By Adrian Doyle
Published: September 23rd 2021
As we keep the city locked down Melbourne is slowly dying.
As we wait for inevitable tsunami of COVID to spread across the country, further damaging Melbourne and its creativity, the creatives of Melbourne are really struggling with loss of work, and subsequent financial worries, making life hard.
Money worries are hard, but artists are resilient in the sense that they are used to being poor and underpaid.
On the scale of the disruption that COVID has caused to the creative sector, not being paid, or having no work is almost tolerable. The real pain lies in the lack of community.
Artists are socially inept at the best of times, yet they crave social situations and community. For the past two years, COVID has shut all exhibitions, studios and stopped all social scenarios. This was hard on artists last year, but this year it’s become a real problem.
Creatives are prone to depression and mental illness at the best of times, now with artists being essentially cut off from society, depression and mental illness has become a second pandemic within the creative community.
Artists, comedians and actors all operate on the boundaries of social norms and isolation is really making life hard for many artists.
As things open-up, it will take years for the arts industry to recover. Many galleries, festivals productions, studios and venues have closed. There is, for the first time, a creative exodus with artists leaving Melbourne in droves.
What this will mean for Melbourne’s creative soul will only be understood in time. Melbourne will be different now. These lockdowns have altered the way artists engage with the city, and while it may not be a long-term negative, at the moment COVID is ripping out Melbourne’s creative soul.
Please reach out to a creative friend, give them a call or write them a letter. Times are tough for everyone, but artists are particularly at risk at the moment. If you are struggling, or you know someone who is, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
The best way to support creative Melbourne as we move into the future is to get out there and support the arts, go see some comedy, local theatre or live music. You can also buy some art, go on a bar tour or even a street art tour.
The main thing we need to try and do is support each other and stay connected.