When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in 2020, it wasn’t only Henry Matthiessen’s art business that had to change.

The art itself needed to change as well.

Matthiessen, who owns Stoned Art Studio in Dubuque, found himself forced to close the doors of his gallery, removing the ability to show his pieces to customers in person. His custom-made stone oil lamps benefited the most from the in-person showings and were a high selling product for his business. With his store closed off from the public throughout the pandemic, Matthiessen said, interest in the lamps faded.

“If there were no showings, then I had to forget about selling a lot of stone lamps,” he said. “I had to totally rethink the plan for my business.”

The pandemic forced many local artists to adapt their art and business model in order to survive. For Matthiessen, that adaptation came from spending even more time

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You could call it art for art’s sake — plus $1,000 a month.

San Francisco plans to start paying 130 local artists $1,000 a month starting in May through the fall in a pilot program announced on Thursday. 

It follows other so-called “universal basic income” efforts being launched in California amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“From the first day the pandemic arrived in San Francisco, we knew that this health crisis would impact artists, and artists of color in particular,” Mayor London Breed said Thursday while announcing the program, FOX 2 of the Bay Area reported.

Breed said the city’s artists “make San Francisco special, and bring so much life and energy to our city. The arts are critical to our local economy and are an essential part of our long-term recovery. If we help the arts recover, the arts will help San Francisco recover.”

OAKLAND OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE FRAMEWORK FOR GUARANTEED

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BELOIT — Not even a pandemic and a snow storm could stop this year’s Black Women in Business Expo in Beloit, with the event drawing its largest number of vendors ever on Saturday.

The annual event aims to shine a spotlight on women-owned Black businesses and coincides each year with Black “Herstory” Day, an event organized by the expo’s creator Vickie Lynn to celebrate the achievements of Black women.

Businesses of all kinds were on display Saturday, from health and wellness products, clothing, books, apparel, jewelry, photography, art and more. Entry-fee donations from the event will go to the Center of Hope and New Life Ministries International in Beloit.

This year’s expo, with over 50 vendors, almost didn’t happen due to COVID-19, Lynn said. But organizers rallied to make the event socially-distanced and masks were required.

“We were really unsure about it at first, but then we came together

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Pandemic-driven lifestyle changes that have put the internet at the center of seemingly everything proved a financial boon for Amazon and Google in the final three months of last year.

Google-parent Alphabet and the Seattle-based e-commerce colossus reported large earnings Tuesday on thriving internet advertising and the booming market for online shopping.

“We are proud that people continue to choose Google’s products to stay informed connected and comforted during uncertain times,” chief executive Sundar Pichai said on an earnings call with analysts.

Alphabet said its quarterly profit rocketed some 50 percent to $15.2 billion at the end of last year as its digital ad business thrived.

Alphabet revenue in the final three months of last year hit nearly $57 billion, compared with $46 billion in the same period in 2019, according to the internet titan.

The strong quarter “was driven by Search and YouTube, as consumer and business activity recovered

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