Although the coronavirus has caused us to miss out on socializing in person, it has also brought the chance to slow down and engage in the arts like never before. As someone who loves all forms of art, having the time to do more creative things and seeing all the ways others have been creative during quarantine has been a welcome change.

It’s been a time to read some books, find a new hobby or do art, whether that’s in the form of writing, painting or even bullet journaling. Over quarantine we’ve seen releases of new music, movies and even a new musical — “Ratatouille the TikTok Musical.” 

The idea of a musical based on the Pixar movie “Ratatouille” surfaced on TikTok. Songs were composed, dance routines were choreographed and eventually the musical that started out on TikTok was picked up by a theater company and turned into a real musical, livestreamed and performed virtually on New Year’s Day.

Even though live theater is something many of us are missing right now, myself included, seeing the musical reminded me of how theater brings people together and gives me something to look forward to for the day it’s safe to do live theater again.

Another great example of quarantine granting time for more creativity is how Taylor Swift released not one, but two albums within half a year. Music can be a source of healing, reflection and relaxation, and all of the artists who have released new music and heartfelt albums illustrate this and have given us new music to love and to help get us through.

Speaking from my own quarantine experience, the extra time gained from slowing down the pace a bit has lent itself to self-reflection and creativity, as it has for many of us. I used to love drawing and painting, but as life got busier, I never had the time to do art anymore.

Luckily, many of my friends and I picked up paintbrushes, pencils, musical instruments and the like during quarantine and found a sense of escape from the constant cycle of news about the pandemic. My personal favorite creative activities include writing poetry, learning songs on the ukulele and of course, Bob Ross paintings.

Even if you have never tried an art form before, I highly recommend picking one up in your free time. Painting, doodling, fiddling around with an instrument, writing, dancing you name it — adding some creativity to your schedule can be a welcome break from Zoom classes, homework, work and provides a sense of calm.

There’s something about taking time for yourself to do something artistic, not for the purpose of it being for a grade or for work.  Simply being creative can take the pressure off of having to be good at something to enjoy it. That was healing for myself and many others during the pandemic.

The arts are not appreciated nearly as much as they should be, but I have hope that the pandemic and the time it has afforded many of us to create will bring about a new appreciation for the arts. Many people have turned to the arts to get through the stress and uncertainty, a positive change to come out of this chaotic time.

Lillian Piel is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter at @lillianpiel. 

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