Art can be a healer during COVID, says Richmond News reader

Dear Editor,

During World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts programs to adequately fund the war effort, to which he replied, “So why are we fighting?”

Many of us feel that the past two years have been akin to a war, or at least a battle. If you’re like me, it often feels like taking a few steps forward followed by a few steps back, especially when newer variants, such as Delta and Omicron, rear their heads.

Two years later, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like I’ve been in the middle of a war zone, trying to protect myself, my family, my friends, and my community during uncertain and unpredictable times.

As we collectively try to preserve and protect our physical health, we cannot lose sight of our mental well-being. At times during this pandemic, I have felt sad, scared, anxious, depressed, hopeless, hopeless, mad and defeated – often feeling more than one of these emotions at once.

Reflecting on Churchill’s quote, I came to realize that the man was onto something, and art could be a much-needed respite from our ongoing struggle. Will we solve the world’s problems with a little paint and paper? No. Could art bring us some light and happiness in these dark, cold and Covid-laden days? Yes, I think so, and there is strong evidence to support this belief.

Last month I ordered colored pencils, pencils and drawing paper on a whim. I hadn’t done much drawing and coloring since I left elementary school, but I thought, “What is this?”

When it arrived in the mail, my heart was overjoyed, and as I began to color my unrealistic stick-shaped tree, my soul felt lighter and happier.

I don’t claim that art can solve our problems, but it could help us keep our spirits up and preserve our sanity. We need to hold our officials accountable to protect us. But we must also work together to protect our physical and mental well-being so that we can emerge from this pandemic strong and ready to continue our quest for a better future.

Jack Trovato (he/his)

RICHMOND

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