5 November 2020 | Art Almanac
This article was previously published in the 5 November 2020 Art Almanac
e-newsletter, along with reflections from a number of other artists, art administrators and gallery owners.
Hindsight is 20/20. So, we asked artists and people working in the arts how this year has fractured or evolved their approach to creative life and what they would like to see change for the better in the arts. Reflecting on the year that is, brings us into the present to plan for the future.
Artist – Nancy Lane
Cliché as it sounds, this year has led to doors closing, but new doors opening. An exhibition planned for May with Creativity Cluster, a group of nine women artists that I facilitate, was postponed when Melbourne went into lockdown. However, the lockdown led the City of Melbourne to offer COVID-19 Arts Grants. Our group successfully applied for a grant to create a website and post our planned exhibition online, which we launched in July. As a result, instead of only Melbourne locals seeing the exhibition, we have now had nearly 50 per cent of our viewers from interstate and overseas.
The doors of River Studios, where I am normally an artist in residence, also closed, which meant no interaction with fellow artists. However, this led to reviving friendships and regular chats by Zoom with an artist from Berlin that I had exhibited with in 2018 when she was living in Melbourne, and with colleagues in Laos where I had previously held two of my solo exhibitions.
The gallery where I sell my small wall sculptures and brooches also closed its doors. However, with no access to my studio, I had time to do the behind-the-scenes administration and web posting that was required when the gallery transitioned to online sales. Amazingly, during August and September, my sales doubled over previous months when the gallery’s doors were open.
The doors of other local galleries closed as well, where I had been scheduled to participate in several group shows. However, this led to my looking for opportunities online, and these were varied. For example, two different galleries asked for contributions based on aspects of our COVID-19 experience. I found this challenging and thought-provoking. It provided an opportunity to reflect creatively on the situation we were in, despite being hampered by having to work from home instead of the studio.
Being flexible, staying optimistic, doing what I could, trying not to stress about the things I couldn’t, looking for opportunities: these all contributed to a year that has passed surprisingly quickly with some unexpected positive results. These attitudes should continue to serve me well as next year approaches. Nonetheless, I have sorely missed River Studios and am looking forward with keen anticipation to this old door reopening.