Issue 4 out now!

Life feels static, but artists are still creating.

By Hadassah Penn.

Before quarantine, art enjoyment was an essential part of our lives. It offered respite from our busy schedules, bonding activities for quiet evenings, and destinations for leisurely weekends.

In isolation, whether you’re going stir-crazy from boredom or your days are carefully scheduled, chances are you’ve been relying on different kinds of art more than ever to provide comfort, entertainment, and mental relaxation. Luckily, creators are still making art. They’re quarantined just like us, and their creations are bright spots in a difficult time, providing support and solidarity to help us through.

Although musicians can’t go on tour right now, many are still dropping new music on schedule, or even surprising fans with special releases. All of this new content can be overwhelming, though—for a curated playlist of new releases across all genres, try Press Pause on Spotify, created by NPR Music. The playlist includes music from artists you might recognize, like Neil Young and Phoebe Bridgers, and it also features smaller, lesser-known musicians—a great way to expand your music taste. And the best part? The playlist is updated almost daily, so you never run out of new music.

Looking for live performances? Music festivals may have been canceled, but you can still “attend” live concerts via platforms like YouTube and Instagram. Musician
Tessa Violet, for example, was scheduled to go on tour following a recent album release. Instead, she’s created an alternative: the Something To Look Forward To tour. Twice a week, Violet performs live and free on YouTube for her two million subscribers. For the length of a real concert – close to two hours – she chats with her viewers, performs music from her new album, and even brings in special guests (remotely, of course) while the live chat goes wild.

For a quarantine initiative that is both adorable and brilliant, see Shelter in Place Gallery on Instagram. While many galleries have moved online, Boston-based artist Eben Haines went in a different direction: he has created a tiny exhibition space, 20 by 30 inches, in which he features miniature artwork sent to him by local artists. The exhibitions are varied, everything from mini figure painting to organic sculpture, and Haines photographs them carefully, so that you almost wouldn’t know they’re small—which, of course, is part of the joke. Shelter in Place Gallery allows artists with limited resources to keep creating, and it also gives viewers a new way to appreciate art.

It’s inspiring to see the way artists continue to create. Equally refreshing is the way audience members continue to support the arts by donating to causes, sharing links, and showing up virtually. Art has saved many of us in the past. Now it’s our turn to return the favor, so that we may continue to connect with both ourselves and others through the unique lens only art can provide.

Photos via Shelter in Place Gallery.