People have always turned to art in times of crisis. Creativity allow us to explore challenging feelings and express hope for the future. The explosion of mindful colouring has helped some people to develop and manage behaviours, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem. Back in March 2020, the BBC’s Director of Arts foresaw an explosion of lockdown creativity, ushering in an artistic renaissance. And he was right: during the first lockdown we adorned our windows with rainbows for the NHS, wrote stories and poems about our lockdown experiences, and depicted the things which made us happy - and sad, or angry - through painting, drawing, sculpture, digital art and innumerable other mediums. I and my family were no exception: we wrote stories, made collages and painted, and grew things in our garden. Even deciding to paint the living room became an exercise of creative expression!
Like many sequels, Lockdown 3 is proving to be a pale imitation of the original. Gone are the quiet roads and the balmy nights where we reconnected with outdoor spaces. It is an altogether more sombre affair. It seems we’re all just quietly trying to get through it this time; we have to dig ever deeper to find motivation. I hope that our Art Competition will provide easy motivation to reconnect with your inner artist once more.
At home, we have found that art has created opportunities to discuss our hopes for the future, giving us a break from the present. Even 30 minutes of unserious doodling can feel restorative, providing a welcome break from the omnipresent screens. From collage to clay modelling, we’ve tried it all. But our devices have also been useful in the making and sharing of art. Taking and posting pictures of the things I love - kids, cats, plants, not necessarily in that order - gives me both a burst of creativity and a feeling of connectedness with friends and family. There’s so many great free apps for drawing, music production, photography and film-making. If you are lucky enough to have access to a device and an internet connection, the world is literally your artistic oyster.
That’s a good point to finish on, I suppose: not everyone is lucky enough to have a laptop, phone or tablet at home. One of the major challenges for us is ensuring that no-one falls through the gaps when face-to-face contact isn’t possible, or access to public computers is limited. We’re doing our best to support our young people remotely via LaunchPad, our VLE, our secure email system and regular phone calls. But we need to do more, and you can help. So get busy with your brush, or poised with your pencil, and give what you can to enter our fabulous Lockdown Art Competition. I can’t wait to see what you’re capable of!