Kelly Kreuscher

Being in quarantine has slowed down the fast-paced lives of millions around the world. At a moment’s notice, we have gone from work or school occupying the majority of our hours to a suddenly clear schedule, one that leaves many people wondering how to pass the time. Now more than ever, we are relying on art to get us through each day, and bring fulfillment to our otherwise empty days. Artists and organizations everywhere have been doing what they can to support people at this time.

The MoMa is offering free online classes, on everything from teaching art, to fashion design and photography (to enroll in any of the 8 courses, click here) These classes are a great way to get out of the “funk” of the same days over and over again, and a great learning opportunity if your education has been interrupted by school closures. I’ve registered for the “Fashion as Design” course, here is the description for it:

“Focuses on a selection of more than 70 garments and accessories and explores their profound impacts—social, cultural, economic, and environmental—on the world. In this course, you’ll hear directly from a range of designers, makers, and historians, and will look closely at what we wear, why we wear it, how it’s made, and what it means.”.

The course is made to be completed in 7 weeks, but can be done as quickly as you’d like, with a selection of readings and videos, and quizzes or discussion posts to go along with them. 

The Getty Museum has also thought of a way to keep people occupied, by challenging them to recreate famous pieces of art using themselves and things they can find at home. The Getty Museum Challenge has gotten some absolutely stunning submissions and plenty of hilarious ones as well! To try this one at home, you can take a look here for instructions and access to the Getty Museum’s digital library so you can find some work to recreate.

Without anywhere to go to show off their looks, people have gotten creative using fashion on social media. Billy Porter created the #BillyPorterFashionChallenge, where participants created the Pose star’s iconic red carpet looks using household items.

If you feel like your blanket and pillow are now a part of your everyday attire, there’s a challenge for that too. Tiktok users have been making parodies of popular outfit videos on the site by “styling” their pillows. 

As stocks of protective equipment for medical workers run out, the country has been relying on fashion designers and brands to support hospitals and other institutions with fabric masks. Joann’s fabric  stores have been distributing free mask-making kits to their customers, who then return the completed masks to be donated locally. They are now more than halfway to their goal of donating 100 million masks. Los Angeles Apparel has converted their 150,000 square foot facility that usually makes basics like tshirts, sweatpants, and jeans, into making 300,000 masks and 50,000 gowns a week. Christian Siriano’s team of seamstresses in New York have switched to mask production as well. Even our own L Royalty creator has been sewing masks. Fashion retailers have been hit hard by store closures, and the majority of the industry is out of work. However they have been among some of the best companies using their resources for good at this time.

Overall these weeks have transformed all of our lives. Many of us are sitting at home, not sure how to spend our days. More than ever, we’ve been relying on the arts to get us through, and it has reminded many of the way that art and entertainment makes life worth living.  These days would be much lonelier without our favorite feel-good comedies, streaming sites packed with new movies, or youtubers with constant updates. With concerts postponed or cancelled, artists have taken to social media to bring love to their fans. Right now, we can use art to bring us together at a time when everyone is apart. You can also use this time to explore art in ways you may have always wanted to but never had the opportunity. Now is a better time than ever to start drawing, journaling, sewing, or doing anything else you’d like to express yourself. Even if all you have is a notebook and a pencil, you can start a journal or sketchbook. If you don’t know where to start, here are 50 great ideas to start your sketchbook. You can practice drawing, doodle, or just write down how you’re feeling about everything going on to look back on in the future.

 If you like social media, now can be a time to participate in any of the fun challenges out there, from recreating Met Gala looks with bedsheets to turning your pillow into a cute outfit. If you have the ability, participating in Joann’s Million Mask Project  is a great way to give back to your community and the heroic people on the front lines of this crisis. If you want to help and don’t know how, this is a great place to start. I only just learned to sew while in quarantine, but I’ll be making masks for my family and donating them as well! 

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