How Alecia Buckles is pushing forward with her art career despite the impact of COVID-19 on the art community
Mixed media artist Alecia Buckles is one of the many local artists that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last few months, she has been working hard to legitimize her art as a business through building a team and launching a new website where sales orders could be processed, but with the arrival of COVID-19, all of her progress has been put to a halt. In addition to this, she has been laid off from her other jobs and now relies solely on her artwork for income.
Buckles has not lost her spark, though. She remains positive, stating that she is happy to have at least her art when she knows that there are others that are in greater need than she is. Rather than keeping 100% of her sales to herself, she has been giving a portion of it to those in the industry that have been stripped entirely of their income.
Buckles has sought out help elsewhere, however, through grants and other miscellaneous art opportunities. Recently she applied for a grant from ArtsBuild, a local organization that focuses on building a stronger community through the arts. They have set up a fund to help artists in Hamilton County that are currently struggling and are accepting donations as well. She recommends this organization to any creative minds.
When asked what advice could be given to visual artists and owners of small businesses, she says, “Stay vigilant. Keep searching for resources! They exist and the community is there to serve you… people are still purchasing artwork so keep hanging in there. It’s our time to share our work and allow it to be a healing process for others.” The Chattanooga art community astounds her. She is constantly reminded of their support and loves it more than she can express.
The last question asked of Buckles is whether she wanted to mention anything else. Immediately she says, “You won’t always be inspired. That is okay… This is a time to heal. This is a time to pay attention to the ones you care about. Just know that it’s okay to press pause… Listen to what your body needs.”
Buckles is still selling her work through her website, but mostly through Instagram at this current time because it seems to be providing her with more traffic. She is making as much as she can and trying to keep her art as affordable as she can. To show support, look for her new mural at Barking Legs soon, or check out her website aleciavera.com or Instagram @aleciavera.