Colorado Springs Creators Contend With Changing Art Landscape Due To Coronavirus

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5min 10sec

The state's stay-at-home order is set to lift this Sunday in favor of less restrictive "safer at home" regulations, but local artists continue to contend with financial challenges due to the new coronavirus. For some, the future of their business and livelihood is uncertain.

KRCC's Elena Rivera spoke with three creators in Colorado Springs on the how they've adapted their work and found new ways to collaborate.

Jeremy Facknitz
Touring singer-songwriter

On Changes To His New Album Release

Before COVID-19, I was performing in front of people instead of my phone. I actually had a tour planned for my new album, From Those Sweet Ashes. The paid benefit of releasing an album is that you get to play live. Musicians no longer really make any money off of selling music. We make money off of it indirectly by by having it on streaming platforms like Spotify, iTunes and all this.

People hear the music, hopefully they become fans, they come to your show, and that's how we get paid. So, the main source of income has been kind of ripped away from us. And so we've just had to be creative. Thankfully, the technology is there to where you can still find a way to generate income, but we've never really had to do this before.

On The New Album's Message And Keeping Everything In Perspective

When I was in Canada trying to get back across the border from my tour on March 13, I just had the idea that, you know, I just want to be back with my family and I want my family to be safe. I want my 68 year-old parents to be safe and nothing else long-term really matters. So it shifted my perspective. 

I was struck with viral meningitis in 2017. That's when I quit the bars and I started doing music. This whole album was born from that. There's a whole bunch of recovery on it--healing and love and life and death. Because I've written songs about recovery and healing, who knows what's going to happen with this. This could be the best time to release this album right now. So I try to keep that in mind.

And then also keep in mind that another album being released in my little world is nothing compared to what's going on in the whole world. I'm keeping that very large perspective that as long as we're fed and we're warm and we're healthy, then nothing else really matters. And in this new reality, this new temporary reality, I'll do what I can to get the album out there and find an audience. That's that's all I can do.

A picture of Lisa Chavez painting in her gallery.
Credit Courtesy Lisa Chavez
Liese Chavez owns Chavez Gallery in Old Colorado City with her husband.

Liese Chavez
Owner of Chavez Gallery

On Weathering The Financial Challenges Of COVID-19

We talk about the financial element and what it means for our business several times a week, sometimes all day long. It depends on how stressed we're feeling.Small businesses in Old Colorado City have just weathered the winter, where they've spent all of their reserves from the summer on floating them through this time and now that it's spring. This is when we get started again with sales, when we start to fill up our coffers again. And that's just been snatched away.

We needed to immediately look at what was available in grants and what we could do to try to generate a little extra revenue to put off the possibility of permanent closure, which is always looming.

Most small businesses are like us. They got a month, maybe two months of reserve cash. After that, it's curtains down. We're just like everyone else in that respect.

I think small business owners are notoriously optimistic. You kind of have to be to do this thing. So we've gone forward with confidence in our ability to work hard and do our best. But the results that that produces, we don't have total control over.

A picture of Jasmine Dillavou, face against a mirror on a small white table.
Credit Courtesy Jasmine Dillavou
Jasmine Dillavou has found new ways to connect to the arts community during the novel coronavirus.

Jasmine Dillavou

On Art and Audience Changes

I definitely miss collaboration. I miss being able to link up with people in real time. Technology is incredible. Zoom and House Party and all these apps, but it's just not the same. Things in the arts are so dependent on your audience, being able to connect with people, and I miss that a lot. I miss that connection. There's sort of a physical-ness, even in non-physical art, that bodies are needed for that connection.

On Navigating Emotional Ups And Downs

Right now, I'm feeling a weird wavy space of this in-between of productivity and energized studio time. And then there's also deep seated fear and unknowingness and shakiness that surrounds all this. I'm taking it day by day and trying to stay connected however I can, support however I can, help my neighbors, help my community. That's so important.

I'm trying to stay in it because the second you step off of it, it's easy to kind of float down these little dark paths and feel isolated and alone. But we're not isolated and alone, we're a really strong community. Colorado Springs is the strongest place I've ever been. I just have to remind myself that.

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