Art and Creativity to Get Us Through COVID-19

April 29, 2020

In the past two months we have seen the power of creativity to lift spirits, spur action, and strengthen community during this formidable pandemic. Our Creative Change alumni are playing their own part, having developed numerous projects to help people through this difficult time, from free-streaming comedy to art that raises money to release incarcerated women. In addition, organizations more focused on communications are coming up with creative new toolkits and campaigns to help advocates message around this public health crisis. We are proud to work with these bold-thinking leaders.

Last week IllumiNative launched their new Warrior Up campaign to mobilize Native peoples, artists, and their allies around ensuring that Native peoples are seen, heard, and included in solutions and conversations about the COVID-19 public health emergency. Harness is partnering with IllumiNative on the campaign's PSA, #StayAwayTogether to raise awareness about the treatment of Native peoples during times of crisis.

Comedian and Creative Change alumna Negin Farsad’s (CC ’11, ’12) latest feature film, 3rd Street Blackout is streaming for free during the pandemic. “The film is set in New York after the blackout from Hurricane Sandy and, let's just say it pairs well with a quarantine,” Negin said. The comedy includes actors such as Ed Weeks, Janeane Garofalo, Jordan Carlos, Katie Hartman, and more. You can stream it here.

Looking to show your support for our frontline workers? Check out the #DearFrontline project from our Creative Changer Wyatt Closs (CC ’19) at Big Bowl of Ideas. The project invites you to craft and send personalized digital messages to frontline workers, with access to thoughtful designs by talented artists like Creative Change alums Favianna Rodriguez and Ernesto Yerena. It’s an easy way to say thank you. Check it out.

Creative Changer Courtney Bowles (CC ‘19) and The People's Paper Co-op, which brings formerly incarcerated women together to run a craft-based business, are using their art and advocacy campaigns to free black mothers and caregivers amidst the COVID-19 crisis. View and buy the art here and share the hashtags #FreeOurMamas, #FreeOurSisters, #FreeOurQueens.

The Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) has a new language and messaging guide on its website focused on immigrant rights and COVID-19. “One thing that we’ve learned is that since the right-wing has spent decades building a messaging infrastructure, it’s easy for all of us to unintentionally slip into frames that ultimately do more harm than good,” the introduction reads. Specifically, the language centers on how to talk about immigrants and detention, including calls for compassionate release during COVID-19.

Since late March, the Harry Potter Alliance has been hosting Small Things Con, a virtual convention for fan activists. The convention has included workshops on everything from mutual aid to voting to cake decorating to tips for queer young people stuck in unsupportive households during the pandemic. The goal of the online convention is to help people feel empowered and connected to community. Over 1,000 young people participated in the first event, which is free. Learn more.

To address the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on incarcerated people, and to call for compassionate decarceration, JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) is hosting a national Town Hall on Friday, May 1 at 12:15 ET to #FreeThemNow. U.S. Senator Cory Booker will join JLUSA President and CEO DeAnna Hoskins (CI '19) and other advocates to discuss federal policy solutions on the horizon and the national call to decarcerate. Click here to register.