That the arts improve our lives is incontrovertible. But in light of postponed shows, darkened venues, and a halt on large gatherings, many wondered how artists and performers would pull through.
The Social Distance Festival, launched by Delray Beacher Ricky Bolufe, was one soul-soothing answer. Bolufe created the Facebook page to host livestreamed performances from South Florida musicians facing canceled gigs—a place for bands and solo acts to play, receive exposure, and collect money in a virtual tip jar. With so many relegated to their homes, the page grew legs of its own, even hosting two-day festivals with artists playing every half-hour.
The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority organized a similar weekly event, Saturday Soiree, with live musical performances by local artists, including West Palm Beacher Allegra Miles of The Voice fame—best spectated over takeout from downtown restaurants. The DDA also released coloring pages depicting downtown scenes, such as building-wide murals and the Kravis Center.
Another glimmer of hope came in the form of the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County’s Artist Relief Fund, a crowd-sourced fundraiser to award grants to area creatives whose livelihoods were adversely affected by the pandemic. The council also compiled a running list of virtual cultural experiences—from dance classes to gallery tours, lectures, science demonstrations, and other enriching on-screen activities—and presented One Voice, a musical collaboration between four of the county’s major cultural institutions.
West Palm Beach artist Sarah LaPierre hosted an Instagram Live art auction of her Eat Local series—20 original paintings inspired by local foodie favorites, from Pumphouse lattes to Havana empanadas—raising more than $4,000 to benefit H3 and #SavePBFood.