Despite the challenges of 2020, many members of the UNC and Chapel Hill arts community felt the changes imposed by the pandemic increased connectivity and meaning in the art world.
This year, student artist Anna Eskew found more time to focus on her work. Instead of only painting during break, she now paints eight to 10 hours per day.
Her art business is called Creannative, a combination of her first name and the word creative. Eskew said she expanded her business this year by selling some of her work to a local boutique, Whilden.
“In a social sense, the pandemic has affected a lot of people negatively,” Eskew said. “As far as my art business, it's really helped me to focus on improving upon my skills and allowed me to get my name out in the community more.”
Eskew said she looks to those like mixed-media artist Ashley Longshore for inspiration. She said that in 2020, much of Longshore’s work has centered around current events — ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“It’s just been really interesting to see the way that different artists use their art as an outlet to convey their thoughts and feelings on the current social setting,” Eskew said.
Carolyn Allmendinger, director of education and interpretation at the Ackland Art Museum, observed several changes in the arts world over the course of the year. She said one of the most apparent changes was gallery closures – the Ackland closed to visitors in mid-March due to the spread of the pandemic.