Public Health Partners with Amplifier for COVID-19 Art Campaign
Mar 9, 2020 9:00 AM
The University of Utah’s Division of Public Health has teamed up with Amplifier, a nonprofit design lab that builds art and media experiments to amplify the most important movements of our time. As a rapid response effort to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amplifier has issued a call for top art curators and grassroots artists from around the world to submit art to their COVID-19 mental health and public safety promotion campaign. Working with Amplifier founder Aaron Huey, the Division of Public Health is lending material support to the organization and is helping spread the word to our public health and healthcare communities in Utah and across the globe about this important effort.
Amplifier’s Global Open Call solicits artwork that teaches and celebrates the public health interventions that make ending the pandemic possible. Artists are invited to submit their work reflecting the best practices for COVID-19 safety and wellbeing. Artists will compete for 60 cash rewards of $1,000 each, and their work will be judged by the public as well as a specially picked curatorial team that includes many public health experts, including colleagues from Partners in Health, WHO, and the United Nations.
“Our mission at Utah has always been to promote and protect the health of communities in the state and around the globe,” says Steven Lacey, PhD, Division Chief for Public Health. “Images have an incredible ability to make people stop and pay attention like nothing else does. Art isn’t scientist-to-scientist conversation, it’s something that everyone can access, and powerful art makes people take action.”
Cleo Barnett, Executive Director of the Seattle-based Amplifier, adds, “Society is challenged to picture what resilience looks like. We can widely distribute these images online, and in public spaces, and also provide them to those that need them the most – healthcare workers and patients, homeschooling families, and others who are directly impacted.” Already, artists and Amplifier followers are using the art in their communities to spread public health awareness. “We have people projecting the images on buildings, displaying the posters in their yards, putting up images in their apartment windows,” says Emily Goulding, Amplifier’s Communications Director. “It’s heartwarming to see.”
Artwork submitted to the global call will be used to remind the public of health practices keeping communities safe during the pandemic, such as handwashing, physical distancing, and sheltering in place. The organization is already looking forward to developing an artistic response for future public health communication needs as the pandemic progresses. “The things that will be important for the public to do on a large scale—such as antibody testing and vaccinations, as they become available—will be the next stage in the public health response,” says Dr. Lacey. “We will need an enormous campaign to inform and encourage the public to take these steps. Partnering with Amplifier is an opportunity to help produce one of the most innovative COVID-19 public communication campaigns in the world while helping individuals access the information they need to stay strong, safe, and united.”
The global open call for COVID-19 related art is open on a rolling basis. Artists are invited to submit their artwork at the campaign’s website. Members of the public are also invited to follow the campaign and vote on the submitted artwork.