Getting Them Started

NOTE: These activities are best suited to senior elementary and high school students.

Introduce them to the article:

In this article, Kate Taylor reports on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the arts—musicians, painters, dancers, and actors, for example. Noting a range of performances and programs that have now been cancelled, she summarizes the economic costs to performers and those who work behind the scenes, as well as the economic impact on Canada.

Reading it with them:

Take 10 or 15 minutes to read the article with them, stopping to explain the language or terms, as needed.

Terms to explain:

The Junos, Luminato, macro-economic, gigs, freelance, scatological, melodramatic, avant-garde

Key things they can learn from it:

  • Examples of businesses in the arts;
  • Examples of service jobs that support the arts;
  • The amount of money the arts generate in our economy;
  • How artists and performers earn a living;
  • The importance of live audiences for performers and artists;
  • Ways the arts have adapted to the COVID-19 crisis.
Helping Them Learn

Sample questions to pose

  • Did anything you read in the article surprise you? Why?
  • What kinds of changes have you already seen in the way your favourite singers/actors/dancers are adapting to the way things are now?
  • Have you thought of a career in the arts? If so, does anything you’ve read make you question choosing this kind of career?
  • Given what they’ve read and discussed with you, ask how important they think the arts are to our economy, and to Canadian society at large. Did anything they read change their minds about the arts?
Additional Learning
  • Talk about any friends or relatives who are in the arts. For example, do the students know any musicians, artists, dancers, or people who work in theatres, film? If so, consider contacting them online and asking them how they’re coping. Text them or talk to them about their careers, find out what it’s been like for them as shut-ins. Search to see if they have posted any of their work.
  • Check out the websites for the Stratford Festival, as well as for any of the students’ favourite performers, to see whether they’re putting performances online; if so, take time to watch and listen to anything they’ve posted.
  • If the students are musicians, perhaps they would be willing to make a video of one of their songs, or a whole performance, and post it for their friends or fellow students.