San Diego artist and business owner Joan Green said she went from seeing 60 students a week in in-studio classes down to eight students via Zoom. That reduction has led to a 90% drop in revenue for her business, Green Art Labs.
Despite this, Green said she remains hopeful for the arts industry.
“Artists have to create, so it comes through no matter what. I see the healing power of the arts, and I love seeing how the general public has connected to their own the arts during this time,” Green said. “Now with people having more down time at home, they are getting back in touch with their creative selves. I’m hopeful that we will see a renewed San Diego art scene that is stronger than ever, with people appreciating the arts and all the other things that had to change so drastically during this time.”
Green founded Green Art Labs in 2014. The mobile art business hosted numerous camps throughout the region during school breaks.
“Families relied on us to provide creative enrichment for their children, as well as quality care during school breaks. It felt like a family, as many of our students have been with us for years,” Green said.
After the stay-at-home order was announced in mid-March, Green pivoted the business to online but also launched Community Supported Art boxes.
“It’s a play on Community Supported Agriculture boxes that farms offer their community,” Green said. “These have been very popular and we’ve created three different art boxes — paper art, sewing and sculpture. I had wanted to make this part of Green Art Labs for a while, but didn’t have the time before. With the stay at home order, it gave time for this and other creative projects to help my business grow.”
Although she found other ways to keep her business afloat, Green said she went from bringing in $7,000 a month to $580 in August. To make up for the losses, Green applied and received grants and loans.
Aside from finding creative ways to keep Green Art Labs open, she said she wants to advocate for equality.
“I’m appalled at the systemic racism that runs rampant through our country and that even during this time of crisis, we as a nation do not support our most vulnerable,” Green said. “I want to advocate for small businesses that are struggling, no matter their credit score. Small business owners and artists need our love and support now more than ever.”
As she advocates for others, she’s also advocating the public to use art to overcome this challenging time.
“You can support me by getting in touch with your own creativity,” Green said. “When people connect to their creativity they have a deeper understanding and love for themselves, which ripples outward to their families, their friends, their communities and the Earth. When we take care of ourselves we take care of each other and the planet. We are all connected. When you take care of yourself you’re taking care of everything else in this world.”
For more information about Green Art Labs, go to greenartlabs.com.