Health and Healthcare Systems

These artists have found creative ways to offer hope amid the COVID-19 crisis

Amateur pianist Alberto Gestoso Arce, 37, plays the piano from his balcony for neighbours, near the Sagrada Familia basilica, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Barcelona, Spain March 21, 2020. Picture taken March 21, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce - Coronavirus china virus health healthcare who world health organization disease deaths pandemic epidemic worries concerns Health virus contagious contagion viruses diseases disease lab laboratory doctor health dr nurse medical medicine drugs vaccines vaccinations inoculations technology testing test medicinal biotechnology biotech biology chemistry physics microscope research influenza flu cold common cold bug risk symptomes respiratory china iran italy europe asia america south america north washing hands wash hands coughs sneezes spread spreading precaution precautions health warning covid 19 cov SARS 2019ncov wuhan sarscow wuhanpneumonia  pneumonia outbreak patients unhealthy fatality mortality elderly old elder age serious death deathly deadly

In the era of social distancing, millions of artists around the world have found creative ways to reach people virtually. Image: REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Barbara Stcherbatcheff
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COVID-19

  • Artists around the world are adapting to shutdowns by swapping physical performance spaces for virtual ones.
  • Social distancing comes at a great price for both artists and audiences.
  • Artists are finding creative ways to keep people connected during a pandemic that keeps us apart.

A robotic arm playing a cello was one of many highlights at Olafur Eliasson's Symbiotic Seeing exhibition in Zurich, Switzerland, before it closed prematurely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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You can now watch a video of the exhibition, as well as a clip of the robot cellist in action playing eerie music by award-winning Icelandic composer Hildur Gudnadottir.

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With audiences isolating at home, venues shuttered, events cancelled – including Glastonbury and Edinburgh’s August festivals – and freelancers’ paychecks melting away, the arts industry, which operates almost exclusively from public spaces, is scrambling to reinvent itself online.

Many artists have responded to this challenge with the kind of ingenuity you'd expect from highly creative minds.

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The arts world, from your couch

American children's book illustrator and artist Carson Ellis started a quarantine art club on Instagram with daily assignments for people stuck at home.

Musicians from the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra embraced technology to record a virtual rendition of Beethoven's Ode to Joy from their homes.

“We’re adjusting to a new reality and we’ll have to find solutions in order to support each other,” the musicians said in their video, which had over 2 million views in less than two weeks.

“Creative forces help us, let’s think outside of the box and use innovation to keep our connection and make it work, together. Because if we do it together, we’ll succeed.”

Other musicians and singers have live-streamed concerts from home, with online audiences quick to show their appreciation with a deluge of likes, shares and comments.

US entertainment site Billboard compiled a list of artists and bands who are live-streaming shows “to share some musical joy during these trying times.”

Other tools to get your culture fix without leaving home have been around since before the lockdowns. For example, many museums will allow you to visit their collections virtually.

The arts help people to cope in dark times – even during a pandemic that prevents us experiencing art and culture alongside others in the same physical spaces.

Eliasson recently shared an illustration he dedicated to Italian friends and family and the wider community. The picture encourages us to use our time in isolation to learn to be more caring and connected to each other and the world.

Coronavirus china virus health healthcare who world health organization disease deaths pandemic epidemic worries concerns Health virus contagious contagion viruses diseases disease lab laboratory doctor health dr nurse medical medicine drugs vaccines vaccinations inoculations technology testing test medicinal biotechnology biotech biology chemistry physics microscope research influenza flu cold common cold bug risk symptomes respiratory china iran italy europe asia america south america north washing hands wash hands coughs sneezes spread spreading precaution precautions health warning covid 19 cov SARS 2019ncov wuhan sarscow wuhanpneumonia  pneumonia outbreak patients unhealthy fatality mortality elderly old elder age serious death deathly deadly
A message of hope from artist Olafur Eliasson. Image: designboom
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