On April 1, we launched our COVID-19 relief fund for cultural workers, offering both emergency support for essentials like rent, groceries, and healthcare as well as grants for artists who had ideas for creative projects that could help King County residents through the pandemic.
Since April, the Creative Response arm of our relief fund has helped more than 30 projects come to life, with more taking shape in the coming weeks. We have been deeply inspired by the impactful ways artists have reacted to this crisis and by their committment to the well-being of King County communities. In their applications, many artists let us know that they were already at work on projects when our fund launched, and used these grants to pay collaborators and expand their reach.
Congratulations and thank you to all who put 4Culture funds to work in this way. Some projects have wrapped up, while some are still on the horizon—we’ll continue to add to this list as more projects take shape. Get to know each of them, and check back often!
Cooped-Up: Drive-In Dances for Cooped-Up People brought 22 drivers and their passengers on an evening-length performance adventure. They navigated through Seattle, guided by an immersive sound score through their stereos, to witness seven vignettes that each reflect aspects of a day of a cooped-up person.
Hello Kitty™ is an interesting figure: she is a little girl (not a cat). Inspired by this rebellion against traditional identity, h*llo k*tty syndrome is a mostly-comedic adventure that starts as a play about a person who won’t stop wearing a Hello Kitty™ mascot costume and then breaks into a space for healing, venting, devising, conversation, poetry, and things in-between.Check back soon for performance dates!
COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma is a portrait campaign by South Seattle photographer Sharon H. Chang to combat increased racism against people of color during the coronavirus pandemic; raise awareness about the disproportionate impacts of the coronavirus on communities of color; and prioritize safety instead of stigma by the public. The campaign, supported by 4Culture, launched on social media April 7.
When the COVID-19 crisis began, artist Kathleen Coyle was teaching watercolor to seniors in Lake City, partnering with the senior service organization Sound Generations. The classes stopped, along with many other activities at the center, leaving seniors isolated. Using Creative Response funds, Kathleen is now conducting group and 1-on-1 Zoom watercolor classes with seniors, giving them a way to connect and create art.
As parents and children take more walks together to break up long days in isolation, Tania Yowson is bringing puzzles and art into the mix. Monster Walk is a treasure hunt. When community members go for walks, they search for a series of eight monsters posted on street intersections. A posted web address will give information on how to receive a free set of monster cards along with other project information.
To contrast the silence that suffused urban environments as lockdown set in, Robb Kunz created a 14-channel sound installation. The covered walkway next to the International Fountain at Seattle Center now serves as a reminder of what normal life was like—and what is to come.
Danielle Mohlman produced a fifteen-performance run of her two-person play Nexus, with a different quarantined couple performing the show live from their living room each night. The play ran April 17 to May 17 and featured actors from King County and across the country.
Amaranta Sandys began broadcasting live art tutorials on social media right away when schools closed in response to COVID-19. Using Creative Response funds, she then created a series of bilingual video art classes, focusing on things kids and families can create using materials they already have on hand: recycle mosaics, edible paint, cardboard guitars, and more.
As we all look for virtual programming that keeps us inspired and active, Etienne Cakpo, Director of Gansango Dance Company, is creating a series of 12 videos: three African dance instructional videos, three African drumming instructional videos, three performance videos, and three seated-chair dance movement segments for elderly folks and people with disabilities. Etienne is also teaching weekly dance classes via Zoom!
An overly-stressed nervous system greatly impacts our physical and emotional health and wellbeing. Sound is a powerful tool in restoring balance to the nervous system and infusing joy into our lives. Jennifer livestreamed a relaxing sound bath concert, giving attendees a sonic tune-up while utilizing deep-breathing and deep-listening.
Sharon put her Creative Response funds to work creating an illustrated zine about the coronavirus for kids ages 7-12 that is part-science, part–comic, and 100% reassuring in a time when children need to know that, even in a world that can seem big and scary, most people are inherently good, and every tiny, seemingly insignificant act of kindness matters to the world. The 20 page zine will be distributed in English, Spanish and Chinese.
Kitten N’ Lou and friends celebrated Pride from Queerantine! Click below to watch the video featuring Ben Franklin, Cherdonna Shinatra, Jeez Loueez, Joshua Dean, Lola Van Ella, Madelyne Godley, Madison Jane, Markeith Wiley, Moscato Extatique, Mr. Gorgeous, Nick van Deren, Paris Original, spICE!, Stephen Hando, and The Luminous Pariah.
Initially, Clare received 2019 Art Projects funding to work with a LIHI Tiny House Village, designing black-and-white drawings to decorate the village fencing. Neighbors, residents, and volunteers would then join together to celebrate the village, coloring in the art banners. In the wake of COVID-19, the village rapidly expanded, doubling the amount of fence. Creative Response funding helped Clare adapt her plan and the number of banner in response.
Melissa Koch is providing free, biweekly, virtual art classes for Lake City refugee youth through the month of August. Melissa is partnering with the Refugee Artisan Initiative to ensure that all attendees have internet access. Before each class, kits of art material and a meal are delivered to the children and their families.
Ellen Forney created a comic and video to guide you through Criss-Cross Doodle, a meditative drawing game that is soothing, easy for any skill level, and satisfying, even just for relaxing and making something pretty. Studies show that drawing calms our brains in many ways—essential in these chaotic times.