Victoria's creative arts community was one of the first sectors to experience cancellations and economic hardship due to coronavirus restrictions. The closure of venues, theatres, museums and galleries devastated artists and audiences. As Victorians responded to stay at home orders, creatives rallied online, fundraising for arts communities, sharing performances and works.
State and local governments deployed quick-response funding for artists, independent collectives, micro-organizations and creative businesses negatively impacted by coronavirus. As physical doors closed, digital realms expanded: arts organizations pivoted to online channels offering virtual exhibitions and streamed programs.
The street became a space to express shared feelings of grief, hope and encouragement during lockdown - street art, chalk drawings on footpaths and window installations of teddy bears appeared. Inside homes we saw a rise in art and crafts activities. Makers also turned their skills to PPE, creating face masks and gowns for medical professionals.
Not everyone has been able to creatively respond during lockdown, but Victorians have been resourceful and imaginative in this crisis. Art has proven crucial for the mental health, education, and economic wellbeing of Victorian communities.