How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted Our Approach to Art and Museums?

Bear the Truth, a temporary art installation at City Hall in Los Angeles, is meant to be a “positive gateway for children to use their voices for change.” Designed by Mae and Sydni Wynter; June 28, 2020. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Tim

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way audiences view art. From virtual tours and talks to meditative, educational livestreams, museums and other cultural institutions found unique ways to keep would-be guests engaged from the comfort of their living rooms. And although many of us developed serious cases of screen fatigue after sheltering in place and weathering regional lockdowns, when it came to experiencing live music, it was hard to imagine a socially distanced twist on concerts or shows that felt both safe and wholly engaging.

But the shift we experienced during the pandemic hasn’t stopped with how we experience art. The ways creatives make art and tell stories have been — will be — irrevocably altered as a result of the pandemic. While it might feel like it’s "too soon" to create art about the pandemic — about the loss and anxiety or even the glimmers of hope — it’s clear that art will surface, sooner or later, that captures both the world as it was and the world as it is now. There is no "going back to normal" post-COVID-19 — and art will undoubtedly reflect that.