Pandemic Persistence

Pandemic Persistence

Actors, artists, museums and musicians lead the way


It is traditional that journalists look back at the end of the year, revisiting the stories that changed our little corners of the world. It has been our practice at The Free Weekly to count down the top 10 stories in the arts and entertainment — until now.

The world turned upside down in 2020, and the arts became both the center of our universe as we sheltered at home and a luxury we could rarely indulge in in person.

Through it all, the writers at The Free Weekly kept two things in mind: How can we help the arts organizations we love survive? And how can we help our readers find entertainment in a dark and scary time?

I am proud — truly proud — to say that we have done both for the last 10 months, and we plan to roll right into 2021 doing the same thing.

It’s given us some unprecedented opportunities. We’ve been able to visit with artists and entertainers across the country and bring their work to Northwest Arkansas. We’ve chronicled groundbreaking efforts by theater companies, orchestras and museums to take what they do online and continue to reach their patrons. We’ve seen unique outreach — like theater delivered curbside and music played in circles on a mountain — and national recognition for local artists leading the way in new processes.

This week, we look at three broad categories of accomplishment during 2020 — The Helpers, The Fighters and The Funders. Next week, we’ll consider what we believe to be the top five stories — in no particular order, because we simply couldn’t make that determination!

If you had told me in March, when we packed up our computers and left our offices to work from home, that we’d be here in December, I wouldn’t have believed it. But, as they said in “Jurassic Park,” life finds a way. And it has become even more important to us to do what we do for you, wherever and however we can.

— Becca Martin-Brown

Editor, The Free Weekly

Categories: Cover Story