02.03.2021 RC Studios

Where Have All the (Native) Artists Gone?

Life has changed dramatically in the past year. COVID-19 evolved into a pandemic that has touched almost all of us.  Close to 65 million people throughout the world have been infected.  Over 2.5 million people have died, and if you live among others, your life has been altered. 

Possibly one of the hardest hit communities is the art world.  Artists have been told, “You are nonessential.”  Art shows have been canceled for over a year.  Museums are ghost towns, still not open to the public.  Concert and theater venues are quiet, and people ARE staying home. 

What is a fine, or performance artist to do to keep from financial ruin, and (maybe more importantly) keep his craft alive?  Native populations have been devastated by COVID-19.  No one can say with certainty, when artists, as well as their clients, will be offered the vaccine.  Welcomed technology is helping connect artists to patrons; let’s all give thanks for the ‘world wide web.’

Concerts are streamed.  Native jewelers, potters, and painters are showing their work on Instagram and Facebook.  Some Native artists are lucky enough to have prestigious institutions such as SWAIA (South West Association of Indian Arts) or the Heard Museum displaying their work through their website. Sometimes, featured work will even link to the artist’s website. 

If fact, The Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ is at the forefront of changing with the times, while following pandemic protocols.  Their virtual Indian Market will be  March 5-7, 2021.  You will be able to view the ‘best of the best,’ and invest in indigenous art that is sure to enrich your home isolation experience.  Is it the same as attending the live outdoor event, eating the food, mingling with art enthusiasts, watching Native dancers and musicians perform live, interacting personally with the Native artists, and actually touching that gorgeous piece of art that helps you feel alive?  Well, it’s a start!

What would life be like without performance and fine art?  For quality of life, isn’t art essential?  Hopefully, this time next year, we’ll be able to discuss these big ideas at the art show, and feel fully alive. 

Thank you for your support. 

Ronald Chee Studio