Creativity in the Time of COVID-19: Art as a Tool for Combatting Inequity and Injustice is a project that formed as a response to the ways in which everyday people have used creativity to cope with the pandemic. The goal of this project is to crowdsource creative artifacts from as many people as possible, with a focus on highlighting the stories of those who were most affected by COVID-19. Over the past year, people everywhere have encountered their own individual losses, disappointments, and hardships while sheltering in place. For many, however, there are structural disadvantages and inequities at play that caused them to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

Everyone has a unique perspective on how COVID-19 has personally affected them, and many have turned to creativity as a means of processing their experience. Co-Principal Investigators of the grant, Natalie Philips, Nancy DeJoy, and Julian Chambliss, noticed that a lot of their own students had been using art as a means of expressing their feelings while in quarantine. Students were coping with these uncertain times through every form of creation imaginable- knitting, writing poems, making music, cooking new foods, and even creating protest art- which naturally led to the question, what does this look like on a larger scale? What kinds of things have people created internationally to get through this global trauma? If humanity’s collective response to hardship is creation, then by studying and preserving works that were made during COVID-19, we should develop a better understanding of how art can be used in the path to healing.

Through creating both physical and virtual exhibitions featuring a collection of the works sent in through our survey, the project aims to create a community space that is reflective of the struggles and joys faced by ordinary people during the pandemic.  We hope to amplify the voices that have been silenced amidst the chaos of the last year.