Tears of Joy

Tears of Joy

By Jill Robinson, CEO  

It made me cry.  Joyously. 

On Friday, organizational psychologist Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) tweeted a video from Siena, Tuscany, in Italy. I heard it more than saw it: voices coming from open windows, singing a “popular song from their houses along an empty street to warm their hearts during the Italian Covid-19 lockdown,” tweeted the person on-site. (Please, take 15 seconds to watch it. It will lift you; I promise.) 

(Source: Independent, UK) 

You and I have never lived through a time like this. In arts and culture, in the world, we’re reeling and trying to adapt to uncertainty and fear and the sometimes-ugly reality of COVID-19. Last week brought changes at a pace that left me breathless. Thursday alone took my breath away.  

But this music. 

Creativity and the collective sharing of it is hard-wired into us. I tweeted back to Adam that I believe that while it may be inherent in Maslow’s “self-actualizing” level in his hierarchy, creativity is something quite particular, quite separate and important. And beautiful. I’m reminded of a powerful story told to me about the refugee camps in Calais, France, where people living there in horrible conditions also created art in arts tents, ostensibly to stay connected to their humanity. You can read more about it here

So now, while I share your feelings of uncertainty and more, I also invite us to remember this: arts and culture are critical to the health of our communities. I believe this crisis will help the world see this, and awaken us to its power and importance. We must lead in a way that inspires our communities and teams and artists, and that leaves our sector in a better place than where we started. 

You heard me right.  A better place. 

At TRG Arts we have the benefit of seeing data unfold in real-time, practices adopted at scale, now globally. We have an organization that is full of curious, talented people who are working insanely hard, right now, to help the sector adapt and thrive through. I’m wildly proud of them and even more proud of the stories I’m hearing of client leaders and organizations who are digging in, doing the hard and focused work, fueled by the belief that we’ll make it through. And that this crisis might help us advance in ways that are hard to see right now, but are there. 

So, over the coming weeks, I’m going to share with you, now and regularly moving forward, what I’m seeing and hearing. I’ll share what TRG Arts is seeing as best practices in the moment to help manage operations and leadership and more. I’ll do this in blogs and online roundtables and I won’t ask for much time in one sitting. None of us has it! But I know this: we need to SHARE—what’s working, what’s failing…all of it. These results we’re seeing, good or bad, will help us adapt more quickly and, as I said above, thrive through. 

I look forward to seeing and hearing from you. And I believe in us. 

Posted March 16, 2020

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