A lot of important things happened across the Mat-Su Valley’s creative community over 2020. It was a year filled with triumphs and heartaches. There were cancelled events and ingenuitive alternatives.
The year was filled with stories of creative people finding creative solutions to a variety of challenges stemming from COVID-19.
Below are the top five stories that we covered in 2020 that demonstrated the overall impact of the pandemic, as well as the creative and community driven perseverance through the trials and tribulations that came along with it.
“‘End of an era’: Shane Lamb closing downtown Palmer studio” published Sep 30, 2020
Perhaps one of the most tragic implications from COVID-19 on the creativity community was when the renowned Alaskan artist, Shane Lamb announced that he would be shutting down his iconic studio in downtown Palmer.
Lamb was forced to close his studio due to the continued strains of the pandemic, demonstrating how damaging the effects can be to even the most established and long running artists and business owners.
As the title suggests, it truly the end of an era not just for Palmer or even the Mat-Su Valley, but the surrounding state and even beyond where his name is known far and wide.
“2020 Alaska State Fair canceled” published May 22, 2020
A number of ASF vendors rely heavily on revenue specifically from that timeframe and the economic effects of all that lost revenue from thousands of visitors will likely be felt across the community for a while.
”‘The newest chapter’: Black Birch Books temporarily closed, but still open” published Apr 22, 2020
When Taylor Jordan had to announce her decision to close her brick and mortar store to maintain her business out of her home, she displayed her usual and unwavering sense of optimism and passion for keeping her story with the community going.
Jordan said that her overall clientele has remained steady and supportive since the store closure.
“Fireside Books serving community with curbside and delivery service” published May 18, 2020While Jordan was keeping Wasilla’s main bookstore alive out of her home, Fireside Books owner Mary Ann Cockle and her colleagues found creative ways to connect with the community and maintain Palmer’s main bookstore with socially distant methods such as virtual book club meetings and offering a curbside pickup and delivery service.
“Valley Performing Arts cancels first show of season and future live performances due to COVID-19” published Nov 18, 20202020 was a rough year for VPA since the onset of the virus. They had to cancel the last show of season 44 in April as well as the first show of season 45 and all upcoming live performances in November.
Despite the struggles of the pandemic, VPA was able to hold a limited version of their summer theater program, offering a glimmer of hope in an otherwise downtrodden year. VPA Executive Director Garry Forrester said they plan to come back bigger and better when the “dust settles.”
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org