Due to the global pandemic, isolation has become more universal, familiar and now necessary. However, for many creators, isolation is the ideal fertile ground for creative discovery. Artists throughout history have thrived in isolation, romanticizing the value of “ME” time for centuries. Artists like Giorgio Vasari, who wrote from the Tuscan monasteries, “I could have found no better place to know myself” or Vincent Van Gogh, who said he had to get away from the greys of Paris to get closer to the colors.
While many artists and writers thrive under these unique circumstances, there are many who do not. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, it has become more difficult to communicate, connect and socialize with others. There are serious concerns over the long term impact social distancing will have on mental health, especially on youth. According to Dr. Candida Fink, a New York-based child and adolescent psychiatrist, she says “Social distancing is most challenging for adolescents and teens. Adolescents are so socially driven that social isolation presents unique risks, both to their mental health and, by extension, their physical well-being.” My main responsibility as an artist and educator is to create a platform for open, safe, relevant discourses that serve all my students with meaningful and deeper understanding of self especially during these unsettling times.