The Economic Outlook A Year into The Pandemic

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March 7th marks the one-year anniversary since New York State declared the state of emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 20th, 2020 statewide stay-at-home order was declared, all non-essential businesses were ordered to close, and all non-essential gatherings and events were canceled or postponed. A year later, vaccinations are well under way, and the economy is re-opening step-by-step. New York Forward website provides current information by industry and re-opening phase, travel advisory guidelines, hot spots, as well as testing and vaccination sites. The grim reality is that the U.S. surpassed 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 on February 22nd, which makes the virus the leading cause of death in the country, along with heart disease and cancer. John Hopkins University has a Coronavirus Resource Center where you can track more data.

Consumer spending habits have changed. The lockdown has forced everyone to rethink their priorities and make adjustments. After the initial panic buying in March, April and May last year, when staple products were flying off the shelves, consumers have shifted their attention to remodeling their homes for the era of the indefinite home office, and replaced restaurant and entertainment expenses with home cooking and streaming services. Casual fashion has replaced business suits, and masks have made lipstick irrelevant. These are some of the few pandemic induced lifestyle changes. Read more about consumer spending in the U.S. in this Brookings Institution study.

The most dramatic change in our lives over the past year has been not being able to travel and spend time with family. Another significant change has been remote work and remote learning as the new norm, with some companies announcing indefinite work from home policies. The essential workers of course cannot work remotely, and hence they have been deemed indispensable to keeping our economy and daily lives running.  

A year later, we have adapted to wearing masks, using hand sanitizers, and staying six feet apart, while at the same time contemplating how the new normal would look like once the pandemic is over. Socializing in restaurants, cafes, theaters, museums, and art galleries is sorely missed, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Rapid testing and vaccinations are key to re-opening the economy. Google, for instance, is now offering its employees free weekly at home COVID-19 tests. Also, the company announced that its employees won’t return to office until September, and when they do, flexible work weeks will be assessed. Other companies have announced that a significant number of their employees could be working remotely over the next ten years, and some may work from home permanently.     

The debate over work-life balance is taking on a new meaning as working from home has eliminated some of the boundaries, and over-work is common. According to an article published in Bloomberg last April, “America’s always-on work culture has reached new heights.” One cannot escape work.

As for team building, people are getting creative. Peek is launching a platform that will offer teams and clients the opportunity to share experiences other than business meetings, and connect in a cooking or mixology class, wine tasting, chess competitions, and other fun activities. 

Almost a year since the lockdown, The New York Times reports that “There are hints that the economy has turned a corner: Retail sales jumped last month as the latest round of government aid began showing up in consumers’ bank accounts. New unemployment claims have declined from early January, though they remain high. Measures of business investment have picked up, a sign of confidence from corporate leaders.”

As reported by The New York Times, movie theaters in New York City will be permitted to open for the first time in nearly a year on March 5 at 25 percent of their maximum capacity, with no more than 50 people per screening – movie theaters in the rest of the State were permitted to open last October. Also, as reported in The New York Times, a public-private partnership, New York Arts Revival, was formed to bring back arts to life, offering pop-up performances spearheaded by the producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal, along with the New York State Council on the Arts. Since the pandemic started, employment in New York City’s arts sector has decreased by 66 percent.

As countries prepare to reopen their economies, the idea of introducing vaccine passports is seen by some as a way to facilitating traveling abroad and even gaining access to venues like restaurants and bars. Vaccination for vacation is an Internet meme that is catching on. There are however ethical concerns surrounding this issue, and it remains to be seen how it can be implemented.    

Lifestyle changes that are here to stay: remote work, online shopping, cashless payments, telehealth, digitized operations, and reduced contact. This article in The Harvard Gazette tackles the question on everybody’s mind: What will the new post-pandemic normal look like? Some experts think that we may have a clear idea by the end of the summer if we don’t experience another outbreak in September.  

ART CONVERSATION AND WRITING WORKSHOP AT THE ZADOCK PRATT MUSEUM

ART CONVERSATION AND WRITING WORKSHOP WITH AUTHOR SIMONA DAVID

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2018, 1 – 2:30 PM

THE ZADOCK PRATT MUSEUM, 14540 MAIN STREET / RTE 23, PRATTSVILLE, NY

As guest of the Zadock Pratt Museum, Simona David, author of “How Art Is Made: In the How Art Is Made, Book Release 2017Catskills” (2017), will talk about her experience interviewing artists, and discuss what moves and inspires the creative mind, how a new artistic project is born, how materials are used and different stylistic choices are made, how setbacks are dealt with, and how success is celebrated.

Ms. David will then teach a workshop on art writing, and discuss various research and writing techniques.

To register, call Pratt Museum at (518) 937-6120.

This event is funded in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

 

HOW ART IS MADE: IN THE CATSKILLS – Book Talk at BLINK Gallery

SUNDAY, AUGUST 19, 2018, 1 – 3 PM

BLINK GALLERY, 454 Lower Main Street, Andes, New York 13731 

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Author Simona David will talk about her latest book How Art Is Made: In the Catskills (2017), and provide insights into a long-standing tradition that dates back to the days of Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church.

How Art Is Made: In the Catskills pays homage to the place where American art was born through a series of conversations with creatives who live and work in the Catskills.

