Local art strengthens community ties amidst pandemic

During+these+times+art+is+giving+people+some+hope+and+bonding+them.+This+is+just+one+of+many+art+trends+that+have+sprung+up+all+over+the+country.+People+can+draw+support+from+the+art+in+their+neighborhood.+South+Minneapolis+resident+Sara+Hardwig+participated+in+it+and+said%2C+%E2%80%9CIt+may+be+individually+hard%2C+the+feeling+of+doing+it+%5Bart%5D+together+makes+it+easier+for+me.%22

Khayaal Desai-Hunt

During these times art is giving people some hope and bonding them. This is just one of many art trends that have sprung up all over the country. People can draw support from the art in their neighborhood. South Minneapolis resident Sara Hardwig participated in it and said, “It may be individually hard, the feeling of doing it [art] together makes it easier for me.”

Khayaal Desai-Hunt, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Quarantining for weeks on end can be difficult. As a result of stress and social distancing, students are finding ways to cope by watching Netflix, baking, making TikToks, and creating art for self-care. Some people are making art — from window displays to chalk drawings, from inspirational messages to graffiti — to interact, inspire, and share with neighbors. Doing these activities often helps counter a sense of powerlessness by giving control, agency, and a creative outlet. It provides a relaxing break from the stress of distance learning. 

Art in local neighborhoods can be a message of hope and inspire other artists. Ingrid Noren, a sophomore at South, said that she has seen a lot of sidewalk chalk, window displays, free homemade face masks, and other notes of kindness since the pandemic started. “I have seen a ton of art around the neighborhood lately, and it’s very empowering.” Noren worked with her family to turn local bus signs into flowers.

Noren decorated stop signs near her house by turning them into flowers. “I hope whoever sees the flowers just stops and takes a minute to appreciate them, and maybe it’ll remind them of something good,” she said. (Khayaal Desai-Hunt)

She said that she decided to make a bright yellow sunflower because she hoped to catch peoples’ eyes with it. “I think making art in quarantine is a great way to show people that you care and you want to support the community, especially now.”

Doing art-related projects is a great form of creative expression, brings people closer, and is a fun way to keep busy. Parents often enjoy doing craft projects with young kids. South Minneapolis resident Sara Hardwig, created window and chalk art with her preschool age daughter early on in quarantine. Her sister, a nurse living in South Dakota, sent pictures of elaborate window art which inspired her to create some of her own with her daughter who enjoys craft projects. “I thought that would be a fun art project to do together just to spread happiness and we’re-all-in-this-together type responses from people who pass by the house,” said Hardwig. Hardwig was a part of a national trend where people placed colorful hearts in their windows.

Art is vital, especially now as it brings joy to many people. Hardwig feels that it bonds people even though they are physically separated, they are still connected. “It may be individually hard, the feeling of doing [art] together makes it easier for me.” People are using quarantine as a way to positively connect with their communities.

Many are finding new and creative ways to cope with being in quarantine. One way that some are finding helpful is connecting to their communities through art. Ingrid Noren, a sophomore, said that art is important now more than ever. “People are outside so much more often and we all need to see good things in the world right now. Art is an amazing way to communicate and support each other in these rough times.” (Khayaal Desai-Hunt)

One result of creating art while stuck at home can be to help give people a sense of hope. Hardwig wants people to get a feeling of support from her creations and to feel a sense of connection. Noren agreed, “Art is super important in everyday life, but now, during quarantine, it matters more than ever. People are outside so much more often and we all need to see good things in the world right now. Art is an amazing way to communicate and support each other in these rough times.”

Art can help people feel more connected with their communities by allowing them to share their experiences and perspectives. “I hope whoever sees the flowers just stops and takes a minute to appreciate them, and maybe it’ll remind them of something good,” said Noren. 

Over the summer, since the murder of George Floyd, the messages have changed. Signs saying “I can’t breathe,” “Say His Name,” and “Black Lives Matter” went up to demand justice for George Floyd. These messages show solidarity and unify communities against white supremacy.