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Online art sale helps both the elderly and struggling artists during Covid-19

Art Cares Covid volunteer project Brussels
15:20 13/05/2020

Art and social care initiative ArtCaresCovid is coming to the aid of elderly people and emerging artists in Brussels – two overlooked communities struggling during the coronavirus crisis.

The online platform sells contemporary art - priced between €200-4,000 - by 42 artists.

From each sale, 40% benefits the nonprofit A Travers les Arts! This organisation delivers necessities such as food and medicine to the elderly as well as culture and entertainment to combat loneliness.

The remaining 60% goes to the artist. So far, 14 works have been sold, with €3,408 donated to the nonprofit and €5,512 retained by artists.

Launched by curator Maëlle Delaplanche and artist Sandrine Morgante, the volunteer project was set up rapidly in April to respond to the crisis, and is running until 30 June.

“We were both aware of the sudden precarious situation of many of our artist friends. We were also aware of the catastrophic situation in nursing homes, left to themselves to deal with a rising number of deaths. Although confined, we were connected on Facebook and thought of a way of making ourselves useful, to take care of others and the art world,” explains Morgante.

They deliberately named their project ART CARES COVID to convey their desire to help the two communities, she adds. “In English, it has a double message. The art world is affected by Covid-19, it is worried about it, but also ‘Art can heal the evil of Covid’.” 

How do the pair view the role of the artist during such a crisis? “Although art does not correspond to vital and essential needs, a society without art lacks aesthetic pleasure, poetry and reflection. We are convinced that art must be part of life and as well as helping these communities, we would like to reach a larger audience, to spark an interest perhaps among those who are not into art,” says Morgante.

Art Cares Covid and A Travers Les Arts helping the elderly in Brussels

A Travers les Arts! runs numerous projects (pictured) that help elderly people, living either in their own home or in residences. It also promotes artists who are still establishing their careers, by interacting with senior citizens to explore new forms of expression and increase their visibility. During the lockdown, they have been performing readings, theatre and concerts outside homes, in courtyards and gardens.

Photos: (Top, left) Nicolas Bourthoumieux, Sans titre (parfait), 2020, chaise en plastique, acier, €700; (Top,right) Jeanne Boute from nonprofit A Travers les Arts! at nursing home Val des Roses (c) Isabelle Gobbaerts; (Above) Concert by Catherine Graindorge and her daughters Illona et Lula for the residents of Val des Roses (c) Isabelle Gobbaerts


Written by Sarah Crew