Online arts café set up to help people during coronavirus self-isolation

An actual session of the Isolation Arts Caf.

An actual session of the Isolation Arts Caf. - Credit: Archant

Artists might not be key workers according to the government definition. But as fear grips, there is an increasing sense that they are central to helping wellbeing.

And never more so than in uncertain times.

But stuck in our homes with the recent closure of pubs, theatres and other leisure and entertainment venues, how can we keep up with our love of local performance and culture?

Thankfully St Albans community art lover Grae J Wall has come up with a way, via his online venue – Isolation Arts Café.

He works on the St Albans Arts Team, who have set up the online space as a virtual venue and art gallery where people can meet, share, create and perform.

And there are plans for online gigs featuring local inspirational singer-songwriters.

It is hoped that through sharing opportunities, music, workshops, tutorials and challenges, wellbeing will be promoted.

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Grae said: “Like many others, St Albans Arts Team were dismayed at having to cancel upcoming events and projects due to the Coronavirus epidemic.

“In these times of lock-down, the Isolation Arts Café is a space where people can share their creativity and collaborate creatively with others.

“We realise how important the arts are for the collective wellbeing of the community – for creatives and audiences alike; these spaces where we connect, communicate, debate and display.

“Some of us have family or online networks around us to whom we can turn but others not so much. While we need to support the NHS and those in high risk categories, isolating can be challenging to physical and mental wellbeing. We set up the Isolation Arts Café with this in mind.”

And he invites artists from St Albans district and all over the world to share photos, poems, paintings, videos and more.

He added that they will try to signpost to other virtual arts events from the online café, which can be found at