“I was rather impressed by the initiative Festival of Nothing 2020,” says Shreya Nagarajan Singh, founder of Shreya Nagarajan Singh Arts Development Consultancy. “Some European countries have not cancelled ticket sales for events slated to be held during the lockdown period. Instead, they let art lovers buy tickets for non-existent events and proceeds would be utilised to pay wages for artists, sound engineers, stagehands and other workers across the arts sector.”
Artists are among those who will be worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis. “What is their immediate future going to be like?,” she asks. As part of her search for answers, she decided to organise an online series titled What Happens Next? “We will be roping in 15 surprise guests, each of whom will address the million-dollar question, What Happens Next? We will be speaking to arts practitioners from around the globe, who will be focusing on their reality, how they are coping with the pandemic, what their coming months look like, how they plan to sustain themselves and adapt to the current scenario,” she adds.
Such interactions and knowledge-sharing among the art community will help them come up with innovative ideas to generate revenue. “But we do not have the luxury of time or resources for elaborate discussions. By organising such short talks, I want to understand how to reduce the impact of the lockdown on art, besides discussing ways to ideate with artists around the globe,” she says.
The series, launched on April 20, had Melissa Jimenez, arts entrepreneur and General Manager of MusicTT from Trinidad and Tobago, share her ideas. On April 21, Hakim Dough, hip hop artiste and Executive Director, Art of Culture Inc, Chicago participated, followed by Nitish Narayan, a Mumbai-based sound engineer the next day. The online series is on till May 4 and the duration of each talk will be 15 minutes. Shreya will be presenting different people associated with art on her Instagram handle everyday. The list of speakers includes an arts manager from Bulgaria, an economics professor based in Chicago, a contemporary dancer from Belgium, besides an author, curator and performer from Australia.
“Going forward, the way we present and consume art is set to change completely. I foresee a vibrant future, and we are at the cusp of this change. I hope this online series helps artists figure out what everyone is doing differently and find a solution,” sums up Shreya.