often have money issues, and thus the Coronavirulization of the art world has an even more profound impact on our families.

There are options out there; in fact there are plenty of emergency resources for artists as well efforts to provide financial relief for artists.

Let me list a few.

The Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant (https://www.gottliebfoundation.org/emergency-grant/) is “intended to provide interim financial assistance to qualified painters, printmakers, and sculptors whose needs are the result of an unforeseen, catastrophic incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation. Each grant is given as one-time assistance for a specific emergency, examples of which are fire, flood, or emergency medical need.” This program has no deadlines.

The Artists’ Charitable Fund (http://artistscharitablefund.org/index.html) “assists American visual fine artists (painters and sculptors) living anywhere in the United States by paying a portion of their medical/dental/eye-care bills. For example, the Fund has purchased a wheelchair, paid for eye surgery, provided funding for an artificial leg, paid partial medical expenses of several artists who have cancer, as well as other needs for medical assistance.”

The Haven Foundation (http://www.thehavenfdn.org/) “offers interim financial assistance to freelance professionals in the arts who face crises. The Foundation’s reach is the United States, and its awards are granted with a view to helping individuals overcome temporary adversity and return to full-time work.”

Lots more resources listed here: https://dcartnews.blogspot.com/2020/03/financial-relief-resources-for-artists.html

Another thing that you can do – especially if you’re somewhat quarantined and at home with some decent online access – is to fine tune your artistic online presence and cement your digital footprint.

Here are some tools which make it easier to run an art business online:

My wife has been using Zoom to teach her graduate students online (at https://zoom.us/) – The free plan can host up to 100 participants for 40 minutes – perfect for whatever… maybe a presentation to a client?

Since I plugged Zoom – how about Loom! (https://www.loom.com/) – With this partially free toolset, you can capture your screen, voice, video, image, face… whatever, and share your video.

Saatchi – I use this service and have sold work though its online platform – At https://www.saatchiart.com/ and you’ll be able to keep 70% of the final sale price.

Wanna build a new website? Wix at https://www.wix.com/  is a good start. With the Wix website builder, you do not need any coding skills as Wix gives you 100s of templates, unlimited pages gratis hosting or you can upgrade to a premium plan starting at $13/month and get even more. Same deal pretty much at Hypermart (https://www.hypermart.net/), where you also get free email, etc.

Wanna publish a book and sell it through Amazon? With Blurb (http://www.blurb.com/) – you have one platform for designing, creating, publishing, marketing, and selling print books and e-books.

Above all – keep making art, and use this dark period to create artwork which will hopefully survive for decades and centuries after we have all long died of old age!

Also remember to do the social distancing stuff – our grandparents were asked to go to war and they did – all that’s being asked of us is to stay at home! Keep calm and carry on.

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” noted the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Remember that!

Campello out.

About the Author: F. Lennox Campello has been called “one of the most interesting people of Washington, DC” by the Washington City Paper, and is considered as one of the leading artists and visual arts voices in the DMV – an acronym which he invented a few decades ago.

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