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Fighting Covid: Finding Support With Hollie Berry

Hollie Berry shares her experiences during this time and ways artists can find support

With so many of Chattanooga’s usual hot spots being closed and local events having to be put on hold, many artists have had their livelihoods heavily disrupted. Among them is local pyro and equestrian artist, Hollie Berry.

Hollie has one of the premier faces of Chattanooga’s art scene and a big cause of this is her involvement with so many events and local organizations. She has planned to do live shows with the Tennessee Aquarium and has had to postpone them as well as her involvement with the Bayou City Art Festival in Houston, Texas. Hollie is a member of the art collective at Chattanooga WorkSpace and all of their events have been canceled. Many of the places that feature her artwork, such as the Copper Fox Gallery and Naughty Cat Cafe, are also closed during this time.

“The Tennessee Aquarium is one of my favorite organizations and March 12 was my first time collaborating with them. By the end of March 13th, my other show with them had been canceled,” Hollie shared. “I have spent months preparing for the Bayou City Art Festival and even bought a used van for transporting my works to it, only for it to be postponed until the fall.”

As her studio is located downtown and she is quarantining at home, Hollie has not been able to do much of her usual artwork. She is now taking the time to instead tackle projects at home to keep her mind at ease, like devoting herself to her vegetable garden. One of those endeavors has involved the creation of the herb spiral pictured here!

When asked about the effects she thinks this will have on her artwork and the art scene as a whole, Hollie said that she thinks this might be an opportunity for increased productivity. Many artists are now stuck with more free time on their hands and can use it to focus on their work.

“Many artists are introverts like me, and having all your social obligations and commitments canceled is a secret relief. Quarantine also can be interpreted as permission from society to do without guilt what we wanted - sit at home alone and make good art.”

Losing her shows and the ability to create more artwork has cut Hollie off from many of her usual sources of income. Many local artists are dealing with this during this time, but luckily there are organizations that can help. ArtsBuild has introduced the Artist Emergency Fund which is helping many. Other organizations are stepping up as well, including the Bayou City Arts Festival that issued grants to all of its participating artists, including Hollie.

Artists can encourage the community to help them by setting up support programs like Patreon accounts and increasing their web presence. Offering online classes, demos or special projects like this coloring sheet designed by local artists Jaime Barks, are other great ways to stay in touch with the community. Many artists, including Hollie, are selling their works and reproduction prints of them online and have the capability to ship them to buyers. Beyond that, locals can make sure to follow artists on social media to help share their work.

Make sure to keep supporting local artists like Hollie by following them on Instagram and make sure to go check out her website here to see more of her work!