So yesterday, in the Globe and Mail, Dr Tam, Canada’s chief medical officer, and my husband’s hero, suggested it might be a good idea to wear a mask when you leave your home. Dr Tam said we shouldn’t use medical masks but make our own masks from things around the house. Dave got right to work. Using the sleeve of one of his T-shirts and the elastic from an old pair of underwear he quickly fashioned a mask. Later in the morning, he offered to let me use it when I went to the post office to mail my grandson’s birthday gift. I politely declined.
Monday night when we went for a walk along the river it was still jammed with ice. Yesterday it was warmer and on our bike ride, we noticed the ice had broken loose and the river was flowing freely.
The Canada geese are returning in droves and without the usual traffic noise in the downtown area where we live their honking seems exceptionally loud. It is kind of reassuring to see the natural world moving in its usual cycles despite how unusual our current human situation is.
Someone in our condo building is a budding artist and when we get in the elevator it’s a surprise to see what new artwork they may have posted there. It’s always related to the pandemic in some way. I thought this one which appeared yesterday was quite clever.
This is our set where we spent more than three hours filming on Monday. Our church is having online services and we were asked to contribute a Scripture reading and song for the Good Friday service. Since we didn’t think it was safe to meet at the church we decided to record ourselves at home, something that was a bit of a technical challenge for the two of us, but we figured it out. That’s the Scripture taped to the television. My laptop sat on the pillows. This set up allowed us to read the assigned verses looking up at the camera rather than down into a Bible. We also had to record a song. Since we lack the technical expertise to edit video we had to do an entire run-through of the Scripture reading and song without making too many mistakes. That was hard! I’m sure we made at least a dozen recordings before we figured out how to film ourselves properly and had a recording without too many errors. COVID-19 is certainly ramping up my technology skills. I’ve learned how to change views on Facetime calls and use a Google drive link to send large files. I can enter a zoom meeting, participate in one, and even host a zoom session. And now I can make video recordings of myself on my computer.
I found out I’d been temporarily laid off from my job as a learning facilitator and tour guide at the Winnipeg Art Gallery this week and it made me sad but I TOTALLY understand.
The gallery has been closed for weeks. Even when it opens again it will probably take a while before education, business and community groups will have the resources, impetus or time to book tours. Their institutions will be focused on beginning the process of recovering from the impact of the pandemic. Although we have been temporarily laid off we were assured that when things return to some kind of normalcy the gallery will put us back to work. I am glad many staff members can continue to work. On the WAG website you can see the wonderful things they are doing to keep in touch with our members and visitors with a whole variety of interesting activities and information pieces.
I absolutely love my job at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and I will treasure the fact that my last day of work before the gallery closed was such a memorable one.
In my final months at the gallery, I was able to guide literally hundreds of children, adults and teens through the Kent Monkman exhibit, a groundbreaking collection of work that helped visitors see Canada’s history from an indigenous perspective. It was such an honour.
I am incredibly grateful to the Winnipeg Art Gallery for giving me the privilege of working there. I have learned so much. My work there has opened up new writing and speaking opportunities for me. I have met such wonderful people. I hope to be back before too long.
Literally thousands of people who work in the fields of art, music, theatre, literature and dance are losing their jobs. The institutions and organizations they work for will need tremendous support both during and after the pandemic. We will all need to do what we can to continue to support them.