Agency and Artists Team up on COVID Communications

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) will work with artists to reach underserved communities with COVID-related public health messages, including the importance of getting vaccinated.

Over the next few months, nine artists and artist teams will create posters, videos, postcards, public art, comic strips and other accessible artworks that can be used by health agencies, municipalities and community groups to spread the word about COVID-related public health advice.   

As vaccination eligibility expands, communities will face new challenges related to the equitable deployment of effective, simple and evidence-basic information. To meet this need, in February, MAPC invited artists, designers and creatives to pitch concepts to inspire safe and healthy behaviors.  

Over 30 artists and artist teams applied for grants. Of these, MAPC and an advisory committee of local public health, public art and community representatives chose nine to distribute $45,000 in grant funding among. Priority was given to projects that engage diverse ethnic, cultural and BIPOC communities, and many of the completed projects will be available in multiple languages.

Once completed, MAPC will make the artworks available for digital download and sharing.

“Readily-available vaccine communication resources are not always resonating with communities of color that have been treated unjustly by medical systems,” said MAPC Arts and Culture Director Jennifer Sien Erickson. “Many materials also aren’t designed to reach communities speaking languages other than English. We are excited to partner with this diverse team of local artists to promote equity in community access to the vaccines.”

For more information, visit www.mapc.org/covid19-art. Reach out the MAPC Digital Communications Specialist Elise Harmon at [email protected] for more information or to arrange interviews.  

Selected local artists and artist teams were: 

•The Greater Boston Artist Collective, an arts organization whose mission is to uplift voiceless artists and to provide a platform for all communities and cultures to share their stories. The Collective includes Gisell Builes, Karen Elisa Garcia, Jennifer Medrano and Samantha Valletta. Learn more: www.greaterbostonartistcollective.com  

“Art has always had the power to help heal, especially during these trying times,” said Valletta. “Using the power of film and multimedia, GBAC looks forward to creating a piece dedicated to the communities hit hardest by the virus. Our goal is to encourage everyone to come together for this last push, allowing us all to come out on the other side safer, refreshed and renewed.”

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