Media-arts collaborate on health education
The Black Lens independent newspaper and Terrain, a nonprofit building community and opportunity for artists, collaborated from January to March to commission artists for "Create Health," a project to raise awareness about the impact of COVID-19 on the Black community and other communities of color.
The Department of Health provided a grant to The Black Lens, said editor Sandy Williams, to develop new ways to reach the Black community and communities of color with health messages related to COVID.
Artists created poetry, graphics and visual op-eds published in The Black Lens, images that were projected on buildings around town and a "COVID Crusaders" comic book.
The culmination of the project on March 15 was an event that drew 100 masked people to the parking lot at 244 W. Main. There they viewed the Black Lives Matter mural that was painted during a few weeks in June and July on a downtown building.
The program included projections of visual art onto that building, including the published art and a review of the mural's development, mixed with health messages.
"The art contained COVID-friendly messages targeting the Black community," said Ginger Ewing, executive director of Terrain, which is both an art and events organization.
"We began with art in the January Black Lens, including a visual op-ed and a poem," she said.
The February issue in Black History Month included more art and poetry, information on the website on resources and art events related to COVID, along with a "rack card," created for the Black community by the Department of Health and distributed to Black businesses who partnered with Create Health to provide information to their customers.
They also developed a website, createhealthspokane.com, that presents health information, artists' background, future events, and data underscoring how disproportionately the Black community was affected by COVID-19.
Ginger said Terrain and The Black Lens commissioned a digital artist who was in Spokane as an artist-in-residence with Laboratory Spokane. Sarah Turner from Portland, Ore., used her skill in "projection mapping and coding," taking large-scale imagery and projecting it on buildings.
"We gave her imagery from the 16 artists who created the mural and from 10 other artists in the Create Health project. Sarah embedded the images in the mural," Ginger said.
The March 15 event used art to share the message in a new way.
Other participating organizations were the NAACP Spokane, providing refreshments, and Spokane Community Against Racism, which projected images on another building to draw attention to "Our Stolen Sisters."
"It gave me hope to feel there is momentum and that we can all work together to create the change we need," said Ginger.
The comic books not only went to The Black Lens mail subscribers, but also to businesses and were handed out at a vaccine clinic held March 13 by The NATIVE Project in collaboration with the NAACP Spokane, the Carl Maxey Center, the Martin Luther King Jr Center and the Emmanuel Family Life Center.
"It targeted people of color and drew about 600 people," said Sandy, adding that the MLK Center is offering vaccine clinics twice a month.
For information, email email@example.com or visit createhealthspokane.com to see the project components.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April, 2021