• MattBajor

How Wyoming artists can help fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

The current situation we are all facing is unlike anything most of us have experienced in our lifetime. The toll of the daily news of the virus and how it's being handled in combination with the isolation required is enough to whittle down even the strongest of us. Given that this type of scenario is not familiar to us and that lots of information being provided to the public is seemingly intended to fear monger as opposed to help, I would like to provide some ways we can take action as artists and creators to help our communities overcome this disaster in a real and meaningful way.

One of the most important aspects of human self preservation is the ability to think and reason about ideas and stimuli in many different ways. Everyone has experienced this, with an example being receiving bad news while in a positive mindset vs a negative one. It is much easier to let things roll off our back when we're in a good mood than bad. With that in mind, I encourage you all to think about what's going on in a positive way. I have been thinking about our current situation in this way:

We're taking additional time with our immediate families and loved ones to get closer while learning new things about ourselves and the world in a voluntary effort to keep our more vulnerable community members safe. There is no need to feel bad about 'wasting time' by exploring an idea you've had, learning a new skill via the Internet, or even deep diving into one of your favorite pieces of art or literature.

Once you are in a good place, there are many ways to help your community get to the same place. Here in our community of Teton County, Wyoming there are a variety of efforts that need assistance. Here are some of the goings on that will enable you to help right now:

**Important Note**

It is extremely critical that we do not worsen the situation in an attempt to provide help. Before embarking on any of these projects, please:

  1. Sanitize yourself: Wash your hands, wear clean clothes, use the first item of PPE you make for yourself

  2. Sanitize your work area: Do a thorough cleaning prior to beginning work, while you're working, and afterwards. This should include a sanitization routine for your area, equipment, tools, and materials.

  3. Work on only what is actually requested: There are limited resources available to communities at this time and so make sure that what you are making is in demand and will not be wasted. It is better to take time to prepare further than to prematurely build and potentially waste items.

  4. Be aware of the risks of this type of equipment. Our neighbors to the north have put out a good read regarding the considerations of this equipment here: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/medical-devices/activities/announcements/covid19-notice-home-made-masks.html