Art and entertainment are among the worst-hit industries during the COVID 19 pandemic especially due to restrictions on events and social gatherings.
Most artists including, DJs, performing artists like puppeteers, actors and musicians, painters, spoken word artists and generally the entire performing artists family, rely on events to make a living. With the current pandemic restricting and limiting public gatherings, most artists have relied on online spaces to showcase their work. This has had a devastating effect especially on the income and livelihood of the artists and their dependents.
Principally, the online spaces do not generate much income, as they are mostly free platforms that have not been monetized. Artists have to generate resources in order for them to be able to create their work. Unfortunately, these platforms do not generate a return on the resources used. A YouTube post for example will have to reach a specific number of viewers and subscribers in order to earn online. Growing these numbers is tedious and will take a long time to reach. Meanwhile the artist needs to pay bills.
Moreover, many clients who commission works of art for a particular purpose rarely see the urgency to pay the artist promptly. Art is generally not viewed as a gainful employment hence the slackness in paying for commissioned work. Clients can take as long as six months to pay for commissioned work yet they continue paying their employees on a regular basis. Artists are not considered to be employees. Meanwhile, the artists keep suffering.
Finally, artists have nowhere to turn to for bail out or relief funds. They are not seen to be in a crisis nor having dependants. Artists are considered to be hustlers that can survive anywhere.
These and many other factors have caused many artists to suffer mental breakdown including depression, despair and stress. Many artists have resulted to heavy drug abuse and alcoholism as the only what to stay sane. Many have contemplated suicide.
A lot remains to be done to address the plight or artists especially during the current pandemic. Artists need counseling and guidance on how to cope with the situation. Some funds need to be set aside to assist artists in seeking for alternative income generation including training on entrepreneurship and savings.
Artists require emergency relief to cater for their immediate subsistence needs and There is a need to set up support groups to initiate group therapy for creatives.