Maintaining creativity in quarantine

I thought I would be emptying out my lockers at the end of the semester during finals week. But instead, my lockers and other on campus storage was cleared out 8 weeks too soon, the weekend before Spring Break.  

Because of COVID-19, on Friday, March 13, faculty and students learned that Missouri Southern had made the decision to move classes to an online format for the remainder of the semester.  

This is an issue for several reasons, one being that many students won’t be able to access the equipment necessary to fulfill course requirements. Areas of study that are heavily affected by the loss of equipment access include the dental program, biology, theatre, music, and art departments.  

While we are certainly lucky that we are not sick, but able to stay home, safe and healthy, we are still negatively impacted by additional consequences of COVID-19.  

As an art major, all of my courses have been derailed in some aspect. Some are less impacted than others. My studio classes suffer the most.  

This semester, I am enrolled in a watercolor painting class, two printmaking special topics courses, a publication design course, and I have been preparing for my senior show as a graduating senior.  

As other universities across the nation started moving classes online, I became anxious, dreading what it would mean if Southern took that same step.  

When we finally got confirmation that we wouldn’t until May 1 (when we were originally supposed to return), my heart dropped. I was worried about how I would be able to complete the rest of the work for my senior show.  

While some mediums are a bit more mobile, some can’t be moved to the house. You can’t take the pottery wheels or printmaking press home for the weekend, much less a month-long quarantine.  

Luckily, I was able to come in over the weekend and finish printing what I needed in preparation for my senior show, though it’s doubtful it will be exhibited any time soon.  

After packing up everything from my lockers on campus and moving them home, they’ve been sitting in my house for the past two weeks.  

Now, we’ve been social distancing for just over two weeks. It’s been harder to bring myself to complete assignments. While my motivation is dwindling, slowly but surely, I’m getting things done.  

I imagine this is how many people are feeling at this point. We seldom leave the house save for work or grocery shopping.  

Many might feel emotionally drained from the monotony and uncertainty. We realize the everyday occurrences we once took for granted. We miss going out with our friends, strolling through the park at our own leisure, or hugging our parents at night.  

All these things and more are things we never thought we’d miss until we were no longer able to do for the sake of preventing spreading this virus.  

However, in time, when social distancing is lifted, we can rejoice in the arms of our friends and family, feel free to go where we’d like to rather than quickly shuffle through the stores for groceries.  

Until then, in these weird times we can turn to all forms of art for entertainment and enrichment.  

I’ve seen people all over social media platforms raving over the shows and movies they’ve been watching. Artists have started streaming mini-performances from their homes for fans to enjoy during social distancing.  

Personally, I’ve spent significantly more of my free time on YouTube and listening to music, and I think I’m ready to start creating again. I want to take more photos, edit and paint.  

In this time, I’ve found a love of cooking through a YouTube series and rediscovered old songs that I once loved dearly.  

In this strange time, it is crucial for us to bring the light of creativity through the cracks of the monotony.  

So, while you might feel locked in right now, take this time to discover something new, whether it’s a movie, TV series, YouTube channel or other form of art. Invest some time in virtual art tours, such as the Modern Museum of Art in New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and more.  

Seek out new things, and feel free to create as you wish.