Commentary

Rewarding art

July 31, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Did you learn something new this year? Stuck at home, in between teaching the children their lessons – did you have to learn those first? It has been a long haul and our perfectly justified caution – even fear – of loosening the reins of our isolation, clinging to our homes, tied to our screens to replace every form of entertainment, every stage we ever attended, with authorities going crazy as they watch with horror the escalation of the pandemic to the south and across the oceans, try to imagine how to keep things steady here, waffle about “opening” our world and, in spite of those openings, theatres and others remain vigilant and keep themselves tucked up in the virtual world.

I long for respite and an end to it because I look on virtual as a shadow of experience and a sham, yet, like us all, admit to being stuck with it, repulsed by it, as I am. I can’t help it. Faces in boxes, struggling to be real. YouTube videos – a whole shift in body language: won’t I be glad to see people functioning in the flesh again.

The convenience of it all is a seduction. I watched the recording of a meeting that had taken place a week before: the attendees were everywhere else, in B.C., in a vehicle pulled over by some trees, in an office, paintings on the wall, wherever they were and had a device that accommodated the discussion, which lasted an hour. It was funny to observe in a way; it was as though they forgot how intensely each of them appeared. In the distraction of a normal get together, expressions and gestures melt into the fabric of faces at a table, but with these individual and separate screens, each mini story was accentuated and told in full.

Of course, living in the country, rural internet kept that little circle spinning, stalling the action, so that watching an hour’s meeting consumed an hour and a half. At least.

Still, there we are stuck with it and I am impressed with how most people seem at ease, even content with the arrangements. I admire and applaud their determination to make the best of what must be, keep the devil of Coronavirus at bay and have their parties anyway.

On the other hand, the consequences of this continued arrangement is heavy, where folk have lost their incomes, both personal and businesses because life is really meant to be lived, person to person. As to the addiction to doing everything on line – that’s a problem to deal with in the coming months.

Still, charities must now struggle in really different ways to fund raise the necessary money to keep them afloat. Given that those charities are essential for the work they do, fund raising is important but public incomes are reduced and gathering to share for food and spending is on hold until some other way can be invented to copy what has always worked well. I believe they will invent and take startling and innovative approaches to these problems. 

Meanwhile – did you acquire a new skill or learn to release your inner artist, craftsperson, philosopher? That canvas suddenly covered by your choice of colour and subject, like an awakening – the dawn of an additional you? A whole new foray into that which you had only admired in others. Well, welcome to that world.

Art’s great virtue is, it is its own reward: investing personal time and effort to produce a work of any kind: visual in endless forms, literary, music, theatrical, culinary “from scratch” – all bear the enormous satisfaction that creating something does. At our most basic, we love to express ourselves creatively – from a sculpture to a plate of cookies. Many artists don’t necessarily earn their living at their endeavours; they also teach, hold workshops, have jobs but the soul level need to create is all and the rest must pay the bills. 

Yet and yet, they can be awarded with plaques and gestures, symbols of appreciation and recognition. Coming up is Orangeville’s version of the Oscars, a day and time of giving this region’s artists their due and accolades. There are only eight awards but they acknowledge the tremendous impact art has on this community in particular. Every nomination counts; each is a commitment by the community to the huge benefit that Art makes a difference to what sort of a place this is.

Noting how artists have pushed into the virtual world, doing their best to continue to entertain, inform and enlighten the dark messages that bombard us, with their own cheer. There has been music, displays, streaming of entertainment and theatre, all to keep the art community in the centre of attention where it deserves to be. 

Now we can thank artists too with the upcoming Arts and Culture Awards, hosted by the Town of Orangeville. Have a read of the Arts and Entertainment page in this issue for the details. Also, go to www.orangeville.com



         

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