Community is our tangible in this uncertain time!

I treasure all things Artistree and being a member of the Daily Artist group, and this morning I reflected on how meaningful it is to me. Artists create for a variety of reasons some for a living, some possibly for a hobby but mostly we create for our soul. Normally the Daily Artist group meets every number of weeks to chat about what we are up to, working on, projects, shows etc. We even have the opportunity to learn about one of our member’s artistic process. We get to talk endlessly about our passion.  Usually, we gather at the Artistree Gallery in South Pomfret surrounded by art as we chat with one another. Yes, snacks are usually involved too. Like the exhibit on the walls we had to rethink and change how we will meet and conduct the business of art for the foreseeable future due to the highly contagious and insidious corona virus.  

Zoom. Zoom? I knew nothing about “Zoom” until a few weeks ago as I was also learning our new term “social distancing.”  Zoom has now become as important in our home as our coffee maker. Well, nothing is as important than our coffee maker.  So, a Daily Artist “Zoom” meeting was scheduled for April 9th at 7:00 pm and I looked forward to virtually socializing with my fellow artists.For artists long uninterrupted time in our studios is highly sought after as there is simply nothing better. Currently for me there is a pandemic dark cloud hovering in my studio that is usually filled with light even on the stormiest Vermont day. The weight and challenges of this virus have entered my studio, my sacred creative space…

Individually we each had the opportunity to share our thoughts, concerns and our work. Not surprisingly our current situation took precedent over our work. We learned more about each other as we supported one another as each member spoke.  I admired each artist, each friend as they shared their story and how they are managing while home. We run the gambit of experiences in our small group. Young children learning remotely, people living alone, lost jobs, job furloughs, motivation issues, struggles with creativity during this time of great stress while others felt creatively liberated by home stays. We spoke of our concerns about family members living at a distance, unwell elder family members and even the death of a friend. We shared much more about ourselves than we normally might have. We championed each other and found ways to support each other.  Creative suggestions to turn some artistic disappointments around. I was at first hesitant to share with the group as I am shy by nature and do not like to talk about myself.  I began to feel like that young school age girl who feared the teacher calling on her. I guess we never really lose the lessons from our childhood. What I believed to be shyness and to some level it was I now understand that the tightness in my throat and the tears I was holding back when it was my turn to speak had more to do with the larger issue at hand than talking about  my art. The cultural whiplash and fear being felt as our world has been dramatically halted and nearly unrecognizable has left me feeling quite anxious, uncertain and overwhelmed.  Each person has their own story to tell as we navigate this curious time. 

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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