By Miranda Stroble
Have you ever wanted to watch a local artist at work, hear a local singer perform, or try out a yoga or tai chi class? Now is your chance to do all of that and so much more for free. You cannot currently attend any such events in person right now, but Creative Carlsbad, our local Creative Arts Council, has started an initiative called Create Art, Cultivate Joy that allows you are participate from home. They have created a Facebook group where they are inviting the out-of-work artists and creative people in our community to show off their skills and share some workshops, presentations, and demonstrations via live videos so they can share their talents as well as spread some awareness of the work they are doing when they are not closed down. Julie Chester, the executive director of the Pearl of the Pecos Arts and Culture District, who is spearheading this new endeavor, discussed where the idea for this movement came from and how it is serving the community in this difficult time. “The virus has had a huge, severe impact on our artist community,” Chester said. “Around 30 artists work and sell at the Artist Gallery, and that is closed. Musicians have had their gigs cancelled. No one can hold their classes. I think the first two weeks of all of this crazy quarantine stuff all of us at Creative Carlsbad were scrambling trying to figure out what can we do to help. I asked what would make me feel better right now. How can we shed some light in this dark and scary time? How can we spread some joy? Also, how can we showcase the wonderful artists that we have in our community? Let’s jump on Facebook and create a platform for them.” When asked about the response to the initiative Chester responded, “Everyone is volunteering their time right now, which I am just blown away by the generosity and excitement that everybody has for this. One of the things we are encouraging everyone to do is, when you go live, talk about what you do as an artist or a business owner. It is bringing joy and experiences to people, but it is also bringing awareness of the things we already have here in Carlsbad. When all of this is over more people will know about it, and those businesses can come back even stronger than before. It’s really been neat just kind of seeing how much excitement has come into the art world in Carlsbad just from social media. People are forced to be home, they are sitting their bored, and they are already on social media. It is really making a splash in a big way, bringing art kind of to the forefront in Carlsbad.” Many local artists have lamented that the arts community in Carlsbad is not more supported. The greatest struggle is that the people of Carlsbad don’t often know the artists are there. This is such a unique opportunity for the community to learn about all of the amazing artists that are working in our community. These artists sharing their work and expertise for free would have been potentially damaging when the world is functioning at its normal pace, but right now these artists cannot work in the ways they are traditionally able to so they are taking the risk of sharing what they can for free in the hopes that the exposure will result in better support for them on the other side of the shutdowns. Remember these live demonstrations are being offered by folks who do this for their livelihood. If you are partaking in these free demonstrations, please remember to continue that support when the artists are able to get back to work. Explore and purchase their artworks, go to their performances, and join their classes. Let’s appreciate these artists in the ways we can as a way of saying thank you to them for creating art that helps us cultivate joy in these troubling times.