Access to the Arts During COVID-19
You and I believe everyone deserves to have shelter, and everybody’s health is important regardless of circumstances during this time. This is a time for solutions, ideas, and action. You can become overwhelmed by the difficulty of this moment, but that’s not you. Time and time again, you have showed up, invested, advocated, or helped someone in need. We see you. Your investment in access to high quality integrated healthcare, affordable housing, and an opportunity to earn a living wage keeps another neighbor from experiencing homelessness.
When state officials urged closures of community spaces like ArtStreet in March, AHCH developed the ArtStreet To Go project to ensure artists and participants had a quality project that upheld our mission and values during this time. AHCH remains mission-focused while working to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on people experiencing homelessness and ensure resources and systems are in place for people without homes who need to isolate, quarantine, and/or access medical respite, receive treatment and obtain other support.
If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness and is struggling or having difficulties, we want to remind you to take care of your mental, behavioral, and emotional health during these times. Behavioral health services are available to anyone in New Mexico, no matter what their financial ability is to pay. AHCH encourages you or someone you know who is experiencing homelessness or without a home and experiencing overwhelming depression, anxiety, or grief, reach out to talk to someone free and confidentially. The New Mexico Crisis and Access Line is available anytime, anywhere at 855-NMCRISIS (662-7474) for immediate in the moment mental health support.
Please visit our Facebook page for the latest updates on COVID-19 and resources.
ArtStreet To Go
Access to the Arts During COVID-19
COVID-19-related health consequences are immediately evident. Social distancing can be difficult or even impossible for an already marginalized population whose many choices are not their own, such as where they will sleep at night, what they will eat, etc. COVID-19 has drastically increased anxiety among people experiencing homelessness, which is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or uneasiness about an imminent event of something with an uncertain outcome according to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council. Anxiety disorders affect 1 in 20 people and are more common in women than men according to the World Health Organization. Being mindful of behavior and emotions become secondary to simply surviving.
Therefore, ArtStreet has launched its virtual access program ArtStreet To Go as an effort to continue safeguarding access to the arts for all, especially for people experiencing homelessness. When immersed in the creative process, the mind is much more clear and calm. Needing to pay close attention to detail, as is the case when creating art, helps someone to learn to be more mindful of the present moment. The ArtStreet To Go project aims to continue to engage culturally and artistically with the ArtStreet Program Coordinator while adhering to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines via a smartphone or a streaming device. The inaugural series addresses anxiety. Remember feeling anxious or stressed during this time of uncertainty is valid.
You can access Part 1 of the ArtStreet To Go series here. This project sustains access to the arts for people in shelters, wellness streets, and for those quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure. Since the temporary closure of ArtStreet during this public health emergency, the ArtStreet To Go team have worked tirelessly to make art-related projects accessible to everyone during this period of social distancing.
Stay tuned for Part 2 "Stages of Change. More info at abqhch.org
5 Reasons Why Access to the Arts Matters
Excerpt from The National Endowment for the Arts
Recent data from the National Endowment for the Arts states now, more than ever, it’s important to increase access and fight for the arts. People without homes and for whom abject poverty is a stark reality are often placed at risk for being underserved by the arts. For this reason, AHCH safeguards access to the arts specifically for people who are experiencing homeless and others looking to build community through the ArtStreet Program. Here are 5 (of the 10) reasons why access to the arts matters:
- Art increases critical thinking skills
- The arts improve social cohesion
- People learn how to collaborate through art and apply skills to other areas
- Art is an inclusive universal language
- Exposure to art affects values and makes people more empathetic
ArtStreet Archives of events, gallery openings, art videos, photos, and additional blogs can be found at abqhch.org
Thank you for sharing our vision and for making sure that we have been here to fight the epidemic of homelessness yesterday and to provide care to people without homes during the COVID-19 pandemic today.
It is vital that AHCH maintains basic services while also adding to first responder strength as part of the pivotal frontline response. With your help, AHCH will also continue to advocate for affordable housing, living wage, and access to healthcare during this pandemic. Please donate today to ensure AHCH is resourced to continue fighting homelessness in the future and for as long as homelessness exists.
What We're Reading
AHCH maintains an extensive reading list that you may find useful as you look for resources to share. We'd love to hear your thoughts/ideas, so please email us with any suggestions.
- Racial Equity During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic (May 2020). Discussion with National Low-Income Housing Coalition and guest Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Author of How to be an Anti-Racist
- Albuquerque Affordable Housing and Homelessness Needs Assessment fact sheet (May 2020) by the Urban Institute
- Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance (October 2018) by Edgar Villanueva
We Want to Hear From You
Seriously, we do!
Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family during this public health crisis can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger. Here are three questions to consider answering during this time of social distancing. First and foremost, please let us know how you are doing. We want to hear from you. We ask you to read and reply at your own pace.
- How are you keeping busy while sheltering in place or quarantining? Are you trying new recipes? Send us a pic. Reading?
- The readings above give critical insights about topics important to our work. Please read one or all of the suggested readings above and take a moment to tell us what critical insights that you arrived at. Are there other topics on your mind that you want to know more about? Let us know (we seriously want to hear from you).
- Finally, take a picture of your ArtStreet To Go art projects and tag us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email your photo. We are eager to see how you vividly translated the project.