The cashier at Trader Joe’s couldn’t get over how many fresh flowers customers have been purchasing during the pandemic. “People load up their carts with pasta and frozen foods and then they buy at least two bouquets of flowers,” she told me. “It doesn’t really make sense.”
Beauty persists, especially in times of uncertainty or hardship. Holocaust survivor and concert pianist Alice Herz-Sommer performed at more than 150 concerts during the two years she spent at Theresienstadt concentration camp. She later told a reporter, “People ask, ‘How could you make music?’ We were so weak. But music was special, like a spell … the world is wonderful. It is full of beauty.”
While some of us are first responders or have lost a loved one to COVID-19, most of us are contending with circumstances far less devastating than Herz-Sommer’s. Still, death stares at us hourly through the garish news graphics tracking the many lost to the virus.
“Living each day under the stress of the pandemic, our need for beauty is on the surface—we are feeling it, even if we can’t fully articulate it,” said Charlie Peacock. The four-time Grammy-winning composer, producer, and recording artist has worked with everyone from Switchfoot to The Civil Wars. “Gratefully, the vocational beauty makers are working overtime to fulfill this need. When has there ever been a time when so many artists of every kind are sharing beauty with the world—for free?”
He is creating new music and paintings daily while self-quarantining in Nashville, including a song with friend Sarah Masen Dark. “It did not start out to be any commentary on our new world, but ...1
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Why Art and Beauty Matter During a Pandemic
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