The pandemic has changed the discourse of everyday life. The same holds true for the arts. Covid-19 has left its stamp on the art scene. An abundance of colorful masks, germ animations and portraits of health care works have circulated across social media.
Social media has become the world’s virtual art museum. The Covid Art Museum or CAM, an Instagram page that calls itself “the world’s 1st museum for art born during COVID-19 crisis” has a collection of pandemic-inspired art.
The page allows artists to submit work freely, and for many who have had to cancel their displays at galleries or art shows, this serves as an opportunity for exposure even during the pandemic.
Emmy Mulindwa is a senior art student at Houghton College. Mulindwa currently has her artwork on display in her school’s art gallery. She said this was a huge achievement and opportunity that 2020 art graduates, unfortunately, did not get the opportunity to experience, as the gallery was closed during the pandemic.
“I value public gatherings around art as well as having in-person critique as an art student more so now than before the pandemic,” said Mulindwa
Before the pandemic, it would have been hard to imagine abstract paintings of mask wearers as a social norm, but now the image is both familiar and relatable.
With fewer social interactions, virtual art forms have been adopted, some artists choosing to use computers, tablets or smartphones to create their masterpiece. Meanwhile, others still desire to use a simple canvas or sketchbooks. Regardless of an artist’s preference, the pandemic has changed the way society views art and the ways artists create art.
Philadelphia artist, Bentley Brown said just hearing the term “covid art” makes him imagine artistic germs. While a number of COVID-inspired murals have appeared across the country, Brown said he misses the street artists he used to encounter here in Philadelphia.
“I’m used to seeing people selling art in the street, usually South street, but since the pandemic, I don’t see street vendors anymore,” said Brown.
Like other hobbies or passions, art has been used as a form of expression. During an era of a global pandemic, art has demonstrated solidary and inspiration for many people.