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Local creatives aren't giving up during COVID-19 epidemic

Many of us have felt the painful ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak. Social distancing and quarantines have dominated our day-to-day lives as we live in fear of sickness and try to overcome saddening times. And lately, some of our greatest heroes are struggling more than ever. Local creatives, including musicians, artists, and comedians, are among those most devastated by coronavirus spread. 

Earning an overwhelming majority of their income from live shows and events, many previously scheduled gigs are becoming canceled. Without income, the lives of local creatives are at risk. However, despite the challenges they face, they're wowing us with the ways they stay connected and give back to their communities.  

How are local creatives staying connected?

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms aren't new to the world, and neither is the idea of entertainers using these channels as free PR. But what's changing is the way they engage with their audience. With only mobile platforms to rely on, artists and performers have resorted to streaming to keep performing live shows and building relationships with more fans. 

Local entertainers and artists — who aren't as likely to have strong social media followings and resources — already have to work harder to stay relevant. While big names are setting streaming records on Instagram, local talent is performing on live streams and asking for donations just to afford rent. They're doing everything they can on their own to support themselves and unite millions of live concert attendees, including with us. 

How are local creatives giving back?

Despite tough times, local creatives are going beyond above and beyond to make a difference. Comedic acts are still finding ways to bring people together through drive-thru shows that practice social distancing. And musicians are still collaborating on new projects, selling compilation CDs to support venues that serve as breeding grounds for their careers. 

Artists are also reminding their neighbors why they should be proud of their communities. Arizona native Jessica Gonzales recently finished a mural incorporating local landmarks with a message saying “Together." Even while furloughed, some local artists are donating proceeds from their additional works to food banks.

If anything, these actions remind us why we need local creatives more than ever. Their ability to inspire the world around them with the most uncanny of timing makes them invaluable to society. Because more than ever, we need an escape. Something to make us feel like it's all a bad dream. Something as soothing as a mother, as unexpected as a 4 AM text, and as inspiring as our role models. The light at the end of the tunnel. A reason to believe we're on a journey to relief. 

And even if we haven't arrived just yet, the local arts will help by giving us a way out only possible with a creative imagination.

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