South Florida Artists Begin To Recover After Grinding To Halt During Pandemic

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The pandemic had a huge and negative impact on the art world. It was a difficult time for artists and while art sales tanked, so did the jobs that artists take part-time to support their work.

One South Florida artist, Jen Clay was lucky to be able to sell her work during the pandemic.

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Clay is a multimedia artist who creates textiles, animations for performance, video works and installations.

Her art is certainly unique. As unique as her fabrics sewn into shapes.

“She has a wonderful following. There are a lot of people interested in her work. She’s been able to sell her work in order to keep going,” said Dennis Scholl, President and CEO of Oolite Arts

Few South Florida artists can say that as the pandemic smacked them in terrible ways.

Most artists need income to support their art. Outside income and there is where the double whammy hit hard.

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“Artists like to spend time in their studios, many of them will take part-time jobs, they will take jobs unrelated to art. Everything disappeared overnight. Those jobs were the first to go,” said Scholl.

Jobs artists normally took to support their work in the service industry evaporated, as the art market tanked for many.

“The disappearance of the gig economy, all the things that artists do when they are around the art world but not necessarily selling art was a major blow during COVID,” added Scholl.

However, there are stories like Clay’s, who got by, and then there were other artists who got lucky.

“There were people stepping up and buying art from artists simply because they knew the artists needed a break. The sale of a piece to try to make rent and things like that,” said Scholl.

As the economy opens up, more and more people get vaccinated, jobs for artists are reappearing and so are galleries with museums and major art shows on the horizon.

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“The wheels are starting to spin again. Artists are picking up gigs again, museums are opening with time ticketing, openings, shows are getting hung, art is getting moved. All the things artists used to make their living, selling art are beginning to happen again,” said Scholl.

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