Left to right: Edmund Nash, Guy Rodgers, and René Marquez at the MainFilm Schmoozer, 2019. Photo by Laurence Ly.
Covid-19 has hit artists with a force that is impossible to fully evaluate. We were taking baby steps toward reopening theatres, studios and galleries, carefully adhering to public health directives that increase costs and reduce revenues. Now three regions are shutting down again. How quickly will audiences return? When will productions become economically viable? And what can we expect from this second wave? This is unexplored territory and nothing is more disorienting than the unknown.
The only good thing about all of this is that we are in it together. Adversity can bring out the best in people, and in entire communities. Artists and arts organization have banded together to experiment with new ways to create work and present it to audiences. Arts Service Organizations are gathering information about support programs and sharing it with their members.
All of ELAN’s projects have veered in new directions. The entire ArtEd program, which was aiming to send artists into 240 schools this year, has had to develop a back-up plan for on-line interactions. ARTS2U has developed a pilot project called ArtsCast that is filming local artists in small venues to help connect them with paying audiences on-line. ELAN’s Québec Relations project is presenting valuable information about funding sources via webinars. The new SELFIES project will film group conversations this fall and winter with English-speakers about our sense of belonging in Quebec. We are preparing two filming scenarios: in-person if possible and on-line if necessary. The times are uncertain but we are all doing the best we can to adapt to the evolving situation, and to help one another. That is the silver lining to this dark cloud.