It is our calling as artists to entertain the public in times of crisis.
So many of us are struggling across scores of industries from airlines to the arts, from construction to publishing, from shipping to trade. The list goes on and on. It’s hard to fathom how quickly our world has changed in the last couple of weeks. On a personal level, we’ve lost tons of gigs, the publishing date of my memoir was postponed, and we are worried about the older and immunocompromised people in our lives. In short, we are struggling to deal with everything that is going on. I’m guessing we’re not alone.
On Friday the 13th of this month whilst on an American Airlines flight home from LAX to JFK, I quipped to my husband at how the world will look at history as pre-COVID19, and post-COVID19. He replied, “you think it’ll be like 9/11?” If only this mammoth threat facing us were as cut and dry as the events of September 11th.
For most of us artists, we know exactly the profession we chose. We know this industry has its ups and downs and hardly ever brings security. Some of us probably fell into it, and have been lucky enough to carry success with them; until now. Some artists don’t need money in the coming weeks or months, some of us need to keep earning income to keep our businesses afloat, and some of us artists need money simply to eat.
Again, I repeat: many of us chose this life knowing full well that it wasn’t an easy one. Why then, do we keep doing what we do? We do it because it is our calling as artists to entertain the public, especially in times of crisis.
Historically, artists become more serious about their work after they see the way it affects the people they put it in front of. Successful acrobats, comedians, dancers, instrumentalists, painters, singers, and writers, to name a few, all have one thing in common. Our commonality is our inexplicable desire to create. But more than that, we all get great pleasure by connecting with our audiences on a deep, emotional level. Whether that be moving someone to cathartic tears of joy and laughter, or simply reminding individuals, through our performances, why life is so precious.
This is why we must keep going. It is our calling as artists to entertain the public in times of crisis. They depend on us to provide a healthy escape from the panic that is engulfing their lives. The public needs us now more than ever, and we intend to keep delivering.