Looking back on the arts in 2020

If there’s one thing we learned this year it’s resilience. While we could never have prepared ourselves for how drastically the COVID-19 pandemic would alter our lives, what we have learned in 2020 is that we are more capable of adapting than we might have previously believed.

Looking back at our coverage of the arts and entertainment industries over the past year has led to a few key observations; we need the arts and creativity can flourish even in the most difficult times.

When we found ourselves housebound in March during the early stages of the pandemic people turned to the arts for comfort. We turned to books, films and music to get an escape from our homes. Without the arts those escapes would never have been possible. When theaters and museums were closed, the directors or art institutions didn’t quit and call it a day, they pivoted to virtual programming offering us all another avenue to enjoy the arts from the safety of our homes.

While viewing an exhibition virtually or watching a live stream of a play doesn’t offer the exact same experience that we’re accustomed to from our pre-pandemic lives it’s such a gift to be able to enjoy the arts in this way. Attending a concert from our couches, be it a symphony or a rock band, is such a wonderful luxury. The arts were there to distract and entertain us during the bumpy transition of pandemic life.

Through art we’ve been able to connect and create with one another throughout the pandemic

Looking ahead to 2021, we know that the pandemic isn’t behind us yet, but with the news of vaccines being made available for medical personnel it offers us a beacon of hope.

Here’s a look back at some of our favorite stories from 2020.

Back before the pandemic took over our lives we wrote a story about the 19 shelter dogs from Connecticut that participated in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl. What a simpler world and what a fun story for readers to enjoy. Besides, who doesn’t want to look at those sweet faces?

We wrote about dynamic art shows and artists that offered new perspectives and eye catching art. We wrote stories about fiber artists like Bisa Butler and Liz Squillace’s public art as well as traditional painters and sculptors.

As the pandemic changed our lives and forced us to rely on our wifi connections we wrote about how gyms had pivoted to offering online workouts and how restaurants adapted to social distancing guidelines as they continued to fuel the community.

As we know 2020 was a year that called for change. After the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor Black Lives Matter protests were held across the nation calling for an end to systemic racism and police brutality. As the protests hit the streets we spoke with artists about the importance of art in activism.

Throughout the year we spoke with local authors who published new books during the pandemic including Joan Lunden, Tessa Wegert, Wendy Walker, Amity Gaige, Andrew Coté, Michael Ian Black and many more.

We’ve spoken with filmmakers like Weston’s Sofia Bara who traveled to Ethiopia to shoot a short film, the New Canaan natives who traveled the country to explore the nation’s diverse music scene and Fairfield’s own Julie Benko who made her directorial debut during the pandemic.

Of course throughout the year we have brought you plenty of recipes to keep you occupied in the kitchen during the pandemic (and hopefully you learned a new dish or two). We also reviewed countless books, television shows, theater productions (live and virtual) and Joe Pisani’s column offered up plenty of laughs throughout this past year.

With 2021 on the horizon we will continue to provide you with fun and engaging arts content.

We wish you a happy and healthy New Year.

tinamarie.craven@hearstmediact.com