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COVID Creativity...or Lack There Of

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

by Diana Gilday

With the coronavirus flipping the world upside down, some creative types have found ways to adapt, while others struggled to change with the changing times.

“It’s [the pandemic] completely ruined my motivation to paint and draw,” said Abby Wolf, a sophomore at Purchase College. “I’ve only done classwork.”

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, sophomore dance and museum studies major at Nazareth College Chiara Osborne shared Wolf’s sentiment.

“It literally sucked every bit of creative drive out of me until I could get back to a better environment,” said Osborne.

While being at home, Osborne would try to improv in her kitchen to keep up her craft and as a way to express herself, but she said that it was not the same.

Osborne dancing in her kitchen in late March (image via @chiara.estrella on Instagram)

Before the pandemic shut everything down, Osborne was cast in a student choreographer showcase. But due to her college sending all students home in mid-March, she did not get to perform in the showcase. When she went back this fall semester, however, she was the one doing the choreographing.

Due to Nazareth's COVID protocols, such as mandatory mask-wearing while dancing, Osborne was faced with several challenges when creating her dance.

“I’m a big lover of contact in dances with lifts and dancers really connecting physically with each other, but that was off the table for my turn as a choreographer,” said Osborne. “As well, with the addition of masks, you lose the aspect of being able to see the dancer’s facial expressions.”

“It [the coronavirus protocols] really forced me to rethink how I would present a dance and build a palpable connection between my dancers without ever having them come together,” said Osborne.

Osborne’s final product, “The Cult of Lady Lazarus,” debuted on Nov. 14 to an empty auditorium.

“I felt like it was eerie when we first started,” said Osborne. “I and the rest of the choreographers did our best to make as much noise as possible for each other. It really made us bond together, since it was a lot more intimate without a larger audience.”

A shot from the performance of “The Cult of Lady Lazarus” (image via Chiara Osborne)

Osborne was back on campus for the fall 2020 semester, but some students did not get to go back to their college environments, which has made it hard for some to be creative.

“I get mad inspiration from my peers and friends,” said sophomore Purchase College art conservatory student Kelly Duggan. “Being alone most of the time isn’t it.”

“It’s been really difficult to stay on top of classwork,” said Olivia Perrone, a sophomore theater performance and playwriting and screenwriting major at Purchase. “I’m only taking three classes next semester.”

Teddy Byrne directing a church Christmas Pageant as a part of a Fall 2020 internship (image via Erkia Tonnesen on Facebook)

Teddy Byrne, a senior television-radio major at Ithaca College, was home for the fall 2020 semester and had to adapt from doing things on his campus to doing those same things from his childhood bedroom.

“In this year, I have learned to adapt multiple events to fully remote, helped put on a play with actors remoting in from across the country and cover the most talked about election in modern political history,” said Byrne. “COVID has forced me to look at things from a different perspective while applying everything I knew from the start of the pandemic.”

While Byrne and Osborne have found success in adapting to the world during a pandemic, others were less successful.

Terrance John II, a college student and all-around creative type, has found it very hard to find inspiration in the past couple of months.

“Traveling and meeting people were big motivations for me as stuff that would keep me occupied daily while balancing schoolwork, but all that got taken away from me,” said John. “Not going outside equaled me stuck in my room, constantly on my phone, and boom the day’s gone. I didn’t have that push or motor running my life anymore.”

John isn’t the only one who struggled when adapting to this new normal. Anastasia Camano, a sophomore flute major at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queen’s college expressed how hard playing has become for her.

“I’m less motivated to practice and I get frustrated so quickly,” said Camano.

Purchase senior Bridger Carreau found that due to being home all the time, he had no way to avoid working on his screenwriting craft.

All in all, according to Byrne, adapting to this new normal hasn’t been all bad.

“It has been nice to be around my family and some of my friends from home,” said Byrne. “I take a lot of inspiration from those around me. I have had an incredible opportunity to better myself as a producer and a creative mind.”



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