The Pandemic Threatens Essential Aspects of Art

Local artist Maureen Meehan describes how COVID-19 impacted her creative process.


Photo Courtesy of @maureen_meehan_studio on Instagram

One of Larchmont artist Maureen Meehan’s beautiful pieces of artwork.

Magda Martinez

Few people have said that the pandemic has made their jobs easier. Mamaroneck and Larchmont city commuters have retired their MetroCards and embraced online interaction. However, there were some exceptions to this general frustration and unfamiliarity. Local artist Maureen Meehan describes what a strange and, surprisingly, helpful time quarantine was for her. “The pandemic created isolation, which is perfect for artists,” she explained. She described the outside world as a distraction, and cutting it off was the perfect way for her to spend more time creating and less time worrying about the attention-stealing activities of everyday life.

What wasn’t ideal during this time was the way that Meehan and other artists had to adapt the ways they showcased and presented their art to the public. While attending an art show, walking through a gallery, or going to a museum had been previously easy things to do, all of those resources were cut off. Meehan said that although she did use Instagram and other platforms to publicize her art, the internet was hard, and missed a vital aspect of public viewing spaces. Just the same way we need oxygen, she says that artists need the silent connection that comes from groups of strangers viewing the same piece or exhibition of art. “To view art together with other people is a very fulfilling thing to do,” she said. During this time, there was none of that vital interaction.

In February 2021, Meehan and local photographer Sandra Wong Geroux booked a show at the Idea Kitchen, a new shared office space on Palmer Avenue. Together they had to determine whether the effort was going to be worth it, since they were unsure if people would be willing, or even allowed, to come and gather to see the art. Unlike a normal setting, Meehan and Geroux had to factor in not only the interest of the public, but also their physical ability to actually attend the event. The two artists booked the show at a time when teachers had just begun to receive vaccinations and MHS, along with many other Westchester schools, was still engaging in hybrid learning. The pandemic required artists to bring something into consideration that they rarely had to before: the safety of their audience. 

In Meehan’s words, “On the night of the show, the stars aligned.” On May 19, former New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that most New York business capacities would be raised to 100%. This was big news for Meehan, and it meant that she and Geroux no longer had to worry about most of the safety precautions that had previously threatened the stability of their show. On May 20, 2021, friends and family of Meehan, as well as other community members, gathered safely at the Idea Kitchen and viewed the art displayed. They were also able to socialize outside in that fulfilling way Meehan and other artists hadn’t done in about a year and a half due to COVID-19. She, Geroux, and others were able to showcase the amazing art that the isolation of the pandemic inspired them to create, while simultaneously embracing the social aspects that keep art alive.