If you’re like me (and roughly 90% of US taxpayers), you claim the standard deduction when you file your income taxes each year. For those of us who don't have enough qualifying expenses (mortgage interest, property taxes, etc.) to itemize when we file, the standard deduction probably makes the most sense. Because of this, I am not able to deduct my charitable contributions, despite the fact that I donate to 501(c)(3) organizations.
For everyone who has just started working from home, we know that you’re experiencing a huge shift in your work life and in your day-to-day. Fractured Atlas took a long time to transition to being a fully distributed team, finally making the leap at the end of 2019. We’ve had a lot of time to think about the challenges of virtual work. Over time, and through plenty of trial and error, we have been able to build a virtual office culture in line with our values and our mission, that supports the team as individuals as well as workers. For all of you who are just entering the world of working from home, we know that it’s challenging. And especially challenging if you work in a sector that’s not used to virtual working, like the arts or nonprofits. Plus, any issues you might be having working from home are almost certainly compounded by everything else that’s on your mind as a result of COVID-19, which is why you’re working from home in the first place.
Learn how to use the Theory of Change model to map out your plan and evaluate what's working. Subscribe to the blog and get your printable copy.
At Fractured Atlas, we’ve always tried to be transparent about How We Work. Especially when it comes to the transition we slowly made to becoming a fully distributed team. We slowly wound down the number of people coming into our Manhattan office, and as of late 2019, we fully flipped the switch. Here’s what it looked like to transition to a virtual team. Even in our own team, we’ve seen that people approach virtual working differently. With the freedom to organize our days outside of an office, we’ve each had to find out what kinds of schedules work for us, how to recharge during the day, and how to organize our workspaces. There’s a lot of information flying around about how to make working from home work for you, but we know first-hand that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably one of the millions of artists who are trying to put together the pieces of not just your craft, but your life. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced us all to rethink our daily living routines and cope with the reality of deferred goals for the year. The arts community has been faced with the double challenge of re-focusing their efforts in how they share their work with their audience, in addition to likely losing other sources of income (especially for artists working in the service industry). For many, this means losing your venue, canceled rehearsals, interrupted travel arrangements, or little-to-no audience turnout.
There’s not much to smile about these days. As I’m writing this, the United States just surpassed China as the nation with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, and it’s all but certain that by the time we “flatten the curve” we’ll see more loss of life than any other country as well. While the news is dotted every so often with a heartwarming story or ridiculous video of how we’re all coping with our new normal, it’s hard to feel that any good can come of this particular moment. I think there’s an opportunity for the arts community to address a massive issue that it can’t quite figure out how to talk about: poverty.
Meryl Jones Williams is a Brooklyn, New York-based analogue filmmaker. Her new project Goldilocks is a 16mm mixed-media, animated film set in 1989 that tells the story of two siblings who learn what they mean to each other when one follows the other unseen into the wilderness. Meryl was a member of Fractured Atlas several years ago and recently rejoined in her efforts to raise the funds necessary to bring Goldilocks to life. She shared some insight into the process of creating her first movie that integrates animation into old-school filmmaking and the impact that COVID-19 has had on the execution of her project.
The world is experiencing a huge shift as a result of COVID-19, especially when it comes to how we think about jobs and offices. All of a sudden, offices have had to rapidly get their teams set up with the right gear, the right technical tools, and beginning the process of emotionally adjusting to a virtual working - all in a matter of days or weeks. And one of the biggest changes to come about for newly virtual workers? The introduction of video conferencing through software like Zoom. Meetings that used to be face-to-face are now conducted through video. It might not seem like a huge shift, but it really is very different from face-to-face meeting. There are new questions about how to schedule meetings, what professionalism looks like, and more.
So your job has just gone virtual. Now what? Once your company or organization has figured out how to get everyone a computer, which video conferencing and chat tools to use, and how to store files on a shared cloud-based drive, there’s still a huge amount of adjustment that needs to take place. Even though you’re still working on a computer, things probably feel totally different. It can be hard to get back into the swing of things. You might feel uninspired, isolated, or like you can’t concentrate. Even under the best circumstances, this is totally normal for workers who have transitioned from office life to virtual working.
Many artists and arts organizations are currently faced with potentially irreparable losses due to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. With the national economy and public life ground to a halt, we understand the urgency of allocating critical resources to those in need in our communities. Artists and creatives are working together to sustain the cultural activities and creative projects that enrich all of our lives in unprecedented ways. It is essential that we support these efforts to strengthen our connections in spite of physical isolation. To this end, Fractured Atlas has put together a list of emergency resources for artists and arts organizations of all disciplines and designations. We encourage you to share these and to email us at email@example.com with updates or more resources that aren’t listed.