Artists vs. COVID-19

June 8, 2020 | Posted in FC Creates, FC Creates: Community Development |

Edit: All posters can now be found in the University of Florida’s Center for Arts in Medicine COVID-19 Response Media Repository!
Some good news from FC Creates’ Arts & Culture Coordinator, Olivia Jimenez:
We called, and they answered!
Three of our residents stepped up and used their creative skills to help keep our communities safe. Cynthia Pecore (poetry), Gabriel Reeberg (hand-drawn illustration) and Jesse McCrum (digital art) collaborated with FC Creates and Health Initiatives to design three fabulous PSA posters. As a special bonus, local translator, cartoonist, and poet Tony Beckwith of the AATIA donated his time and expertise to translate Cynthia’s poetry into Spanish!
Cynthia Pecore has a BA in Theater and has been telling stories and writing poetry since high school.
I was painfully shy– I called it fatally shy… just no communication whatsoever. [My high school counselor] suggested I take theater and speech and that it would help bring me out of my shell… and he was right! I fell in love with theater and everything followed from there. I had an exceptional English Lit teacher that encouraged my poetry and writing on my own.
Gabriel Reeberg is an illustrator of emotion. He uses Crayon, Ballpoint Pen, Markers, and Gel Pens on cardstock.
“I started drawing when I was 18 months old. So I’m a mix of self-taught and schooled… I am truly blessed to have worked with some amazingly talented people. My style has changed a lot over time. During hard times my work can be a bit dark but with the right music playing I can make something beautiful.”
Jesse McCrum is an artist, an academic, and a veteran who works primarily in graphic design and digital illustration. He aims to use his artwork to inspire and support his community. Lately, he has been working specifically to address the pandemic through his work.
We are all in this together… The best advice I’ve ever received: if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far go with someone(s) else.
These three residents were selected out of all who applied because of their dedication to the mission of the project- helping to educate our community about ways to stay safe during the pandemic- and their collaborative spirits.
Collaborating with other artists can be a huge challenge, y’all!
And when you have a short timeline
And work in different mediums
And live in different places
And don’t know each other
And can’t meet in person
And are living through the stress and civil unrest that arise when your country grapples with its systemic racism and inequity amidst a global pandemic
… it can feel daunting to take on anything.
And yet, these three artists made it look easy! I had the privilege of helping to facilitate their collaboration and was blown away. Together they found ways to communicate and share their work and ideas with one another, even when faced with technological barriers. They worked with speed and compassion and joy to create these gifts for our community. We’ll be featuring each of them and their work in future posts, so keep an eye out for more from them and other members of our creative community!
I am so grateful to have worked on this project- it was a spot of hope during dark days. It was also a great learning opportunity. We had a lot of takeaways about best practices for working with artists, gained some insights about virtual collaboration, and did a lot of reflecting about how to shift our behavior in the future to communicate more efficiently, center healing and growth, and be more inclusive in our messaging and storytelling. We’re particularly interested in improving our ability to communicate in multiple languages, working with more BIPOC artists, and inviting diverse perspectives in terms of race, age, abilities, etc.
An extra big THANK YOU to everyone who helped us make this project happen, to the committee of folks who oversaw the project, and especially to FC’s Supportive Services for working onsite with the artists, District Managers for helping us plan, and the ELT for supporting this project! Shouts out to:
Alicia Buchanan! Tiffany Nicely-Williams! Aaron DeLaO! Paige Milson! Paula Suchland! Julie Candoli! Sarah Middaugh! Tonia Doering! Alyssa Rennel! Ben Murguia! Stephanie Bernal! Zeynep Kleinman! Abe Moskowitz! Kenya Lewis! Olivia Lopez! Lila Wilds! Mandy Lewis! Charissa Sellers! Julian Huerta! Vicki McDonald!
This could not have happened without you!
Stay safe.
Stay creative.
Stay compassionate.
Olivia & the FC Creates Team