Hastings local Andy Evansen makes a living creating and teaching art.
Last year, the Hastings Star Gazette featured Evansen after his return from painting and teaching in and around Beijing, China. In March 2020, Evansen was going to return to China for a similar workshop. The artist was also scheduled to teach in other countries as well.
“This was setting up to be a really fun year of international travel,” Evansen said. “All of a sudden this year I was supposed to be in China in March, I was going to be teaching in Spain for the first time next month, that is postponed now.”
Evansen is also planning to hold painting workshops in England and Scotland in June. However, workshop participants are beginning to cancel their flights and reservations, fearing that the coronavirus pandemic will not be resolved by June.
“All these students were really looking forward to these workshops but, what are you going to do?” Evansen stated.
While his workshops are either canceled or close to being canceled, Evansen is staying busy by making more art. He also hasn’t given up the possibility of teaching during the next few months.
This winter Evansen bought a camera with the thought of creative videos of his painting process. After buying the camera, Evansen flew to a studio to record instructional videos with a different company but never found the time to make his own videos. Now may be the opportunity to begin.
“I talked to my wife and I think this weekend, actually, we’re going to go to the studio and just kind of film a couple of short, whatever, 20-minute, half-hour watercolor lessons and have them up on my website,” he said.
Evansen predicts that any video he posts will have a small access fee.
“Unfortunately,” said the artist, “I have to make up some of my income from these workshops.”
While Evansen explained that he is not too worried about the financial impact of the workshops being canceled, it is anything but ideal for an artist.
“The prospect of going the next five or six months with all the workshops canceled is a little daunting,” Evansen said. “It’s unfortunate. Everybody’s hurting and I’m no exception.”
Artists and self-employed individuals, like people in many career fields, are projected to be hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19.
Art organizations around the country are asking artists to fill out surveys in order to better understand how the art community has been impacted by the pandemic. Locally, the Minnesota State Arts Board is asking art organizations and individual artists to answer a short survey. The organization states on its website:
“As our state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to know that the Minnesota State Arts Board is concerned about the health and safety of everyone who works in the arts sector, and the health and safety of the participants, audience, and community members who we serve.”
While people may not be able to afford a new piece of art now or access a local artist’s work because galleries are closed, Evansen hopes that when the pandemic is over, people remember to help support those in creative fields.
“It doesn’t have to be any big thing but maybe showing your support by going and buying a piece by a local artist, make sure they get back on track,” he said.