Joslyn Fillman: Art in the time of coronavirus
It goes without saying that these are strange times.
Unprecedented for many of us, frightening, confusing. In the last week I’ve watched as close friends of mine have lost their jobs — servers, bar backs, teacher’s aides and more. Essential services — or so we thought — the people who make our food, teach our children.
It makes a lot of what I do day to day feel, well, arbitrary at best.
I love this community and I love the arts. The two sort of go hand in hand.
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But the task of filling an entertainment publication — meant to be a resource to get our community out and about, enjoying the arts and one another — becomes a behemoth when your inbox is littered with press releases contradicting previous press releases and your phone rings with one call after the other that art shows have stopped, galleries closed, venues shut down, concerts and movies and events canceled across the county and state and nation and world.
So what can this little, local, free publication do in times like this? What information is of value? What helps pass the time? What distracts? Informs?
We’ve worked this week to fill Prospector with content to entertain, enrich, inform. It’s not what it once was — from one week to the next, there will likely be many changes — maybe we all feel changed. But it’s something, it’s trucking along, and I hope you’ll stay for the long journey ahead.
We’ve worked to remove any outdated information, and to encourage us all to seek entertainment where we can, safely. Likely from our own homes.
Our arts community needs our help more than ever. Huge productions, months in the making, canceled in the blink of an eye. An artist’s show, the one she’s worked all year to produce, over before it opened. Beyond the psychological despair and fear, there’s the economic impact. How does anyone come out on the other end of this unscathed? We likely don’t.
Small things add up. The CDC issues guidelines to keep us safe — as safe as possible — and the fact that our community has, for the most part, followed these guidelines shows that we care about one another, and we care enough to make sacrifices. Each canceled show flattens the curve, each closed gallery, each empty movie theater, every abandoned restaurant and shuttered school gives our hospitals, nurses, doctors, and all health-care workers time to prepare and respond. It gives our parents and grandparents breathing room.
But we want a community to return to. When our isolation ends, as it surely will, we’ll want what we had, what we have supported so diligently with our time and money in the past.
That ticket — now unusable — to that show that’s no longer happening, why not consider it a donation to the theater, actors, directors and everyone else who worked for weeks and months to bring that show to a stage near you? And our nonprofits — with their assortment of annual fundraisers, always entertaining soirées — they’ll need you to show up in July, August, September, or whenever those doors reopen.
They’ll need our help more than ever.
For now, maybe for a while, we owe it to ourselves and each other to stay home, stay away, let rooms meant for closeness, for shared experiences remain empty, unused. We’ll find new, innovative ways to interact with one another, to enjoy the music and art we love.
This is Nevada County — it is what we do best. More than anywhere I’ve lived or been, this community looks out for one another. We’ll have to be smart about it — but we’ll never stop doing it.
Joslyn Fillman is the features editor at The Union and Prospector. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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