Musicians had no possibility for events, shows and concerts and therefore no income during the lockdown. In Munich they were featured by the so called “Kulturlieferdienst” (Culture Delivery Service) organizing little pop-up concerts in the streets, registered as demonstrations for culture.
People had fun joining the spontaneous happening in front of their house, giving donations to the musicians.
The street stage is a real win win situation for everybody!
A paved trail runs through a suburban town near Boston. It is popular both for commuting to work and for recreational uses, such as bicycling, walking, and jogging; it’s used by thousands of people every day. Some artists in town realized that the asphalt pavement on the trail could be a good location for art, for it was highly visible, eye-catching, and unusual. So they started a Bikeway Haiku contest – an open competition in which residents were encouraged to submit haiku (a Japanese style of poetry, with 17 syllables). The winning entries would be painted directly on the pavement.
Over 460 entries were received. Of these, 111 haiku were selected for installation. Two samples:
Are you still seeking? This is the asphalt speaking. Keep up the good work!
Hope for bicycling Humbly gets us around town While saving our world.
Volunteers painted the poems, using stencils, at individually-designated locations on the miles-long trail. Eventually rain and weather eroded the paint, which was expected at the beginning, since this was not meant to be a permanent installation.
The bikeway haiku were a source of pleasure to those cycling or walking by. Part of artistic creativity is deciding where the art can have the most impact; in this case, the planners chose their location well.
More generally, art can be a powerful community-building tool. It can elevate the spirit, and create connections between people through their shared experience. The Bikeway Haiku project also illustrates that art can be part of everyday life, available to everyone, and should not simply be reserved for galleries or museums.
Story shared by Bill Berkowitz, United States of America.
A 1:1 CONCERT features a 10 min. non-verbal 1-to-1-encounter between a listener and a musician. The opening eye contact and ensuing mutual gaze is the impulse for a very personal concert where both sides experience an unprecedented intensity allowing proximity from a distance. The concert attendees do not know who is going to play. Whether they hear a jazz saxophone, a double bass or a baroque flute will come as a surprise. Moreover, the concept explores extraordinary concert venues – concerts can take you to an art gallery, a quiet backyard, an empty factory hall or an allotment garden.
1:1 concerts started already in 2019 in a small rural monastery in Volkenroda (Thuringia/Germany). During the lock-down the idea of intimate 1:1 concerts spread from a small monastery in rural Germany to many cities and places and crossed borders to the Netherlands, France, Austria, and even to India and Australia. More will follow. Both listeners and musicians report that the 1:1-format creates a very intimate and intense experience of belonging and giving. At the same time it is a unique way to enjoy music and connect to a person and to art. Donations go to an emergency fund for musicians.
To experience community and belonging you do not necessarily need a large group of people. The special moment of being 1:1 with a musician, artist, writer, reader in an performance which is just for you comes as a surprise of feeling a sense of community and deep emotions for both – performer and listener. 1:1-concerts, readings, art or cultural encounters are easy to replicate and to organize. The 10minute-format and the meeting of two people without words only needs small preparation on no permits. They can happen everywhere, even in your garden or backyard. Spread the idea!
The Covid-19 pandemics changed everything for the ‘Klangkunst’-Choir we are proud to be part of: the lock-down stopped a perfectly planned trip of the choir in April to New York City to perform ‘Carmina Burana’ at Carnegie Hall. Even worse, like for many other music groups, it went from ‘very busy’ preparing performances to ‘no rehearsals at all’ on to ‘online rehearsals restricted by internet quality’ and ‘singing on your own at home’.
Our longing to sing together created inspiring ideas: to meet as a regular choir was impossible due to Corona restrictions; but when public rallies with up to 50 people have been allowed again by local authorities, Andrea, our choir director, asked for permission for a public rally called ‘Klangkunst Choir Public Rehearsing’. Physical distancing and each singer’s individual place has been assured using colorful knots on a ‘chorus line’ (see picture).
Singing in the parking lot in the back of the town hall 6 feet from each other has been both a special and beautiful experience for all of us: late April has been cold, but lovely in Germany and it was not easy to listen to your singing buddys. But, the idea of singing in public inspired us and changed our view of the value of not only doing music together but also feeling as a community and sharing our common passion.
Public libraries are storehouses of books and educational materials, but also often community gathering places– usually a good thing. But in times of pandemic, those same libraries are places that need to be avoided. So how can libraries serve their public while their buildings are physically closed? Here’s one of many examples: The Norwood Public Library, in a suburb near Boston, established a “digital book garden.” Library visitors find signs outside the building with the name of a book and a QR code (a two-dimensional barcode). By pointing your smartphone at the code, you can download an eBook or audiobook.
This and other electronic innovations have proven popular. The Norwood library reports a doubling of its digital resources since the physical library was closed. And other area libraries have reported a doubling of electronic library card sign-ups in recent months.
When faced with adversity, libraries, as well as other institutions and organizations, must find new ways to serve the general public, regardless of economic status or other conditions. And especially in times of pandemic, when more people are confined to home and fewer stores are open, the dual desires to escape from daily life and to learn new things are both stronger than ever. We may therefore expect more such creative initiatives, largely focusing on electronic resources, in the future.
Story shared by Bill Berkowitz, United States of America.
It started as a ‘wow’-event for me when in Italy hundreds of people started to sing each day form their balconies during the first days of the lock-down. Then a semi-professional opera choir launched an online version of Verdi’s ‘Va Pensiero’. In the meantime, thousands of musicians and other artists started regular live community and online events all over the globe.
People meet neighbors they never met before, try to
encourage and support each other by using one of the ‘general languages’ of our
societies – which has always been ‘music’. Music and other cultural
events create a special feeling how people can belong to and help each other in
a common crisis. At the same time, especially music touches emotions and can
ease stress and pain.
It has been amazing how fast people in diverse cultures turn to the common language of art and music to cope with a crisis that is beyond imagination. Perhaps such a crisis can remind us that even minor cultural events can be crucial for building a sense of community and belonging.
‘sixties’ brought something new from the US to Germany. Drive-In Cinemas became the ‘hot-spot’
for couples, lovers and families and they could stay in their car. In the late eighties most Drive-In Cinemas have been
abandoned due to new media.
As a corona-response to strengthen communities and families in many cities Drive-In Cinemas re-open; some cities even start new forms of Drive-In Cinemas. For many people and families today Drive-In Cinemas is a break in the lock-down routine while maintaining social distancing. For local cinemas and cultural events which have been shut down during the crisis and are suffering from economic breakdown, the new form of Drive-In Cinemas offers the opportunity to keep their customers and to maintain some income during the crisis.
Traditional forms of events are creatively re-invented and re-designed by going back to the basic social (cultural) needs of people. Lesson: if you focus on the basic needs your business is built upon instead of money and economic growth, you might be able to re-invent your business for a sustainable future. Of course there are barriers and challenges:
Drive-In cinemas are car-focussed, hence less ecologically sustainable. New ideas?
How can we integrate single people without cars while maintaining physical distancing?
How do we develop a sense of community in a Drive-In cinema? Community-building instead of commercials?