Art, Imagination, and Social Justice in the Time of COVID-19

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A closer look at three Arts Politics student projects responding to the crisis.

Arts Politics students during a Zoom session

Arts Politics students during a Zoom session on May 11, 2020. Photo by Sarah Wasko.

By the time Arts Politics students presented their end-of-year projects via Zoom this May, the COVID-19 crisis had unleashed endless challenges in the arts and activism space, as in the rest of the world. In the Art & Public Policy community, that simply means fertile ground for intensely imaginative work facing profound challenges.

At Tisch’s Department of Art & Public Policy, the work of Arts Politics students lives at the nexus between art, research, and activism, inhabiting a space where creativity drives change. Of course, for this year’s students, the COVID-19 crisis has presented another level of obstacle that demands innovation at lengths greater than ever. In celebration of the Class of 2020, we’re highlighting a few projects from Art & Public Policy’s final core class presentation that have taken creative approaches to advocacy and social justice in the time of COVID-19. We hope you’ll take a moment to interact with these diverse projects tailor-made for the virtual space.

The Recognition Project Flyer: Submit a picture of your loved one so we can feature them, link in bio

The Recognition Project by Tatiana Mena Ramos

The Recognition Project
By Tatiana Mena Ramos

A movement that serves as a living, collaborative archive in a time where so many of our loved ones are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. Whether they are a healthcare worker, drivers, postal service folks, online shopping industry, janitors, service people, or are just working everyday to help and keep serving, it's scary to know all they're sacrificing. It also serves to understand the impact of gratitude on those that give it and those who receive it. This is the opportunity to show up and recognize them for their commitment and help. 

Click Here to Recognize a Frontline Worker

Visit The Recognition Project Instagram


Voting in the Time of COVID
By Maya Contreras

Voter suppression and voter disenfranchisement was already an issue before the COVID pandemic, but now eligible voters are dealing with unprecedented obstacles never confronted  before.  This project will be a participatory event meant to supply every person in the cohort with the tools and information they’ll need to inform acquaintances, friends, and family about the upcoming Fall election. 

Watch Maya’s Twitter Video Series

An Ode to the Earth: Sustainability As Sustenance By Sienna Fekete

An Ode to the Earth: Sustainability As Sustenance By Sienna Fekete

An Ode to the Earth: Sustainability As Sustenance
By Sienna Fekete

An Ode to the Earth: Sustainability As Sustenance was a week of online programming for Ethel's Club, a social and wellness club for people of color. From April 20-24 at 6 pm EST each day, and in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I created a series of Zoom sessions facilitated by my community of artists and makers. These artists conducted workshops on themes such as food sustainability, self-archiving, sound healing, podcasting, herbal medicinal practices, community organizing, and the art of mask making. In an effort to support black, POC, and womxn-run businesses at this time, these sessions are housed under Ethel's Club's Digital Membership, which costs $17 a month. This means that with a $17 contribution, you will be able to access these five archived sessions, as well as the entirety of the month of Ethel's Club programming, and support your fellow artists!

Participating artists included Chef Angela Dimayuga, Activist Helen Peña of (F)EMPOWER, Curator Kimberly Drew, Writer Jenna Wortham, Herbalist Suhaly Bautista-Carolina of Moon Mother Apothecary and Textile Artist Cassandra Mayela.