PL Recommends #4
In this installment of PL Recommends, we look at how art can keep us connected when the pandemic keeps us apart and how artists are creating messages encouraging communities to participate in public health measures to decrease the spread of COVID. Public health messaging has to be relevant to the individual for these practices to be incorporated into daily living. One message does not fit all. We applaud artists who are using their talents to make a difference in health behaviors. So artists can be healers as well as creators.
In addition, we take a break from the continually distressing news through an “irreverent” look at iconic masterpieces reflecting our world today. These and drawings from children can help release our own creativity (our inner child) and promote improved mental health and joy in the moment.
Quote of the Week
“The country is so wounded, bleeding, and hurt right now. The country needs to be healed—it’s not going to be healed from the top, politically. How are we going to heal? Art is the healing force.” — Robert Redford, National Arts Policy Roundtable 2012
When I saw this quote I thought about how art can be a balm helping us heal during this dystopian time. Upon further investigation, I was floored to see the date was 2012, not 2020
Connecting through art when a pandemic keeps us apart (7 minutes)
Canvas, Arts and Culture Series
Can art be a connector in this world of isolation? Join Jeffrey Brown of PBS as he features artists responding to COVID in their communities, especially communities of color, in new and creative ways. Through music, visual art, photography, murals, and virtual dance performance, we can indeed reconnect.
Atlanta Artist Spreads COVID-19 Information Through Her Art (4 minutes)
Scott Simons, NPR
Scott Simons of NPR interviews artist Sheri Daye Scott about her grassroots COVID public health messaging campaign “Big Facts, Little Acts.” Daye Scott uses murals and other forms of art from a variety of artists to connect with hard-hit communities of color about the virus and the importance of masks, social distancing and health care. The goal is to help these communities overcome their distrust of the health care system and spur conversations about important practical COVID-related issues.
‘Girl with a Purell Earring’: How artists are tweaking famous painting for our coronavirus era
We have all seen famous works of art photoshopped to reflect the absurdity of our global lockdown. Can these modified pieces be “soothing” and “comforting,” as Hrag Vartanian, editor–in-chief of the Brooklyn-based art site Hyperallergic, suggests? Check out the The Scream with no figure, The Last Supper with the iconic guests missing from the table, American Gothic with masks, and more. Can these help us feel a bit more imaginative, even playful, in spite of these serious and dismal times? I appreciated the humor and I hope you will too.
The Importance of art in the time of coronavirus
Louis Netter, senior lecturer of illustration, University of Portsmouth
“Of all the necessities we now feel so keenly aware of, the arts and their contribution to our wellbeing is evident and, in some ways, central to coronavirus confinement for those of us locked in at home.” Netter shares his experiences in Kenya through sketches of the people of Mukuru and Burubur (two very different communities). His research team worked closely with local teachers, artists and others to encourage participation in a health study of children’s lung capacity using puppetry, art making (including graffiti), song and dance. His sketches show warmth and caring about the people he meets; he also laments what the future may hold for them.
Art and lockdown: your drawings in the time of coronavirus
Voices of Youth
Feeling down? See how children around the world are creating art to stay mentally healthy. This wonderful Unicef piece features unique, compelling, and insightful art. One work that particularly resonated with me is “Trapped by reality, freed by imagination,” by 14-year-old Zainab from Kuwait. It features a beautifully rendered portrait of a young woman behind a chain link barrier. Other works in the article are equally evocative and powerful. See for yourself.
Linda Bennett has been a museum docent for 10 years, most recently focusing on engaging Adults with Memory Loss with works of art at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. In addition she has earned two graduate degrees (Master of Science and Master of Public Health) from the University of Michigan.