"I certainly have my point of view, but mostly I see a binding of community helping each other however we can."
Tell us about what you're currently working on.
I have been invited to create a site-specific Installation at the Jackson Hole Center for the Performing Arts this Summer. I am working on ideas for a large-scale piece using found items such as straws and bottle caps. I am also working on artwork for a show in Estes Park, Colorado called FACE of Fiber. These are pieces constructed completely using my zipper stash. The Museum of Art/Fort Collins is holding off installation until the Governor lifts his Stay-at-Home order. We are hoping to do some online engagement such as an online Concert featuring works and interviews with artists from our next show. I am also making surgical masks for Healthcare workers.
Has your work shifted in response to the pandemic? How?
I started making surgical masks after a friend who is a midwife asked me to make her a few. I posted a picture of them on Facebook and told my friends if they wanted some, to let me know. So far, I have made 125 of them and sent masks to New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. I also have a lot more time to create time-intensive work like the zipper pieces. They are all hand-sewn and perfect when you are binge watching (currently The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel).
How do you think we can best confront our "new" reality?
I see art and creativity being a sense of peace for people who are feeling ill-at-ease. I am especially seeing it become a kind of 'faith' or 'religious' experience for people who might not believe in a certain 'church'. Artists like Andrew Lloyd Webber, Yo Yo Ma, and Mo Willems are all taking to the internet as pseudo preachers, preaching their art as a form of comfort and healing. I think it is bringing people to understand how art can heal and, perhaps more people will have batter appreciation of the power of art once this crisis is over.
Community heals. I am finding social media, for the most part, to be a place of community. Encouraging one another and checking in. Posting pictures of kids, dogs, cats, etc., as well as sharing information and in some cases, actually saving lives. Sure, there is still political stuff and that is unfortunate. I certainly have my point of view, but mostly I see a binding of community helping each other however we can. My question to you, the reader, is, "What have you done today, from a distance, to relieve some one else's stress?" You might be surprised how much it helps alleviate your stress as well.
Elizabeth Morisette is a Community Artist from Fort Collins, Colorado. She uses fiber techniques and up-cycled materials. She also works as the Education Coordinator at the Museum of Art/Fort Collins. See more of Elizabeth's work here.