“March was bleak,” says Courtney Burk, a brand manager and freelance writer from Detroit. She pulls no stops when talking about her 2020. “I was laid off, my parents’ restaurant was in limbo...everything I knew was put on hold.”
Burk is not alone—the pandemic has changed the lives of many people. Burk used the change to pursue writing as her full-time job, which she had previously put on hold due to the demands of the restaurant industry. “The pandemic allotted the time and pause for me to shift back into pitching pieces and really hunt for interesting, untold stories.”
No matter what kind of role art plays in your life, there’s a good chance you found yourself investing in more of it last year. We certainly did, which is why we’re excited to celebrate Inspire Your Heart with Art Day on January 31.
Inspire Your Heart with Art Day has an unknown origin, but according to Milford Arts it was “created as a way to celebrate all forms of art and the effect it has on your heart.” At BookClub, we know that the art found in literature, conversation with authors, and in so many other places can change people’s lives.
"Art is your treasure and salvation during this dark time and it’s totally free."
Coping through art
BookClub has talked before about how books can help you understand mental health, and Inspire Your Heart with Art Day reminds us that there is a bigger picture to how art helps us cope. The Mental Health Foundation maintains that involvement in and consumption of art helps people process trauma, cope with mental health issues, and successfully move through recovery. To see further proof, take a look at how people have used art to deal with the challenges of last year.
Maggs Vibo, a painter and writer, says that while art has always played a major role in her life, attending and facilitating writing workshops in 2020 has helped her and the veterans she works with to “dissent and process trauma in safe environments.” Prior to the pandemic, her art was mostly for herself, but she’s now publishing one piece a month and facilitating workshops that support her overall mental health.
“I am a living embodiment of a poem and the vessel holding the heart of which art lies within,” Vibo says, referencing a piece of her poetry. “Art is your treasure and salvation during this dark time and it’s totally free. You can collect some leaves and arrange them with a few pebbles on a canvas of dirt. Even during an economic crisis or a global pandemic, art helps you heal.”
Art truly can help you heal, even when it hurts. Tyler Pufpaff, a writer and editor who worked as a project manager pre-pandemic, has dealt with grief this year. When he was ready, he wrote poetry about it, which he’s working on getting published. “It was really tough to write,” he says, “I had to take a break from consuming any media for a while as everything just made me feel so much. But I’m getting back into it.”
And he’s excited to do so. “[Art is] an outlet to express myself— I love projects and I’m always making something,” Pufpaff says, citing gardening, cooking, and other traditional mediums of art as ways he creates. “Often I get to work with artists, and [that’s] really satisfying in a different way, to be able to help them share [their art] with the world.”
How to take part this year
Whether you’re someone who regularly consumes art or you’ve recently started spending time with it, January 31 is the perfect day to indulge. Don’t worry about finding a poem or a new book to read, either. Art can be found in playing with your kids, building a puzzle, or cooking something new. That’s the beauty of it, it’s found anywhere.
“Find the mediums that make you happy, that spark an interest. And if you aren't one that enjoys creating, find those that are,” reminds Burke. “We're in such a social world right now with so many platforms. Find a community.”
However you decide to celebrate, be sure to let us know what you’re doing. Tag us on Twitter or Instagram at @bookclubdotcom, and Inspire Your Heart with Art!