Here we are, April 2020. What a time. 2020 so far makes 2019 look like an awesome year. Lots of us were looking forward hopefully to a new year. Well, that has gotten shaken to the core. We are living in extraordinary times.

Never in history has the whole world been affected in such a way. A global shut down. It is like the whole world just stopped and took a breath, or is able to take a breath

This brings with it the two sides of the sword. On one side is great sadness, fear, financial pain and distancing from our livelihoods and our loved ones. On the other side we have opportunities for compassionate action to each other even from a distance, the well-earned chance for Mother Earth to take an unencumbered, cleansing breath and a time for humans to connect to nature and see all her beauty. Birdwatching is on the upswing.

This time will not last forever. Yes, you really will say…oh remember 2020! Even with its inherent difficulties this time is pregnant with possibilities. So many things are being rearranged, reworked, revamped, relearned and reborn. Within this forced slow down are the seeds of a new way to live. As an artist have you felt the pull of deep creativity yearning to come out? Have you found a new way to tell your story? Has your heart expanded with love and compassion for your fellow humans who need protective gear, help with the shopping or just a call to see if they are doing okay.

Do you want to go back to the old version of normal? Or do you long for a new normal.

Many of us who are/were art show artists know we have seen the blueprint for the new way of being in our community of artists. When we do a show, we look out for one another. We help set up tents, watch the tent for our fellow artist, give lots of helpful advice to newbies, and especially to help a new artist learn how to properly weight a tent. We make sure our fellows have food and water, help with buttoning up the tent rain or shine and often walk each other back to our rides.

We live and learn together to make a harmonious way for friends and strangers to discover the joy and happiness our artworks can bring. We uplift, decorate, amaze, and inspire as we ply our trades in the world. Its hard work but fulfilling.

Artists have real needs at this time. We also have amazing skills to weather the storm. We often work alone so social distancing can be easier for us although we miss our friends. We have learned to let our creativity come out in all parts or our lives. We can pivot more easily to a new normal. We learn new skills, strike out in new directions, and pull each other up as we go.

Today something happened that seemed appropriate to share with you. We got a telephone call from a person representing a small company we do business with. They were just wanting to see how we are doing and to let us know they are looking forward to serving our needs in the near future. I thought about how nice that was. I know why they are doing it, but it made me feel good about them.

I thought about what a kind gesture it was, and I think it is one artist could emulate. I know a lot of you have info on your customer lists. What about calling those customers you know well and letting them know you are wishing them the best at this hard time and looking forward to seeing them in the future in person. This is not a sales call but could become a sale. To me this is compassionate action. And if we are going to survive in the future, we need a lot of compassionate action.

This time my letter is not as silly as it sometimes is. It is a sincere expression from my heart to yours. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for sharing your light and art with the world. Thank you for offering to help in the way you do. Please keep an image of the world you would like to bring into being in your mind. A kinder, gentler, more loving, and supportive world where the love of art & beauty is stronger than ever. Or whatever your image might be.

In days ahead we will be able to say we made it through this time. We learned new ways of thriving, new ways of being of service and new ways to honor and share the beautiful precious planet we inhabit.

Nancy Koehler