At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, just over a year ago, the Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati moved its general club meetings online. Club members learned how to ZOOM and the venue for other meetings soon followed suit — committee meetings, book club gatherings, and online critiques. It seemed that the club was managing to reasonably carry on with its usual business but club members missed in-person gatherings and exhibition opportunities to the extent that they were struggling with their art-making.

In December 2020, the Woman’s Art Club Board of Directors reached out to club members with an online survey, checking on their well-being and art-making. Additionally, given that club members had a new awareness of the possibilities of virtual events and meetings, the board wanted to know if club members would be open to creating and participating in art-related or club community online/virtual events.

In December 2020, the Art in the Time of Covid survey launched. Half of our membership (101 members) responded to the survey.

56% of respondents said they spent more or the same amount of time on their art and say they are likely to continue this trend, taking advantage of online workshops, online exhibits and demonstrations was the leading reason for spending more time.

Of the respondents who said they spent more or the same amount of time on their art, 26 respondents spent more time on art-making — their responses are shown in Exhibit 3. There were 43 respondents who said they spent less time with their art — their responses are shown in Exhibit 4.

However, we had one very concerning statistic: of those spending less time with their art, at least 15 members said they have lost interest in making art. Some members shared their reasons: their sales had dried up; their art had changed and they didn’t recognize it any longer; and they were depressed at times. One member summed it up well: “My get up and go went without me.”

When asked about ideas to help members stay connected, 45 respondents offered up great ideas, both virtual (e.g. Zoom) and in-person, that help fill the need for more socializing among members. Examples include: classes, demo’s, social media groups, drop-in sessions, gallery-sitting, and art-related “show & tell.”  And finally, we asked the survey respondents how the club could help. The most common response was the desire for help in finding more opportunities to show their artwork (e.g. calls for entry, galleries). Next most common, they wanted help connecting with other club members who shared art-related interests (A Fiber Arts Facebook group has already been organized). Many respondents were interested in how-to events that would help them market their art — some to start and others to improve. In other comments respondents thought they’d benefit from collaborative virtual projects or challenges (e.g. jigsaw puzzle art) and they shared other ideas.

21 respondents have already expressed an interest in planning or implementing opportunities to benefit club members in the ways the survey identified. The Woman’s Art Club Board of Directors will host a Zoom meeting toward the end of February to start putting ideas into motion and finding ways to make Art in the Time of Covid more creative.

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