Creativity Persists Amid Chaos

By: Mikki Treitel  |  August 31, 2020

By Mikki Treitel, Arts and Culture Editor

During quarantine, I kept busy and sane by staying creative. I painted enough canvases to cover two of my bedroom walls, acted in a Zoom play, wrote an ode to croissants, and made Broadway choreography my cardio routine. These activities allowed me to feel accomplished on days that were otherwise devoid of productivity. 

I also spent time as a consumer, appreciating the creative work of others. Rereading all of the “Harry Potter” books brought on a somewhat meditative state with their familiarity, which I gladly welcomed. Music has been a constant companion, with different genres to help me focus or unwind. I’ve streamed movies and shows to recharge on my own, or as an activity with friends using the Netflix Party extension. There was also much to enjoy from artists closer to home, with fellow students of YU’s creative community hosting events and publications — from Stern College Dramatic Society’s Disney monologue competition, to Yeshiva University Journal of the Arts’ collective arts diary, to the Stern Studio Art Department’s online Senior Salon. These platforms for creativity and entertainment alike have been key to staying stimulated and finding comfort from home.

At the start of COVID-19, we all stocked up on supplies like dry goods, toilet paper, and Clorox wipes, but it wasn’t long before I added some more colorful items to my list of essentials. Indeed, shipping a projector and jumbo pack of acrylic paints to my house proved just as vital. With the future so unnervingly vague, creating and consuming art allows us to make lemonade out of this time at home. In normal life, it’s easy to downplay the arts and entertainment as just pastimes, if not distractions. Now, having lost much of what once grounded us, the arts remain the constant that keeps us afloat. That give-and-take of expression allows us to escape, to connect, to breathe

I hope these last few months have reminded the YU administration just how integral the arts are. YU’s past decisions that valued the arts were triumphant, not just for the actors receiving credit for play production or the students allowed to shape new majors, but for all of us who know that people need creativity to thrive. As YU restructures and adapts to our new normal, I hope they consider the arts a much greater priority than before, and devote more attention and resources to the creative programs we truly couldn’t live without. 

I am honored to join the YU Observer’s new Arts and Culture section at a time when creativity is so crucial. I look forward to capturing all forms of creativity on campus and beyond, and making art known with the appreciation it deserves.