It’s difficult to see the silver lining these days. Sure, the heartbreak part is easy, as we see so many artists, arts groups, local businesses and restaurants all forced to cancel events and close their doors. But if there’s one thing I can say for sure about our arts community, it’s that we’re resilient.
These tough times have forced our local arts organizations to challenge themselves, and they’ve risen to the occasion. Luckily, from these efforts have come successful new ventures that will continue well beyond the current state of quarantines and cancelations.
At Hudson Valley Writers Center (HVWC), all classes were swiftly converted to an online format. This venture has also brought in revenue to help keep them going. According to HVWC Director Krista Madsen: “We had wanted to get some online classes going for some time, and now suddenly we have to!” Soon, people who can’t make it to Sleepy Hollow can get their expert instruction online.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, I tuned in to a concert at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts as I settled in for my self-imposed quarantine. The 2020 Schwab Vocal Rising Stars performed to an empty Music Room, and just like that – world-class music was in the living rooms of more than 300 people. My one-year-old son, hearing opera for the first time, stood up, smiled at me, and actually clapped! So you see, the stream introduced opera to a new audience, even the nursery set. Subsequently, more than 2,000 people watched the stream. According to Executive Director Jeff Haydon: “Given that we have a capacity of 180 in the Music Room, we had a much bigger impact with this performance than we had originally planned.” The Center has now planned a “Caramoor Livestream” series through April.
When all is said and done, the arts will still be here, helping us through the hard times. They will provide solace, induce laughter and inspire us to find creative solutions.
Check the our virtual arts list to see more ways in which local arts groups have kept the arts alive by going digital during these uncertain times. Let’s continue to think on our feet, connect, and work together to find the silver linings. After all, we’re resilient.
Mary Alice Franklin is ArtsWestchester’s Communications Manager and ArtsNews Editor. She has also written about art for The Huffington Post, Paste Magazine, Art Zealous, Skinnygirl Daily, Art Times Journal and more.