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How the arts have helped people in quarantine despite historic lack of funding

Mike Hodge is a pilot who has been staying home a lot more since he hasn’t been able to fly. In order to make the time go by faster, he recently discovered his love for puzzles. (Jaclyn Daly)

Many people, including Westminster College students, have turned to the arts during quarantine as both a stress reliever and a way to stay financially stable.

Art has been absolutely necessary for Alexandra Dravland, a massage therapy student, who has been stuck at home for a month. Dravland has been painting since the quarantine started. 

“I’ve been doing a lot of custom paintings of people’s pets,” Dravland said. “Selling my artwork has not only kept me sane but financially stable as well.” 

Dravland thinks it would be great if the government wanted to give more money to the arts, but she doesn’t see that happening. 

“I originally wanted to go to school for ‘art’, but after doing research I decided I wasn’t going to be able to make that much of an income,” Dravland said. “I decided to go to massage therapy school instead, while continuing to do art on the side.”

Now that people have turned to the arts for ways to cope while in quarantine, people wonder if the government will pay more attention to the arts and be more supportive of them financially. 

“Even in normal times, the federal government gives little support to cultural institutions, apart from the Smithsonian, which was created by the Congress,” said an article on the New York Times website. 

Amanda Shepherd, senior arts administration and entrepreneur minor, owns a tattoo shop with her husband called Art City Tattoo. Her shop has been ordered to close by the health department. While she’s been in quarantine, she started a creative podcast with her husband, Justin Pace, called “Salt Lake Creatives.”  

Shepherd said she isn’t sure how the government will react or even notice how people are tapping into their creative sides more now than ever. 

“I think it will take the people to create the changes they wish to see by lobbying and petitioning, maybe now there will be more power in numbers to help push that initiative,” Shepherd said. 

Julia Jacobs, a writer for the New York Times, wrote an article on how art groups are suffering during this time. 

“The $2 trillion federal stimulus deal, includes $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, which can pass on the money to institutions that need it,” wrote Jacobs. “Another $50 million was designated to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which distributes funds to the museums and libraries.” 

The New York Times article said the figure doesn’t come close to what arts groups pushed for over the last several days. 

“The world needs art now more than ever so if you’re a creative it’s time to get to work, for your own mental health and for others as well because right now we all are struggling,” said Shepherd.  


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Jaclyn is so excited to finish her final semester at Westminster College so she can continue to grow her makeup artistry business, J and L makeup, which is often featured on FOX13 and PCTV. Jaclyn is a former NBA Golden State Warrior dancer, so she's looking forward to writing articles on the Westminster sports teams. In her free time you can find her snowboarding, boxing or traveling.

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