WACO, TX — The coronavirus pandemic forced a curtain call on the arts industry, leaving people without live shows, and performers without jobs.
"Exposure is everything, it's kind of how you get connections. It was challenging being inside performing online," says Russell Hardy a vaccine ambassador and performer.
According to Americans for the Arts, the arts saw a $1,763,206,825 total financial loss, $137,022,269 worth here in Texas.
"I think right now is the time to be aggressive into being back into performing and getting vaccinated so we can continue to do that," says Meredith Marcum, the director and event coordinator for Civic on 7th.
Thanks to a grant from the Texas Commission of the Arts, local artists and performers will become vaccine ambassadors, hosting different kinds of arts experiences to help spread knowledge on vaccinations.
"Artists get a choice about entirely how they participate in this program and how they want to bring their creative ideas to it," says Fiona Bond, the executive director with Creative Waco.
Creative Waco is supporting local artists to create work that helps people learn about or have access to vaccination thanks to the grant.
They're also partnering with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District to provide vaccination sites at performances such as Waco Civic Theater's pop-up performances downtown on Thursday evenings.
"I'm vaccinated, and now I'm performing, I'm getting the word out there, I'm doing my part experiencing my craft," says Hardy.
While the Delta variant raises concerns about what the future may bring, performers hope they can merge the arts and advocacy for vaccinations in an effort to keep live entertainment alive
"We need to bring people together in person for shared experiences, so that we can have that sense of we are a community that is interconnected and who share experiences in a way that is meaningful to all of us, no matter what our differences," says Bond.
The next event in this series will be on 7th street Thursday, July 29th at 6:30 pm, and will feature local star Holly Tucker.
The performance is called 'Oh the Places We'll Go' paying homage to vaccinations and travel.