Resilience is the ability to recover in the face of adversity and the ability to secure a future, something which requires creativity and courage. In today's world of economic and political turmoil, being able to withstand the related shocks and stresses is more important than ever.
This live online talk organised by Art Across Europe took place on 18 June.
Moderated by ENCATC Secretary General, GiannaLia Cogliandro Beyens, leading cultural thinkers and managers shed light on how galleries, museums and art spaces reinvent themselves focusing on the positive changes that come due to the current situation but also which initiatives emerged in the cities with the actual situation.
For some, the crisis allowed some galleries to take a forced pause, but to use this time to reflect on their project, its purpose, and relevance.
In reaction to COVID-19, many galleries turned to putting their content online. Pushed by the pandemic's circumstances transfer content online, many art spaces experienced an unforeseen shock. While going online helped some galleries to continue to engage with their artists and audiences, this is not seen as the permanent solution going forward. For example, online viewing rooms can be an extension but are not replacements for a gallery, fair, or exhibition. The experience of art was stressed, the connection an artwork can bridge with the viewer is powerful. How can this be replaced by an online experience? But in order to continue gallery activities during the lockdown, it was beneficial to use strong storytelling to create new attachments to artworks when removed from its physical presence.
It was clear from the conversation that evolving skills of gallery managers will require them to be more flexible, innovative, open to collaboration, and learn new practices to be resilient.
The discussions concluded with an overall optimistic outlook. It is still unsure what the next 12-18 months hold. Will collectors gain renewed confidence to return to the gallery space? Will there be another lockdown? Will art fairs take place in person? Despite the challenges that may come, it was encouraging to positive echoes that the sector will recover through innovative practices, openness, and a dedication to keep supporting artists to show their works and strengthen connections with audiences.