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Life under lockdown for Artmap

This started out as a simple request for a profile of Artmap Argyll for the regular CHArts newsletter. Events have overtaken us with the lockdown and a feelgood piece about Artmap feels slightly incongruous at a time when many people are feeling anxious about what might come next.

Each of us in our own communities is making new connections and finding ways to support each other – and the community of artists that is Artmap is no different. Artmap has a role to play and we’re finding our way, often by trial and error, much like everyone else.

Part of this is about reminding artists that we are here, that they are part of a network and that there are people they can turn to for help. There is the practical support, highlighting resources for small businesses, providing opportunities like our new weekly Instagram Takeover, and there is also the reassurance that this will end.

Our main annual Open Studios event is a simple example. The easy decision would have been to cancel, but the event is still 4 months away and a lot can happen in that time. We’ve continued our preparations; modified our plans and budget so that we are more flexible; made changes so that the decision to go ahead is left to a time when we have more information; and kept members informed of our thinking at each stage. A steady, well considered approach helps provide the reassurance that members need.

Will the Open Studios go ahead – I’m optimistic, but also realistic. The social distancing measures are working and the Scottish Government is actively planning how the lockdown will be eased. But we all need to follow the guidance on isolation, social distancing and good hand hygiene. The signs are good and when we ask members in a month’s time if they want to go ahead I’m hoping they feel confident to say “yes”.

Brian Barker.