"WE ARE IN IT TOGETHER" artist's statement:
I want to thank all of the artists that chose to be a part of this iconic piece. There were artists of all ages from 10-58 from different parts of Minnesota, Colorado, and Nebraska who volunteered to be a part of this virtual collaboration. These artists of different skill levels were asked to complete a small section from a large piece using pencil. They had no idea what the image was they were creating or who the others were involved. They were assigned their little piece or pieces, completed them, and sent them back to me to be included into one whole statement piece.
The purpose of this “We are in it together” project was to portray (reflect) what we were experiencing through COVID-19, during lockdowns and the unknown as we continued to make history. Not only just to portray in the final image, but mostly in how it was produced. Artists commented about how we felt while working on the piece. Some were relaxed or challenged, and for some it kept us busy, was an escape, or something new. But commonly, we were anxious to finish and see the final piece. Does this sound ironically similar to the situation? Perhaps relaxed at home, but challenged by limited income or not working or working and challenged with the risk of getting ill. Or, taking the time to reflect on lives of others or their own, or staying busy with things they normally might not do, while others are working harder, all in hopes to find out what happens in the end.
We’ve all been affected in different degrees, but also in the same general ways. We shouldn’t be touching our loved ones, friends and neighbors, and heartbreakingly some may never again. We’ve all adjusted to our change in jobs or lack there of, wondering how we can keep going or ever recover.
Politics and beliefs aside, while we stay at home binge watching Netflix, or try to teach something we’ve never learned before, or try new coping techniques, we are all sacrificing. We are all essential workers in my opinion. We are doing our little part, which should not be out of fear, but for one purpose… to save human lives… including our families, our friends, our co-workers and neighbors… And while there are still some skeptics, conspiracy theories, and protests, this action, what the rest of us are doing together, right now, these single acts, what we are doing alone in our masks, from our hospital rooms, grocery stores, and delivery and trash trucks, to our backyards, kitchens, and couches, gives me hope for humanity and our future.
We don’t know what the “finished piece” of COVID-19 will look like, but if we come together, do our best and persevere, there will be an end and a “completed picture”. That picture will be viewed differently by everyone and contain different experiences of everyone. The bottom line is that we learn, we grow and come together, hopefully as better people and appreciate our community, friendships, family, jobs and ourselves a little more.
Just like each artist had our own little separate part we played in creating a big picture, in reality, we all are doing our little separate part in creating a bigger, more united one.