The book explores various artistic choices, what inspires and moves the artists, what draws them to their discipline, what materials they use, how they approach a new artistic project, how they deal with setbacks, and how they celebrate success.

Artists featured in the book include sculptor Brian Tolle, known for The Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City (2002), and more recently for Miss Brooklyn and Miss Manhattan, two replicas of Daniel Chester French originals that sit on the façade of the Brooklyn Museum – Tolle’s replicas were installed on Flatbush Avenue by the Manhattan Bridge in December 2016. Like many contemporary artists, Tolle maintains a studio and works in the Catskill Mountains.

To learn more about Art in the Catskills, visit artinthecatskills.com. To learn more about Simona David, visit simonadavid.com.

BLINK GALLERY celebrates the creative spirit that resides within all artists with a focus on women artists. Learn more about the gallery’s mission at http://blinkandes.com/.

 

AMR Open Art Studios Tour 2018

AMR 2018 Catskill Mountain Guide Ad

AMR (Andes – Margaretville – Roxbury) Open Studios Tour 2018 will take place Saturday and Sunday, July 28 – 29 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with close to thirty participating artists in the Central Catskill Mountains. Artists working in all media and artistic disciplines – painters, sculptors, photographers, printmakers, ceramicists, furniture designers and textile artists – will show their creative spaces, and demonstrate and talk about their work. Located in a bucolic scenery, all studios provide a unique experience for visitors to explore the area and learn directly from the artists.

Launched in 2012, AMR Open Art Studios Tour has grown into a major cultural attraction, as open art studio tours have become more and more common all over the country. Studio visits trigger questions that aren’t often asked in formal settings such as galleries and museums, and allow for a more intimate interaction with the art work. Building on a century-long tradition that started with the Hudson River School, contemporary artists continue to be inspired and moved by the region once known as America’s First Wilderness, and what we refer to today as the place where American art was born.

Participating artists this year include Adam Cohen, Amy Masters, Ted Sheridan, Alan Powell, Lisbeth Firmin, Ellen Wong, Peter Yamaoka, Gerda van Leeuwen, Frank Manzo, Helene Manzo, Tabitha Gilmore Barnes, Gary Mayer, Barbara Alyn, Oneida Hammond, Ken Hiratsuka, Roshan Houshmand, Agnes Freas, Esther de Jong, Lesley Powell, Rosamond Welchman, Robert Axelrod, Deborah Ruggerio, Gary Mead, Anthony Margiotta, Rebecca Andre, Patrice Lorenz, Sharon Suess and Gail Freund. All artists will show works in progress and finished works, sell, and give lectures and demonstrations. Art writer Simona David, author of “How Art Is Made: In the Catskills,” will be on site and talk about the tradition of making art in the Catskills, and highlight some of the current trends and accomplishments.

“The canvas is now my stage,” says multi-disciplinary artist Lesley A. Powell. After years of working as a choreographer, Powell found her fascination for movement transposed into color and lines whether be in watercolor, oil or collages and depicting both human body and natural environment. As a choreographer, Powell’s interest revolved around the dancer’s ability to change the performance space. As a visual artist, she focuses again on the human body, and on her love of nature. Dancers are often present in her paintings as are circus scenes and nudes.

Ellen Wong, who has participated in the AMR Open Art Studios Tour every year since its inception, was initially trained as an abstract painter, but fell in love with the Catskill Mountains scenery, and that changed everything. “To capture the sound, the movement of the water and the energy all around me, I found myself inventing new ways to move paint on the canvas, I had to keep moving, finding a fluidity in the paint and vitality in brush strokes that I had been striving for,” she says. This year during the Open Art Studios Tour, Wong will be showing recent works as well as some of her earlier landscapes depicting nature at the center of her creations as muse, teacher and guide.

Painter Deborah Ruggiero will participate in the AMR Open Art Studios Tour for the first time this year. “Through a variety of media and techniques I hope to encourage the viewer to look a little more closely at nature’s intricate beauty at different times of the day, changing with the seasons to experience and savor the essence and beauty in nature,” she says. “Whether it’s in the solidarity of a rock formation or in the delicacy of the flower petals that bloom in the spring for only a short period of time, there’s a magnificent canvas to experience every day. All one has to do is take the time to look, see and experience,” she adds.

Textile artist Tabitha Gilmore-Barnes, who has participated in the AMR Open Art Studios Tour every year since 2012, loves talking about and demonstrating weaving in her Catskill Mountains studio where she operates an AVL DOBBY professional loom. “This tour brings friends and visitors to my studio where we discuss what weaving is all about, how I specifically source local wool and alpaca fleeces to use in my products and tapestries, and how the studio views of the Catskills offer constant inspiration for my choice of colors and art themes. This is a fun time to meet others, and also to be inspired by the works of my fellow tour members.”

Mark your calendar for AMR Open Art Studios Tour 2018, a self-driving tour experience through the region’s most scenic vistas. Detailed brochures will be made available at all area’s businesses.

For more information, visit www.amropenstudios.org and www.facebook.com/amropenstudios/.

The AMR – Andes, Roxbury, Margaretville – Open Studios Tour 2018 is funded by the Delaware County Department of Economic Development – Tourism Advisory Board and The Lindsay A. and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation, and by the 29 participating artists and their 35+ community business sponsors. Additional community support from the Longyear Gallery (Margaretville) and the MARK Project (Arkville).